Whether or not numerous longstanding services, practices and institutions should be maintained or phased out has increasingly been the topic of debate in Switzerland. But what would Switzerland's population actually choose to phase out and not phase out if they were able to decide? moneyland.ch wanted to find out and conducted a survey in which 1500 residents of both German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland were asked if they would abolish certain services and practices.
In addition to financial themes, the survey also includes controversial topics which affect the everyday life of residents. Participants were asked to rate how likely they are to support the abolishment of the service or practice in question on a scale of 1 (I am completely against the abolishment in question) to 10 (I fully support the abolishment in question).
The results: 84% of participants are somewhat to fully (rating 6 to 10) in support of the abolishment of mobile roaming fees, making this the practice which the Swiss most want to abolish. Foreign currency exchange fees in banking are next (74%), factory farming of animals (72%), daylight-saving time changes (71%), nuclear power plants (64%), radio and television fees (63%), health insurance deductibles (52%) and flat-rate taxation (50%).
Practices and services which the majority or vast majority of Swiss do not want abolished include health insurance premiums (49%), bank customer privacy for foreign citizens (45%), compulsory military service in Switzerland (41%), all taxes (34%), bank customer privacy for Swiss citizens (31%), speed limits on highways (29%), landline telecommunications (28%), traffic fines (27%), private property (16%), cash (15%), payments cards (15%), bank branch offices (14%) and last of all post offices (12%).
Telecommunications: Roaming fees are a sore spot for consumers
Landline phones have drastically lost in popularity with the advancement of smartphones. But only 28% of residents want to do away with this service. The youngest group (adults between the ages of 18 and 25) are more ready to say goodbye to landlines, with 38% supporting their abolishment.
The abolishment of mobile roaming fees, on the other hand, has strong popular support. 84% of residents are somewhat to fully in support of phasing out roaming fees. Although the National Assembly most recently decided in favor of roaming fees, the high costs of mobile roaming are clearly a source of anger for Swiss consumers. Discontent is somewhat higher among French-speaking Swiss (86%) than among German-speaking Swiss (83%). 73% of adults between the ages of 18 and 25 years old want roaming fees abolished, compared to 86% of adults in other age groups.
Currency exchange fees in banking
The high cost of currency exchanges in banking is a bitter pill for residents. 74% are somewhat to fully in support of the phasing out of foreign currency exchange fees and only 15% of residents are against phasing these out. Readiness to abolish currency exchange charges is equally high among men and women, and among German-speaking and French-speaking Swiss. Older adults are more strongly in support of abolishing currency exchange fees than younger adults.
Most Swiss would like to see animal factory farming phased out
“A majority of residents are against the factory farming of animals,” states moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz. A high 72% of residents are somewhat to fully in support of the abolishment of the mass farming of animals. Only 17% are somewhat to fully against phasing out animal factory farming. The difference between genders is significant here, with 78% of women supporting the abolishment of animal factory farming compared to just 66% of men. 75% of adults aged 18 to 25 support an abolishment compared to 72% of adults between 26 and 49 years old and 70% of adults aged 50 to 74 years old. 73% of German-speaking Swiss are for an abolishment compared to 70% of French-speaking Swiss.
The Swiss want daylight-saving time abolished
“Swiss clearly support the phasing out of daylight-saving time,” states moneyland.ch analyst Silvan Wehrli. 71% of residents are somewhat to fully in support of the abolishment of daylight-saving time. Only 19% are somewhat to fully against its phasing out. French-speaking Swiss are more supportive than German-speaking Swiss with regards to abolishing daylight-saving time (72% compared to 70% of German-speaking Swiss). Men support this abolishment more than women (72% compared to 69% of women). Rural residents support it more than urban residents (83% compared to 69%). Surprisingly, there are major differences between age groups. Only 50% of adults between the ages of 18 and 25 years old are in support of phasing out daylight-saving time, compare to 73% of adults aged 26 to 49 years old and 76% of adults aged 50 to 74 years old.
Skepticism towards nuclear power plants is high
The Swiss population views nuclear power plants skeptically. 64% of the Swiss population supports the phasing out of nuclear power plants. Only 23% are somewhat to fully against abolishing nuclear power plants. A small gap is visible between French-speaking and German-speaking Switzerland, with 70% of French-speaking Swiss supporting abolishment compared to 62% of German-speaking Swiss. Gender-based differences are much more notable: 72% of women support abolishing nuclear power plants compared to just 57% of men. There are no major differences between generations. All age groups showed similar levels of support for the phasing out of nuclear power plants.
Radio and TV fees
63% of survey participants supported the abolishment of radio and TV fees somewhat to fully. 26% are somewhat to fully against the abolishment of radio and TV fees. The high levels of readiness among Swiss to abolish radio and TV fees is surprising considering they did not vote for the No Billag initiative which aimed to accomplish just that. However, the abolishment proposed in the survey did not mention specific radio and TV services.
Health insurance deductibles unpopular
Deductibles for compulsory health insurance are trending upward due to the constant growth of healthcare costs. But 52% of the population would be happy to see deductibles phased out altogether. Only 33% are against the phasing out of health insurance deductibles. Support for abolishing deductibles is higher in French-speaking Switzerland than in German-speaking Switzerland. However, it is possible that participants are unaware that if health insurance deductibles were abolished, premiums would have to be increased to compensate.
Flat-rate taxes and property ownership
Only 34% of residents support the abolishment of all taxes. The majority of participants find taxation necessary. The abolishment of flat-rate taxes is somewhat more popular, with 50% of participants showing support. Of these, support was higher among women (51%) than men (49%). The abolishment of private property has very little support, with only 16% of residents being somewhat to fully in support of abolishing property ownership compare to 72% who are somewhat to fully against abolishing property ownership.
Divided opinions on imputed rental income
The phasing out of imputed rental incomes for tax purposes has been a point of controversy for many years and has recently moved closer to becoming a reality. The discussion is fairly technical, and primarily affects home owners. As such, it is understandable that around 20% of survey participants did not answer on this point. Of those who completed this portion of the survey, 48% somewhat to fully support the abolishment of imputed rental incomes. 29% are somewhat to fully against its abolishment, and 23% are undecided. 46% of German-speaking Swiss support this abolishment compared to 52% of French-speaking Swiss. 50% of rural residents support this abolishment compared to 47% of urban residents.
Opinions on compulsory military duty differ
A lower 41% of the population are somewhat to fully for the phasing out of compulsory military duty compared to a higher 46% who are somewhat to fully against this abolishment. Interesting facts: Support for the abolishment of military service is higher among French-speaking Swiss (45%) than it is among German-speaking Swiss (39%) and among urban residents (43%) than among rural residents (35%). Support for and against the abolishment of compulsory military service is similar among women and men.
Swiss are against the phasing out of bank customer privacy
Bank customer secrecy for foreign customers from many countries has already been phased out by information exchange agreements, but Swiss bank customer secrecy laws still fully apply within Switzerland. “The results of the moneyland.ch survey show that Swiss are against the phasing out of bank customer secrecy in Switzerland,” observes moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz. Only 31% of survey participants somewhat to fully support the abolishment of bank customer secrecy in Switzerland, compare to 55% who are against this abolishment. Young adults are the least supportive of an abolishment of bank customer secrecy, with 58% of adults aged 18 to 25 being against this abolishment. 53% of adults aged 26 to 49 are against this abolishment, as are 56% of adults aged 50 to 74 years old. Women are more strongly against the abolishment of bank customer secrecy in Switzerland than men and German-speaking Swiss are more strongly against this abolition than French-speaking Swiss.
Traffic fines and speed limits: Support for phasing out stronger among men than women
The majority of Swiss are realistic with regards to traffic questions. Only 27% support the phasing out of traffic fines and only 29% support the abolition of speed limits on highways. French-speaking Swiss are more supportive of abolishing traffic fines (32% compared to 24% of German-speaking Swiss). Men are more supportive of traffic fine abolishment than women (30% compared to 24%). Results for the phasing out of speed limits on highways are similar. 31% of French-speaking Swiss are for the phasing out of speed limits compared to 28% of German-speaking Swiss. 36% of men support this abolishment compared to 22% of women.
Swiss are strongly against the phasing out of cash
“In spite of digitization and the introduction of mobile payments, the survey clearly shows that Swiss strongly support cash,” states analyst Wehrli. Just 15% of residents support the phasing out of banknotes and coinage compared to 77% who are against the abolition of cash. Support for cash is slightly stronger among German-speaking Swiss (79% are against this abolition) than French-speaking Swiss (74%). Women show even stronger support for cash than men, with 81% of women and 73% of men being against this abolition. Opposition to the phasing out of cash is even higher among rural residents (81%) than among urban residents (76%). It is also somewhat higher among older adults (80%) than middle-aged adults (77%) and young adults (74%).
Swiss want their bank and post offices
Drives towards digitization will result in the closing of bank branch offices and post offices. But that would not be the case if Swiss consumers had a choice. On the contrary, 74% of the population is against the phasing out of bank branch offices and an even higher 80% is against the phasing out of post offices. French-speaking Swiss are somewhat more open to the abolition of bank and post offices than German-speaking Swiss. Slightly more men are somewhat supportive of this abolition than women. Urban residents are somewhat more supportive than rural residents.