Banking cards in Switzerland

Banking cards in Switzerland

As a foreigner in Switzerland, one thing that is essential to success is having an active bank account with a usable banking card.

This article will give you a brief guide as to applying for a banking card in Switzerland, including the types of banking cards available, and a step by step guide as to the procedure.

The first thing to know is that most banks in Switzerland offer package deals when applying for a banking card, so using a comparison site before you apply may be helpful in finding the right card package for you, with a set of benefits you can use whilst you’re in the country.

Best Banks in Switzerland

Some Swiss banks won’t allow you to open a bank account with them, depending on the class of residence permit you hold, so in some cases, it depends on the bank itself and your permit.



However, below are a couple of banks that will allow you to open an account without considering your class of residence:

PostFinance is a postal bank that (because of their banking nature) will allow you to apply for a banking card as long as you have identification papers. This is a safe bet for most foreigners looking to apply for an account in Switzerland because it provides the safety of knowing you are likely to not be declined (especially not for your status).

Schaffhauser Kantonalbank
this is a bank which prides themselves on accepting customers from all over the world, as long as they have the relevant identification documents (or documents such as proof of employment). In principle, a person entering Switzerland from another country with all the relevant documents should have no issues in applying for a banking card with the Schaffhauser Kantonalbank bank.


Credit Suisse
One of our examples needed to be a global, recognizable bank. Credit Suisse provides a more personalized service, allowing you to meet for a consultation initially to choose the correct package for your needs. This can be useful if you are struggling to decide on a package or need more guidance.

Main Types of Banking Cards Available

The main three types of banking cards available will be recognizable to most These are Visa MasterCard American Express.


Credit vs Debit

In regards to the credit vs debit debate, getting money out in Switzerland using a credit card can be more expensive that withdrawing cash using a debit card. To save on extra costs, it is most people’s preference to get both a debit and credit card and use the debit card for withdrawing cash and the credit card for processing purchases such as housing costs, which don’t usually require a money withdrawal.

Step by Step Guide to Applying

Note that you can apply for a banking card remotely before entering the country, however it is best to open it once you are there to ensure the process moves as quickly as possible. These instructions are intended for use by a person applying whilst in the country, however, can be adapted if you are applying remotely:

1) Do some research on banks before you enter Switzerland, and use banking card comparison sites/calculators to give you some background knowledge of the sorts of packages offered in Switzerland.

2) Once you have decided on a bank, contact them over the phone or visit a branch and apply for an informational pack. This will provide you with details on the packages offered by the bank, as well as what documents you’ll need to bring on the day you apply. If the bank offers an initial consultation to help decide what package is most suited, you can arrange that at this step.

3) Once you have the relevant documentation you need to provide, it’s time for another visit in the branch to fill out the application and get all of the documentation verified. Remember at this stage you are likely to be given an account manager, ensure you request that they speak in your mother tongue to make corresponding easier.

4) You will be informed by your account manager about updates on your application (this normally takes between a week and a month), and once it is approved and your account is open, you will receive your banking card shortly after.

Hopefully, this article has provided a good starting point as to applying for a banking card in Switzerland, and because I haven’t said it already, good luck with your travels!

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