Highlights Swiss Payment Monitor 1/2022

Media release of February 24, 2022

Every second online payment is made on a mobile device

Around half of online payments are now made using smartphones, tablets and the like. In addition, around 30 percent of the Swiss population now use neobanks. This is shown by the current Swiss Payment Monitor from the ZHAW and the University of St. Gallen.

The Swiss population today very often pays for goods and services that they do not purchase directly in a shop or restaurant on the go: 49 percent of all transactions in so-called distance business are made using a mobile phone, tablet or smartwatch. This includes payments directly via the bank account, such as with TWINT, but also with a credit or debit card stored in an app, such as with Apple Pay or SBB Mobile. This is shown by the sixth Swiss Payment Monitor conducted by the ZHAW School of Management and Law and the University of St. Gallen. For the study at the end of 2021, 1,460 people were interviewed, representative of all of Switzerland. 

Lots of in-app purchases 

A year ago, mobile payments accounted for 29 percent of all distance purchases. “The big growth is mainly due to payments in apps with an integrated payment function, such as SBB Mobile. These now account for more than half of the number of mobile distance purchases,” explains ZHAW payment expert Marcel Stadelmann. The second most common method is to pay by invoice from a distance (26 percent), followed by the non-mobile use of credit cards (10 percent). Mobile payment has also almost doubled over the past year in terms of total sales of all distance purchases: the share is now around a quarter. This puts mobile payment solutions in second place behind bills (45 percent) and ahead of non-mobile use of credit cards (17 percent). 

Overall, the debit card stays ahead

With a share of 32 percent of all transactions (of distance and face-to-face business) and 30 percent of the corresponding turnover, the debit card is still the most used means of payment overall. With a share of 16 percent, cash loses sales shares (-2.8 percentage points) and takes third place behind non-mobile use of credit cards (23 percent). In terms of frequency of use, however, it can hold second place behind the debit card with 30 percent of all transactions. Non-mobile use of the credit card follows in third place with 16 percent. "Following the sudden changes at the beginning of the pandemic, the payment behavior of the Swiss population has stabilized over the course of 2021," explains Marcel Stadelmann. “Only the popularity of mobile payment continues to increase significantly, with TWINT being by far the most used mobile payment solution in Switzerland with a share of around 60 percent both in sales and in the number of all mobile payments.

Neobanks as a supplement

Around 30 percent of people in Switzerland have also used new online solutions from neobanks at least once. "Statistically speaking, younger men in particular with a high level of education use neobanks more frequently," says Tobias Trütsch, payment economist at the University of St. Gallen. Revolut is used most frequently (12 percent), followed by the Swiss providers Neon (9 percent) and Zak (8 percent). The vast majority of users of neobanks take advantage of what they offer in addition to the services of traditional financial service providers. 2.5 percent of all respondents regularly process payments via neobanks, while only 1.4 percent have most of their money in a neobank account.

E-francs hardly known

Furthermore, around every tenth person states that they know and use virtual or cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. This share has increased by around 4 percentage points within a year. Digital central bank money is still very little known to the Swiss population. "Although around 14 percent of those surveyed stated that they knew this term, only around 5 percent were able to paraphrase it correctly," explains Tobias Trütsch. CBDC is a new form of electronic money issued by central banks and based on blockchain technology. Corresponding solutions are currently being discussed internationally, in Switzerland also under the name "e-francs".