mobile wallets switzerland comparison
Everyday Money

Mobile Payment Solutions in Switzerland Compared

November 30, 2021 - Daniel Dreier

Twint, Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay? Find the pros and cons of mobile wallets available in Switzerland in this comparison.

Mobile payments let you pay for purchases using a smartphone or smart watch, which can be practical in many situations. But which is best suited to your specific needs? Read on to find the pros and cons of each mobile payment solution offered in Switzerland.

1. Twint

Pros: Twint is widely accepted in Switzerland. In addition to point-of-sale (POS) terminals, it can be used to pay at many parking meters, stalls, and vendors via printed QR codes. It can also be used to make direct money transfers using phone numbers, and cash withdrawals. You can use Twint on any Android-powered phone or iPhone. It can be linked directly to private accounts at many Swiss banks. As a Swiss company, Twint is subject to Swiss privacy and consumer protection laws.

Cons: Twint is currently only accepted in Switzerland. That means you cannot use it to pay when traveling abroad. The app is also less user-friendly than wallets from big international tech companies.

You can find detailed information in the guide to using Twint

2. Apple Pay

Pros: You can link up to 8 payment cards to Apple Pay, which means you can switch between cards to optimize rewards and costs. It can be used to pay at merchants in many different countries. Apple Pay is also integrated into many iOS apps and is becoming more widely accepted by online merchants as well.

Cons: Apple Pay can only be used on Apple devices. A third-party payment card is required. Brick-and-mortar purchases require NFC-enabled POS terminals. Apple is a US company, so privacy may be a concern to some. Apple Pay users in Switzerland technically have rights under Swiss privacy protection laws. However, the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner cannot audit companies outside of Switzerland, so whether or not these rights can be implemented is questionable.

You can find detailed information in the guide to using Apple Pay in Switzerland

3. Google Pay

Pros: Google Pay works on NFC-enabled Android devices from all mobile phone brands and smart watch makers, including budget items. Another advantage of Google Pay is that it is more widely accepted by online merchants than other mobile wallets.

Cons: NFC-enabled POS terminals are required for payments at brick-and-mortar merchants. You need a third-party payment card to use Google Pay. The same privacy concerns which apply to Apple Pay also apply to Google Pay.

You can find detailed information in the guide to using Google Pay in Switzerland

4. Samsung Pay

Pros: Samsung Pay’s magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology simulates the magnetic stripe of payment cards. This lets you pay at older POS terminals in addition to NFC-enabled terminals. It can also be used for some online purchases, particularly within the Samsung ecosystem.

Cons: Samsung Pay can only be used on Samsung devices. A third-party payment card is required. Samsung is a foreign company, so possible privacy concerns are similar to those of Apple Pay.

You can find detailed information in the guide to using Samsung Pay in Switzerland

5. Swatch Pay

Pros: Swatch Pay lets you make purchases using mechanical Swatch watches. Battery life is not an issue because the built-in NFC system does not require its own power source. Swatch does not collect data about your transactions.

Cons: Swatch Pay only works on Swatch watches, and a limited number of models at that. You need a third-party payment card. You can only pay at NFC-enabled terminals. Online purchases are not possible.

You can find detailed information in the guide to using Swatch Pay in Switzerland

6. Fitbit Pay

Pros: The battery life of Fitbits is generally longer than those of Android smartwatches and the Apple Watch.

Cons: This wallet only works on Fitbit devices. You can only pay at NFC-enabled terminals. A third-party payment card is required. You cannot use Fitbit Pay to shop online. The same privacy concerns apply to Fitbit as to Apple Pay.

You can find more information in the guide to using Fitbit Pay in Switzerland

7. Garmin Pay

Pros: Like Fitbit, Garmin devices often have a longer battery life than smart watches and mobile phones.

Cons: Garmin Pay can only be used with Garmin devices. A third-party payment card is required. You can only pay at NFC terminals. It is not accepted by online merchants. Using Garmin Pay, like Apple Pay, comes with possible privacy concerns, because it is not a Swiss company. 

You can find more information in the guide to using Garmin Pay in Switzerland

8. Sonect

Pros: The Swiss mobile wallet is designed for people who use cash. You can make cash withdrawals from the Sonect wallet at numerous partner retail outlets. You can also send other people money via SMS (as barcodes which let recipients withdraw cash at partner stores). Cash withdrawals are free of charge when you load your prepaid Sonect wallet via bank transfer or link it directly to an account at Neon or Hypothekarbank Lenzburg. Sonect is subject to Swiss privacy and consumer protection laws.

Cons: Sonect can currently only be used in Switzerland. You cannot use Sonect to pay at POS terminals or online stores. Sonect charges fees for cash withdrawals when you load your wallet by credit card or link directly to PostFinance or Migros Bank accounts.

More on this topic:
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Guide to buying and using bitcoin in Switzerland

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Editor Daniel Dreier
Daniel Dreier is editor and personal finance expert at moneyland.ch.
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