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Banking News

Swatch Pay Launches in Switzerland

January 17, 2019 - Benjamin Manz

Swatch is joining Apple, Samsung and many other tech companies in offering a mobile wallet. Get the details in this review by independent online comparison service moneyland.ch.

Swatch first marketed watches equipped with near field communication (NFC) payment capabilities in Switzerland in collaboration with Visa and Cornèrcard in 2016. But the watches, which were branded as the Swatch Bellamy, were withdrawn from the Swiss market shortly after the launch. On July, 2017, following a major redesign, the service was relaunched as Swatch Pay in China.

Now, Swatch Pay (which is branded das SwatchPAY!) is being launched and marketed in Switzerland. This time, Swatch has partnered with Mastercard and a number of card issuers to deliver its payment service.

Owners of eligible Swatch wristwatches can use them to settle payments at contactless point of sale terminals. So far, only four Swatch models are eligible. These watches have a recommended retail price of 85 Swiss francs each. The payment system makes use of NFC chips embedded in the watches.  

A PIN is required for transactions of more than 40 francs. Swatch Pay can be used both in Switzerland and abroad. As with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, the costs associated with using the mobile wallet are determined by the fees and charges of the underlying credit card. For example, the foreign transaction fees for payments made outside of Switzerland can add a significant expense – depending on which credit card you use with Swatch Pay.

Swatch Pay: Compatible Mastercard credit cards

In Switzerland, Swatch Pay is supported by Swisscard (not all cards), Cembra Money Bank (all cards), Cornèrcard (not all cards), UBS (all Mastercard cards), Viseca (all Mastercard cards) and Swiss Bankers (all cards).

Examples of Swatch-Pay-compatible cards from Cembra Money Bank: Cumulus Mastercard, Cembra Mastercard, Cosy Mastercard Conforama, Fnac Mastercard and TCS Mastercard.

Examples of Swatch-Pay-compatible cards from Swisscard: Cashback World Mastercard, Neuen Aargauer Bank (NAB) credit cards, Bonviva and Viva Mastercard credit cards from Credit Suisse.

Examples of Swatch-Pay-compatible cards from Cornèrcard: Classic, easyTravel, Gold, Instant Prepaidcard, Lady, Reload, Zoom and Zoom Reload.

You can easily find all Swiss credit cards which are compatible with Swatch Pay by using the filter provided in Switzerland’s leading interactive credit card comparison on moneyland.ch.

Will Swatch Pay succeed?

On the whole, payments via mobile devices are gaining in popularity. “It is likely that over time, devices like mobile phones and watches will replace credit cards for electronic POS payments,” says moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz.

A major selling point for Swatch Pay is the fact that a large number of Swiss credit cards are already compatible with the mobile wallet right from its launch. The fact that only a few Swatch models are compatible with the system is a disadvantage.

It is not likely that a large number of consumers will buy a new wristwatch just for a contactless payment system. There are already numerous devices available in Switzerland which enable some form of contactless payments. “Swatch Pay will, in all likelihood, remain a niche product in Switzerland,” predicts Benjamin Manz.

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