Swiss Contactless Payments Has Continued to Flourish, Neobanks Rise in Popularity

Swiss Contactless Payments Has Continued to Flourish, Neobanks Rise in Popularity

by May 7, 2021

The Swiss Payment Monitor found that the trend towards credit card use and contactless payment has continued to flourish in Switzerland.

The Swiss Payment Monitor is a joint research project between the University of St.Gallen and the ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences. It is supported by the Swiss Payment Association (SPA) and the industrial partners Concardis and Worldline.

Swiss Payment Monitor found that locals spent the most money with credit cards in 2020, around 24 percent of their total spending. This means that the credit card has overtaken the debit card for the first time, which now falls to third place with 21 percent. Meanwhile, cash fell to a share of 13 percent.

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At the same time, the share of contactless transactions is rising to new records with eight out of ten card payments are processed contactlessly.

The findings were from payment service provider Concardis, which is part of the Nets Group, one of the payment service providers in Europe.

More and more people in Switzerland are paying by smartphone:, almost ten per cent of all transactions are settled with a mobile device. In terms of turnover, this is an increase of more than half compared to the previous year. Mobile phone use is growing massively, especially for small amounts, which also shows how much payment habits have changed in a short time.

Marianne Bregenzer

Marianne Bregenzer

“Instead of paying small amounts with cash as usual, cashless payment methods are being used more frequently as a matter of course,”

says Marianne Bregenzer, Country Manager Concardis Switzerland AG.

Further increase in contactless payments

The change in payment behaviour since the start of the Corona pandemic in March 2020 can also be observed in Austria and Germany.

The value of contactless payments skyrocketed significantly during the shutdown in all countries of the DACH region in mid-March in the shops that remained open.


In January 2020, the share of contactless transactions in Switzerland was around 61 percent on industry average.

In April, during the government-ordered closures of retail businesses, it was already at 74 percent in the shops that remained open. One year after the start of the pandemic, in March 2021, this figure is 81 percent.

“Unlike other security measures during the pandemic, the use of contactless payments with cards or smartphones is permanent and has long been detached from the pandemic. People have become familiar with the advantages and convenience and have left any previous reservations behind,”

added Bregenzer.

“We assume that this trend will continue and that payment by tab and go will become the standard,”

Cash transactions fall by 13 percent

Although most transactions are still paid for with cash, but the proportion fell by ten percentage points in terms of turnover and 13 percentage points in terms of the number of transactions in 2020, according to the representative survey of 1,400 people throughout Switzerland by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and the University of St. Gallen.

“Whether by QR code, by NFC or also private payments via Twint, for example: the relationship of the Swiss to payment technologies and to payment itself has changed rapidly and will continue to develop in this direction, which we in the Nets Group already know from the Nordic countries,”

said Bregenzer.

“This opens the way for innovative solutions and simplified processes on both the merchant and consumer side.”

The awareness and use of neobanks also continues to grow in Switzerland. The reasons are the same as for cashless and contactless payments, simple and practical handling as well as speed.

The survey for the Swiss Payment Monitor has been conducted annually since 2018 and will be conducted every six months from now on.


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