Accounts & Cards

How to Apply for Swiss Credit Cards

February 7, 2024 - Ralf Beyeler

This guide explains which information you have to provide when applying for a Swiss credit card.

Credit cards are widely used in Switzerland. Around 8.5 million credit cards were in use at the end of 2023. That figure confirms that many Swiss have more than one credit card in their wallet. In this guide, explains which documents and information you should prepare before you apply for a Swiss credit card, so that the application can be completed as quickly as possible.

Which documents should I prepare?

Before you begin to fill out the application, you should first prepare the necessary documents. The most important document is your Swiss ID card or passport, or your Swiss residence permit if you are not Swiss. Depending on how you apply, you may also need to submit a photo or a photocopy of your ID.

The additional information that you should prepare is listed further down in this guide. The exact requirements can vary between card issuers. In some cases, the information even varies between different cards from the same issuer, and can depend on which card you are applying for.

Today, you can apply for most Swiss credit cards online. Some card issuers also give you the option of applying for a credit card by submitting an application form on paper. You can often download the application form as a PDF file.

Which information is required for all Swiss credit card applications?

The following information is required for nearly all credit cards (Raiffeisen is the only exception, as explained further below):

  • Your personal information like your surname, name, date of birth, and civil status.
  • Your exact residential address.
  • Your civil status (single, widowed, divorced, or married. Swisscard specifically asks about your marriage status.
  • Your nationality.
  • Your phone number and email address.
  • Your occupation: You have to state whether you are employed, self-employed, retired, or undergoing higher education. Some issuers give you additional options: Cembra and Topcard accept not employed as an occupational status; Migros Bank lets you enter student or unemployed as your status; Viseca gives you the option of entering yourself as a secondary or tertiary student.
  • Employees and self-employed individuals have to specify their employer. Information about your field, occupation, position, and industry sector is also commonly required.
  • All Swiss credit card issuers require you to declare your income. Most card issuers ask for your gross annual income – your income before deducting social security and pension fund contributions. Cembra Money Bank, on the other hand, asks for your monthly net income – the salary you actually receive paid out by your employer, for example. Cembra also asks you whether you receive 12 or 13 salaries per year.
  • If you are not a Swiss citizen, you have to provide a copy of your Swiss residence permit (category B and C permits are accepted). Many issuers request a copy of your foreign passport as well.

Which additional information may be required by specific card issuers?

Card issuers may have their own additional requirements with regard to the information needed for applications. The list below shows you which additional information is required by different Swiss credit card issuers.

  • How long have you lived at your current address? Bonuscard, Cembra, Swisscard, and Viseca all require this information. Viseca also requires you to provide your previous address.
  • Bonus card and Cornèrcard ask for your place of birth, and Viseca asks for your place of origin.
  • Topcard and UBS require you to state your personal wealth. Migros bank gives you the option of providing this information, but does not require it. If your income is less than 3000 francs per month, or if you are retired, self-employed, a student, or not employed, Cembra Money Bank will require information about the taxable wealth and monthly net incomes (including income from pensions) of both you and your spouse. Swisscard requires you to state your personal wealth if your gross income is less than 25,000 francs per year. Swisscard asks for a bank statement to confirm your wealth.
  • Most Swiss credit card issuers ask you how long you have been with your current employer. UBS and Topcard require you to state whether or not your employed contract has a limited employment term. If your employment contract is limited, Topcard requires you to provide the date on which your employment contract expires.
  • Bonuscard, Cornèrcard, and Swisscard ask you to state how many underage children you have. Cembra asks for the number of dependent children under the age of 25 who are part of your household, and their ages.
  • Cembra asks how much you are required to pay in alimony and child support every month.
  • Bonuscard, Cembra Money Bank, Cornèrcard, Postfinance, Raiffeisen, Migros Bank, Swisscard, and Viseca all ask if you rent or own your home. Cembra also asks you whether you still live with your parents or relatives. Swisscard gives you the option of selecting other, in addition to renting or owning your home. Other, in this case, means you live with your parents or in a shared home, according to Swisscard.
  • Bonuscard, Cembra, Cornèrcard, Migros Bank, Swisscard, and Viseca all require you to state your housing expenses. Most card issuers define housing expenses as your monthly rent plus supplemental charges, or the monthly interest charges for a mortgage. Bonuscard and Cornèrcard ask for your annual housing expenses.
  • Swisscard, Topcard, and Viseca all require you to provide the bank account number (IBAN) of your private account at a Swiss bank. Postfinance asks for the number of your Postfinance account. Other issuers only require you to share your bank account information if you choose to pay your credit card bills using a direct debit order.
  • Topcard and Viseca let you state how high you would like your credit card’s line of credit to be.
  • Topcard lets you state whether or not you would like to receive a prepaid card if your credit card application is turned down. Some other Swiss credit card issuers automatically issue you a prepaid card in this case, even if you do not want it.  
  • Topcard requires a lot of additional information if you are not currently employed and want to pay your credit card bills using your savings. In this case, Topcard asks about your previous employers, or about whether your spouse is currently employed. If you received your money from a source other than employment or your spouse, Topcard asks you for detailed information about the third party that your wealth originated from.
  • Swisscard asks you whether you already have any other credit cards. If you do, you can select your existing credit cards from these options: American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard, and Visa.
  • All credit card issuers require foreigners to provide their residence permit. Swiss B and C permits are accepted. Bonuscard, Cornèrcard, Postfinance, and Migros Bank also accept L permits (short-term residence). Migros Bank also accepts Ci permits for credit card applications. Viseca accepts G permits (cross-border workers living in neighboring countries). Some issuers give you an “other” option with which you can submit other kinds of permits.   
  • Cornèrcard and Postfinance ask you how long you have been living in Switzerland.
  • Bonuscard asks you whether you are taxable in any other jurisdiction in addition to your country of residence.
  • UBS asks you which country you are resident in. Most other Swiss card issuers do not ask for this information, as they only grant credit cards to residents of Switzerland.

Why is so much information required for a credit card application?

Credit card issuers want to know exactly who they are entering into a contract with. That is generally the case with many other legal contracts as well.

Many Swiss card issuers ask for a mobile phone number and an email address. There are several reasons for that: A mobile phone number or email may be used to authenticate online payments, and it also enables the issuer to contact you quickly if fraudulent activity occurs.

Many of the questions about your finances – particularly your income, expenses, and wealth – are necessary because card issuers have to ascertain your creditworthiness before they can give you a credit card. All Swiss card issuers are required by the Consumer Credit Act to determine your debt capacity when you apply for a credit card. That makes the big differences between card issuers difficult to explain.

It is likely that some of the information that credit card issuers ask for is primarily used for marketing purposes.

How do applications for Raiffeisen credit cards work?

Swiss Raiffeisen banks do not have a unified credit card application. Raiffeisen customers can submit their contact information to their local Raiffeisen bank using an online form. You do not need to enter any additional information on this form, but you have the option of entering the information required for a creditworthiness check online if you choose to. If you only submit your contact information, the bank will get in touch with you to obtain the necessary information.

More on this topic:
Compare Swiss credit cards now
Compare Swiss prepaid cards now
Credit card or debit card?
Credit card foreign transaction fees explained

Request now for free

Leading credit cards

Free credit card

Swisscard Cashback Cards Amex

  • No annual fees

  • Two cards Amex & Visa/Mastercard

  • With cash back

Free credit card

Migros Cumulus Visa

  • No annual fees

  • With Cumulus points

  • Without foreign currency fees

Swiss credit cards in comparison

Find the cheapest credit card now

Compare now
Expert Ralf Beyeler
Ralf Beyeler is the telecom expert at and also covers other areas of personal finance.
Free subscription

Sign up for the free newsletter

Subscribe now
more than 3 million pieces of data

Find all comparisons here

Go to comparisons