google-pay-switzerland-faq
Telecom

Google Pay in Switzerland FAQ

November 17, 2022 - Ralf Beyeler

Find answers to the most important questions about using Google Pay in Switzerland in this guide by independent Swiss comparison service moneyland.ch.

Google Pay is the mobile wallet offered by US tech giant Google. Using Google Pay in combination with Swiss credit cards has been possible since May 2019. Here, moneyland.ch answers the most important questions about using Google Pay in Switzerland.

1. How do I use Google Pay to pay?

Google Pay uses NFC technology. As such, you can use it to pay at any merchant which accepts contactless payments.

To make a payment with Google Pay, simply unlock your phone and hold it close to the POS terminal to make the payment. As long as your phone is unlocked, no additional code or other authentication is necessary.

2. Which phones work with Google Pay?

Google Pay is compatible with numerous smartphones from many different phone makers including Huawei, Nokia, Sony and many more.

To make contactless payments with Google Pay, your phone must support NFC and HCE technology.

3. Do I have to authenticate Google Pay payments?

Payments with Google Pay are authenticated indirectly. Payments at contactless POS terminals can only be made when your phone’s system is unlocked.

Unlike Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, which require authentication for each payment, you do not have to enter a PIN, perform a finger print scan, or otherwise authenticate Google Pay payments.

4. What are the requirements for using Google Pay?

Google Pay is available for both Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad). However, contactless payments can currently only be made using Android, with the iOS version limited to transfers, reminders and managing rewards.

In addition to an Android phone which is NFC and HCE enabled, you also need a credit card or prepaid card from a Google Pay partner issuer. You can only use your payment card with Google Pay if the card’s issuer has enabled that card for Google Pay.

5. Which credit cards work with Google Pay?

You have to add a payment card to Google Pay in order to use it. Currently, most of the Swiss payment cards which work with Google Pay are credit cards which use the Visa or Mastercard payment networks. The Debit Mastercard and Visa Debit debit cards from some Swiss banks also work with Google Pay.

Google Pay can be used with credit cards and prepaid cards from these Swiss card issuers: Bonuscard, Cornèrcard, Migros Bank (including the Cumulus Visa credit card from Migros), Raiffeisen, Postfinance, Swisscard, Swiss Bankers, UBS, Topcard (including the Coop Supercard credit cards), and Viseca. The credit cards offered by Bank Cler, Valiant, many cantonal banks, and many regional banks are co-issued by Viseca.

You cannot use Google Pay with cards issued by Cembra Money Bank.

Some Swiss Debit Mastercard debit cards – including those from Valiant and the Banque Cantonale de Fribourg – also work with Apple Pay.

Swiss Google Pay users also have the option of using debit cards from popular UK financial services Revolut and Wise.

You can easily find and compare all Swiss cards which work with Google Pay by selecting the Google Pay filter in the interactive credit card and prepaid card comparison.

6. Are there limitations on payments made with Google Pay?

No, Google Pay does not have any special limits on transactions and spending. Only the line of credit and/or transaction limits which apply to the credit card, prepaid card or debit card which you use with Google Pay apply.

7. Where can I pay with Google Pay?

The vast majority of Swiss merchants which accept cards now accept contactless payments. That means you can use Google Pay to pay for most in-store purchases in Switzerland.

Google Pay is also accepted for payments at some online stores.

8. What does it cost to use Google Pay?

You do not pay extra fees to use Google Pay. You only pay the fees charged by your card issuer – the same fees you pay when you use your card directly.

9. How much does it cost to use Google Pay outside of Switzerland?

When you use Google Pay to pay for purchases from foreign merchants, you pay only the foreign transaction fee charged by your card issuer. Google Pay does not charge an additional foreign transaction fee. Card issuers generally add a markup to currency exchange rates in addition to charging a foreign transaction fee. Because of this, using Swiss credit cards and prepaid cards to pay outside of Switzerland – either directly or with Google Pay – can be very expensive.

If you expect to use Google Pay when traveling outside of Switzerland, make sure to use a card which has low foreign transaction fees and favorable exchange rates. You can find the most favorable Swiss cards for foreign transactions by selecting the “Abroad-only user” profile in the interactive credit card comparison.

10. Do I earn reward points, miles or cash back when I use Google Pay?

Yes. If your credit card or prepaid card rewards you with the same points, miles or cash back, you earn these rewards just as you do when you use the card directly.

11. Is my card issuer charge fees when I use Google Pay to pay?

No. Unlike Apple – which charges card issuers fees when cardholders pay with Apple Pay – Google does not charge your card issuer a fee when you use your card to pay via Google Pay.

12. Is Google Pay secure?

Google Pay is relatively secure. Your credit card information is not store on your phone, nor in an app. It also is not stored by the merchants from which you make purchases.

Google Pay uses a virtual credit card number which is different from your actual card number. This is known as tokenization. The token virtual credit card information is transacted, while your actual card information is never shared.

If your phone is lost or stolen, you can freeze your Google Pay account without having to freeze your actual credit card, debit card or prepaid card.

13. What are the advantages of Google Pay?

Google Pay can be used to pay at any merchant which accepts your payment card and contactless payments, anywhere in the world. It is somewhat more user friendly than Swiss mobile wallet Twint. The fact that Google Pay can be used on any NFC-enabled phone which runs Android is a major advantage over Apple Pay and Samsung Pay – which are limited to use with Apple or Samsung devices respectively.

14. What are the disadvantages of Google Pay?

The fact that many Swiss credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards cannot currently be used with Google pay is a disadvantage.

Google Pay can only be used to pay at POS terminals which accept contactless payments. Contactless terminals are widely used in Switzerland and in most of Europe, but there are merchants which are not yet equipped with these. In some countries, contactless payments are not popular, and contactless POS terminals are not widely offered. This is a disadvantage over Samsung Pay, which can be used with almost all POS terminals thanks to its MST technology.

15. Google Pay vs. Twint

Twint can be used on all iPhones and all phones which run Android. However, Twint’s acceptance is limited to Switzerland. Google Pay, on the other hand, can be used in many countries.

An advantage of Twint is it can be linked directly to many Swiss private accounts, with no payment card needed. Google pay can only be used in combination with a credit, debit or prepaid card. Another advantage of Twint is that it is a Swiss financial services provider which is governed by Swiss privacy laws. Google, on the other hand, is not governed by Swiss privacy laws and is well known for its data harvesting activities.

A disadvantage of Twint compared to Google Pay is that in order to make a payment, you first have to open the Twint app – which adds another step to the process. Another disadvantage is that depending on the merchant, Twint payments may be made either using Bluetooth (Twint beacon) or by QR code, which can be confusing for users. Google Pay is simpler and more straightforward. To pay, you simply unlock your phone and tap the terminal with your phone.

16. How popular is Google Pay in Switzerland?

Google Pay is not yet widely used in Switzerland. The 2022 Swiss payments survey by moneyland.ch shows that just 14 percent of residents have used Google Pay for payments at stores.

17. Should Swiss banks and card issuers be worried?

So far, only a few Swiss card issuers have partnered with Google to enable the use of their cards with Google Pay. But concerns from Swiss financial services providers about the incursion of Google and other tech giants on the financial services sector are not unfounded. Over the long term, Google is well-positioned to compete directly with Swiss financial services providers thanks to its leading position in the digital sector and the ongoing digitization of the financial sector.

More on this topic:
Compare Swiss credit cards now
Apple Pay in Switzerland FAQ
Samsung Pay in Switzerland FAQ

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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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