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Telecom News

UBS and Raiffeisen to Adopt Apple Pay

April 28, 2020 - Benjamin Manz

UBS and Raiffeisen will be enabling Apple Pay for their cardholders within 2020. This move puts the majority of Swiss credit card issuers in the Apple Pay camp.

US tech giant Apple launched its Apple Pay digital wallet in Switzerland in 2016. Initially, Apple could only claim three Swiss card issuers as partners – Bonuscard, Cornèrcard and Swiss Bankers. That meant the majority of Swiss credit cards and prepaid cards could not be used with Apple Pay.

In 2019, Credit Suisse subsidiary Swisscard enabled Apple Pay for its credit cards.

Card issuer Viseca also added Apple Pay as a service in 2019. Some banks for which Viseca co-issues payment cards – including Bank Cler, Migros Bank, many cantonal banks and regional banks like Valiant and Clientis – adopted Apple Pay. Others, like Raiffeisen, chose not to follow Viseca’s decision to partner with Apple.

Cembra Money Bank – which issues the popular Migros Cumulus Mastercard, among others – enabled Apple Pay in March 2020.

Now, two of Switzerland’s biggest banks – UBS and Raiffeisen – are moving to enable their cardholders to use Apple Pay.

UBS soon to enable Apple Pay

UBS responded to an inquiry by moneyland.ch by stating that Apple Pay will soon be available to UBS customers. UBS did not specify an exact date. All UBS credit cards and prepaid cards will support Apple Pay. UBS could not make a statement on whether or not Apple Pay compatibility will extend to credit cards from its TopCard subsidiary as well.

Raiffeisen to enable Apple Pay in summer 2020

Raiffeisen expects to enable its cards for use with Apply Pay in the summer of 2020, as per a communication to moneyland.ch. The bank also plans to enable Samsung Pay and Google Pay in the second half of 2020.

PostFinance currently holding on Apple partnership

PostFinance is the last major Swiss bank which has not announced plans to enable Apple Pay. PostFinance told moneyland.ch that it cannot currently comment on Apple Pay.

No-annual-fee credit cards and Apple pay

In Switzerland, credit cards with no annual card fee are offered by Cembra Money Bank, Swisscard and TopCard.

The Cashback credit cards from Swisscard have been enabled for use with Apple Pay since the fall of 2018. The Migros Cumulus Mastercard from Cembra Money Bank has been enabled for use with Apple Pay since March, 2020.

The Coop Supercard credit card from TopCard is currently the last of Switzerland’s three most popular credit cards which cannot be used with Apple Pay. Coop responded to a moneyland.ch inquiry by stating that new payment services which could potentially be used with the Coop Supercard are reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Swiss banks vs. Apple

For around three years now, many Swiss banks have pushed back against the entry of US tech giant Apple into the Swiss banking sector. Now, that resistance has broken down into a quiet acceptance. “The skeptical approach of Swiss banks towards Apple pay is understandable,” says Benjamin Manz, CEO of independent online comparison service moneyland.ch.

On the one hand, Swiss banks have an interest in promoting their own joint mobile wallet Twint to their customers. On the other hand, card issuers must pay fees to Apple whenever their cardholders use Apple Pay. This is in contrast to Samsung Pay and Google Pay, which do not currently charge fees to card issuers.

“Looking at the market over the long term, foreign tech companies are a direct threat to Swiss banks,” states Manz. However, a recent survey by moneyland.ch shows that Apple Pay is still less widely used in Switzerland than the Twint mobile wallet.

More on this topic:
Guide to using Apple Pay in Switzerland
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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of moneyland.ch and an independent expert on banking and finance.