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Cashless payments via mobile phone: TWINT and Co.

Cashless payment by smartphone with Twint, ApplePay or Samsung Pay is on the rise. SMEs should not refuse this trend. It attracts more customers, less effort and increased efficiency.

Foto: Sunrise UPC GmbH - Screenshot

Cashless payment by credit or debit card is widespread in Switzerland. The simple, secure and fast processing - especially of contactless payment - has ensured that the importance of cash is steadily decreasing.

In the course of this development, mobile payment - i.e. paying by smartphone or smartwatch - is also increasing. Studies by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences forecast great potential for mobile payment in Switzerland.

Businesses that offer their customers contactless payment by mobile phone benefit despite the costs involved. Because not only for consumers, but also for merchants, cashless saves an enormous amount of time in the checkout process. Last but not least, mobile payment offers efficiency gains both during the checkout process and in the back office.

Mobile payment at the point of sale (PoS) can be particularly worthwhile for retailers and restaurants. In addition, mobile payment is also possible in online shops, for in-app purchases or at vending machines. Mobile payment is also used for self-checkout at the supermarket checkout.

In principle, payment by smartphone is as secure as payment by contactless credit card. In addition, the reduction of cash increases security and reduces the number of transactions.

Mobile payment: The most important providers


The mobile payment option TWINT is already relatively widespread in Switzerland. The service was jointly promoted by Swiss banks and is now supported by over 40 financial institutions. TWINT is suitable for paying at the checkout in a shop (e.g. Coop) as well as for online shopping, in-app purchases and - and this is a significant advantage for many users - peer-to-peer payments. For example, friends and family members can exchange money with each other via the TWINT app. In addition, parking fees can also be paid via TWINT.

Facts: TWINT already has 1.6 million registered users. Companies that offer TWINT as a payment option pay a transaction fee of 1.3% on the total amount. The data transfer for this solution, which is only available in Switzerland, takes place via beacon or QR code. For payment at the PoS, integration into the POS system is necessary. The prerequisite is modern cash register software. In addition, a TWINT beacon (95 Swiss francs per beacon) must be installed at the cash register and connected via USB.

Alternatively, you can install the free TWINT Merchant App on your smartphone or tablet and process the payment directly via these devices. For webshops, there are different options for TWINT integration. Business customers can register under this link.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay was launched in Switzerland in 2016 and enables customers to pay via iPhone or Apple Watch. Since the connection to the reader next to the cash register is made via NFC (Near Field Communcation), customers do not have to scan a code or establish a Bluetooth connection.

Apple Pay is used internationally, but its penetration in Switzerland is still low, as many large Swiss banks and credit card providers do not (yet) support this standard.

Facts: A POS terminal for contactless payment (NFC or payments with Discover debit cards) is required. In addition, the terminal must have a current firmware version and support the corresponding BIN areas.

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay has been available in Switzerland since May 2017 and can only be used with Samsung smartphones or smartwatches. Samsung Pay is compatible with all common payment terminals, but like the other services, it is still poorly supported by Swiss banks.

Facts: The terminal at the POS must be set up for contactless payment and have an NFC reader. Samsung Pay supports both NFC and the older MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission), so all readers can be used.

Google Pay

Google Pay (formerly Android Pay) has also been available in Switzerland since April 2019 and can only be used for Android devices. In the USA, you can also pay with iOS devices via Google Pay.

Facts: Payment is processed via an NFC terminal. Google Pay is not yet widespread among credit card providers, but individual shop chains such as Manor or Ikea offer the option of paying via Google Pay.

Tips and info

  • Contact your payment provider and the provider of your POS system to ensure that the respective mobile payment service is accepted via the existing POS terminal. You may need software or hardware enhancements for the service.

  • To register with the relevant payment service, contact the relevant bank or credit card company.

  • With Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google, the big partners like UBS or Viseca are still missing. TWINT, on the other hand, is available from most providers, so that at least on the banking side there are almost no hurdles to customers using this service.

  • In order to be able to serve as complete a customer base as possible, it is advisable to address customers with both iOS and Android devices. You can do this with the device-independent TWINT or the solutions from Apple, Samsung and Google.

  • For merchants, the fees for mobile payment services of the international groups are usually the same as for credit card payments.

  • A stable, fast internet connection is a prerequisite for offering customers a good service.



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