Image courtesy of: Garmin Deutschland GmbH
Telecom

Garmin Pay in Switzerland FAQ

November 15, 2022 - Ralf Beyeler

Find answers to key questions about using Garmin Pay in Switzerland in this moneyland.ch guide.

Garmin Pay is a digital wallet which was launched in 2017 by Garmin, a company best known for GPS navigator devices. Here, moneyland.ch answers key questions about using Garmin Pay in Switzerland.

1. What is Garmin Pay?

Garmin Pay is a mobile payment solution for Garmin smartwatches. It enables users to make contactless payments at POS terminals using Garmin devices.

2. How do I use Garmin Pay to pay?

Garmin Pay only works with Garmin smartwatches. Around 40 compatible Garmin models are listed on the Garmin website.

In order to set up Garmin Pay, you must register via an app. Before you can make payments, you first have to enter a password. This password is valid for 24 hours. You must then hold your watch directly on the point of sale (POS) terminal. The transaction is then completed using NFC technology.

3. Do I have to authenticate Garmin Pay payments?

You only have to enter a password once every 24 hours. After entering your password, you can make multiple payments over the next 24 hours without having to enter the password again. Garmin Pay is automatically locked when you take off your Garmin watch, so you will have to reenter your password after putting your watch back on.

4. What are the requirements for using Garmin Pay?

In order to use Garmin Pay, you will need: a compatible Garmin smartwatch; a credit card or debit card from a card issuer which partners with Garmin. In order to link a card to Garmin Pay, you need a smartphone and the free VIMpay app which is available in the App Store and on Google Play.

5. Which cards can I use with Garmin Pay?

Garmin Pay accepts Visa and Mastercard cards. Swiss card issuers which support Garmin Pay currently include: Bonuscard; Cembra Money Bank; Cornèrcard; Migros Bank (including the Cumulus Visa card), Postfinance, Raiffeisen, Swiss Bankers; Topcard (including the Coop Supercard credit card), UBS; and Viseca (including cards from cantonal banks and regional banks).

Compatible cards from foreign issuers which are available in Switzerland include Revolut and Wise.

Maestro, V Pay and the PostFinance debit cards cannot be used with Garmin Pay. Debit Mastercard and Visa Debit cards from some issuers can be used with Garmin Pay.

You can easily find and compare all credit cards which are compatible with Garmin Pay by selecting the Garmin Pay filter under Services in the interactive credit card and prepaid card comparison on moneyland.ch.

6. Where can I use Garmin Pay to pay?

The vast majority of POS terminals in Switzerland are NFC enabled. That means you can use Garmin Pay to pay for purchases from most Swiss brick-and-mortar merchants. However, Garmin Pay is limited to physical payments at POS terminals. Unlike Apple Pay and Google Pay, it cannot be used to pay for purchases from online merchants.

7. How much does it cost to use Garmin Pay?

The only fees which you pay when you use Garmin Pay are the fees which are charged by the issuer of the linked payment card. These fees are set by your card’s issuer, and are the same fees which apply when you use your card directly. You do not pay extra fees when you use your card with Garmin Pay.

Of course, the Garmin device itself must be purchased separately. Prices for the most affordable Garmin models start at 200 francs.

8. How much does using Garmin Pay outside of Switzerland cost?

Here too, the cost of making payments depends on the fees charged by your card issuer. Depending on the card you use, paying with Garmin Pay outside of Switzerland can be very expensive. The reason for this is that card issuers generally charge foreign transaction fees. You pay these fees along with your credit card bills. In addition to foreign transaction fees, you also pay additional hidden fees in the form of markups on currency exchanges.

9. Can I earn reward points when I use Garmin Pay?

Yes. If your card issuer rewards you with points or airline miles for purchases, you also earn these rewards when you use your card via Garmin Pay. The amount of rewards you earn for purchases depends on the card you use.

10. Can I earn cash back when I use Garmin Pay?

Yes. If the card you use with Garmin Pay rewards you with cash back for purchases, you earn the same cash back when you use your card with Garmin Pay. You can find more information about cash back credit cards here.

11. How secure are payments with Garmin Pay?

Making payments with Garmin Pay is relatively secure. Every time you make a transaction, a new security key is generated and sent to your card issuer. You have to reenter your password every 24 hours in order to use Garmin Pay. You also need to reenter your password every time you take off your Garmin device, so you do not need to worry about fraudulent use if your smartwatch is lost or stolen.

12. Is Garmin Pay privacy friendly?

Garmin states that it takes privacy seriously. Individual transaction codes known as tokens are used for purchases in place of your actual card information. Because of this, your card information is not stored on your Garmin device or on Garmin servers.

13. What are the advantages of Garmin Pay?

Garmin Pay is a practical option for Garmin smartwatch users. As long as you are wearing your smartwatch, you can settle payments without cash or a payment card. You are also likely to get some curious looks because using watches for payments is currently very uncommon, which is a plus if you like attention.

14. What are the disadvantages of Garmin Pay?

Not all Swiss credit card issuers partner with Garmin Pay, so your options are more limited than when you use a card directly. Another disadvantage is that Garmin Pay only works with a relatively small number of smartwatch models – all from Garmin.

15. Is Garmin Pay popular in Switzerland?

The 2022 Swiss Payments Survey by moneyland.ch shows that wristwatch-based payment solutions are still hardly used in Switzerland. Garmin Pay and Swatch Pay have been used by just 7 percent of residents each.

Image license: Creative commons attributions. Source: Garmin Deutschland GmbH

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Expert Ralf Beyeler
Ralf Beyeler is the telecom expert at moneyland.ch and also covers other areas of personal finance.
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