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Banking News

Mastercard Send: P2P Money Transfers from Swiss Bankers

December 16, 2019 - Benjamin Manz

Swiss prepaid card issuer Swiss Bankers, in collaboration with Mastercard, has launched the Mastercard Send international money transfer service in Switzerland. Get informed about this service in this review by independent comparison service moneyland.ch.

Swiss Bankers, best known for its nameless prepaid cards for travelers, is jointly owned by multiple Swiss banks. These include cantonal banks, Credit Suisse, PostFinance, Raiffeisen and regional banks. In response to new services offered by local and foreign smartphone-based financial service providers, Swiss Bankers has extended its basic prepaid card services by adding the Mastercard Send service.

Mastercard Send lets users make fast international money transfers to bank accounts, Mastercard payment card accounts and some digital wallets. Transfers can be made to all Mastercard card accounts in eligible countries, with the exception of anonymous prepaid cards and business payment cards.

According to Swiss Bankers, transfers are made in nearly real time, with a maximum transaction time of 30 minutes. The speed with which transfers to local and international third-party accounts are completed sets the Send service apart from other peer to peer transfer services.

Currently, only holders of prepaid cards from Swiss Bankers can use the Send service. 

Update January 2021: Send is now also available to people who do not have a Swiss Bankers card.

Transfer fees

Swiss Bankers charges these fees for Send transfers:

  • Transfers between Swiss Bankers card accounts: CHF 0 per transfer.
  • Transfers to foreign Mastercard card accounts: CHF 2 per transfer.
  • Transfers to bank accounts and digital wallets: CHF 3 per transfer.

Depending on which Swiss Bankers card you hold, you may pay loading fees when you fund your prepaid account (Travel Cash card: 1.5% loading fee) or monthly card fees (Mastercard Prepaid card: CHF 2.90 per month).

The spreads added to interbank exchange rates for currency exchanges represent an additional cost for international transfers. Exchange rates can change on a daily basis.

Various countries are eligible for transfers

The new Send service currently works for transfers to the following 18 countries: Brazil; Dominican Republic; India; Kenya; Morocco; Mexico; Pakistan; Peru; the Philippines; Poland; Romania; Switzerland; Serbia; Slovakia; Sri Lanka; Turkey; Hungary; the United States; Vietnam.

Update January 2021: Send is now already available in 26 countries.

Mastercard Send vs. Twint

Twint enables fast peer to peer transfers between Twint account holders directly from mobile phones. However, it can currently only be used for transfers within Switzerland.

Twint is primarily a mobile wallet which can be used to pay at the POS terminals of shops and other businesses using mobile phones. Prepaid cards from Swiss Bankers, on the other hand, can be linked to third-party digital wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay, which in turn can be used for mobile payments in the same way as Twint.

Mastercard Send vs. TransferWise and Revolut

TransferWise and Revolut are card issuers which offer app-based financial services including international money transfers. In contrast to Swiss Bankers which is based and regulated in Switzerland, TransferWise and Revolut are based in the United Kingdom. However, they have a solid and growing customer base in Switzerland. The primary advantages of TransferWise and Revolut are their low fees and the very favorable currency exchange rates used.

The Send service from Swiss Bankers uses less-favorable exchange rates and the number of countries to which transfers can be made is more limited. However, it allows for nearly instant money transfers to most Mastercard payment cards and to bank accounts within the eligible countries – a feature not offered by TransferWise or Revolut.

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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of moneyland.ch and an independent expert on banking and finance.