UBS ‘seducing’ kids with Red Bull

Switzerland’s largest bank is under fire for luring children to open accounts with free drinks of Red Bull and a starting balance of 40 francs ($43).

UBS 'seducing' kids with Red Bull
Can-can dancers at the Red Bull Art of Can exhibition, 2005 (Photo: Damien du Toit)

UBS is offering the inducements to kids as young as 12, who are able to acquire Maestro cards with their savings accounts.

Children were being offered a Red Bull drink in return for throwing a basketball into a net at one promotion by the bank in Basel, the German-language website of 20 Minuten reported on Tuesday.

A 13-year-old was offered another Red Bull in return for signing up for a savings account with UBS, with a Maestro card that allows cash withdrawals from automatic banking machines, according to the report.

Child experts sharply criticized such come-ons for taking unfair advantage of children who are not old enough to make decisions about money matters.

“Seducing children is very problematic,” Piet Westdjik told 20 Minuten.

The risk is that the materialistic thinking of children can be boosted by such inducements and they may be led into a “debt trap,” he indicated.

Agnes Würsch, from Plus Minus, a Basel budget and debt counselling service, told the news website she was outraged by the bank promotion.

UBS is targetting children in an “insidious” way in a bid to sign up new customers, Würsch said.

She said the bank was promoting “indiscriminate behaviour with money” that could lead to a “spiral of debt”.

Samuel Brandner, a spokesman for UBS, said the promotion was initiated by a single office in Basel.

“We do not prey on young people and certainly not on children,” he told 20 Minuten.

Rather, the bank places importance on building relationships with young bank customers and accompanying them in “all phases of life”.

UBS only provides Maestro cards to children from the age of 12 with the consent of their parents.

However, by the age of 15, children are no longer required to have parental approval.

Brandner said the bank is interested in having customers who are sensitized to financial issues and does not want to encourage debt.
Credit Suisse also has a campaign to attract young people through their parents.

A newsletter sent out by the bank in May encouraged parents to let their kids apply for a Maestro card to “allow your child to learn how to deal with money early on”.

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What names do foreign nationals give their babies in Switzerland?

Each year for more than three decades, the Federal Statistical Office has been publishing the first names of infants born in Switzerland the previous year. It seems that foreigners favour names that are typical of their national background.

What names do foreign nationals give their babies in Switzerland?
Foreigners give their babies names that reflect their nationality. Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels

As The Local reported on Wednesday, the most popular names for newborn girls born in Switzerland in 2020 were Mia, Emma, and Mila.

For boys, Noah took the top spot, ahead of Liam and Matteo.

REVEALED: The most popular baby name in each Swiss canton

But what about the most popular names among various nationalities living in Switzerland?

The answers come from the same study.


The top name for boys of Italian parents is Giuseppe, followed by Antonio and Francesco. For girls, Maria is in the first place, Anna in the second, and Francesca in the third.


There are many Portuguese immigrants living in Switzerland and, like their Italian counterparts, they like to give their children traditional names: José, Carlos and Manuel for boys, and Maria, Ana, and Sandra for girls.


Spanish names are similar to those of Portuguese babies.

José, Juan and Jose are most popular boy names, while Maria, Ana and Laura are in the top three spots for the girls.


Most boys of Turkish descent are named Mehmet, Ali, and Mustafa. Among girls, Fatma, Ayse, and Elif dominate.


Arben, Vallon, and Bekim are top names for boys, and Fatime, Shquipe, and Merite for girls.


Bekim is in the first place for boys, followed by Muhamed and Fatmir. Among girls, Fatimr is in the lead, Sara in the second place, and Emine in the third.


Aleksandar, Dragan and Nicola take the first three spots. For the girls, Jelena, Maria and Snezana are at the top.

Can you give your baby any name you want?

Not in Switzerland, you can’t. It’s important to keep in mind that the cantonal registry offices, where new births must be announced, don’t have to accept very unusual names.

Several years ago, for instance, a Zurich court ruled that parents can’t name their infant daughter ‘J’.

In another case, a couple in the canton of Bern were ordered to change the name of their newborn son because their choice – Jessico – was considered too feminine. 

Several names have been forbidden in Switzerland, including Judas, Chanel, Paris and Mercedes.