Anyone new to Switzerland may be surprised to find that the only way to pay in Swiss post offices is with cash, unless you have a Swiss Post card.
The Tages Anzeiger reported that the company has started experimenting with debit card payments in two post offices. One in Zollikofen in the canton of Bern, and another in Baden in Aargau. These branches will be equipped with new payment terminals that can accept Maestro or Visa V-Pay debit cards.
Swiss Post spokesperson Oliver Flüeler told the newspaper that the CHF 15 million conversion is the result of government pressure since 2012.
After a short evaluation period, “the big rollout” will start on 22 August 2016.
Payment by credit card will not be possible. Nor will it be possible to pay bills with a debit card.
Sara Stalder, from the Swiss consumer protection society Konsumentenschutz said this is only a half fix. To be customer oriented Swiss post must accept all cards.
Swiss Post justifies avoiding credit cards due to the high costs charged by third parties, and said that they would prefer to invest the same money in better services for the benefit of customers.
Last month, using the same high cost argument, Walmart Canada said it would stop accepting Visa credit cards, citing annual credit card fees of over 100 million Canadian dollars.
In a statement Walmart Canada said: “Following an evaluation of credit card transaction fees in Canada and the rest of the world, we have concluded the fees applied to Visa credit card purchases remain unacceptably high. Unfortunately, Visa and Walmart have been unable to agree on an acceptable fee for Visa transactions. As a result we will no longer accept Visa in our stores across Canada, starting with our stores in Thunder Bay, on July 18, 2016. This change will then be rolled out in phases across the country.”
A Swiss Post spokesperson did not mention specific credit card costs but said “On a 100 franc payment credit card charges would be up to 10 times greater than those on a Maestro card.”
Swiss Post also says credit cards cannot be used for payment slip transfers because it is harder to determine the origin of the money and they could be used to launder money.
Some such as FDP Councillor Andrea Caroni, who have been pushing for change for several years, are pleased with the move. He thinks Swiss Post was abusing its partial monopoly by forcing consumers to get a Postcard. However he thinks that Swiss Post should only accept credit cards if they can charge customers higher fees.
Read Tages Anzeiger article (in German)