Contactless payments without PIN – limit remains CHF 80

In April, the limit for contactless payments without PIN was increased from CHF 40 to CHF 80. Based on the positive experience, this higher limit will be maintained. This was decided by the card organizations together with all card issuers and acceptance partners in Switzerland. The agreement applies to all credit, debit and prepaid cards and helps to ensure compliance with federal hygiene guidelines in stationary retail.

Written by Medienstelle Swisscard 17.11.2020

The effects of the corona pandemic are also being felt when paying in stationary retail outlets. In order to avoid contact points, merchants and consumers have been using contactless payment with cards and smartphones more frequently since mid-April than in the same period last year. "Since the lifting of the lockdown, the proportion of contactless transactions with American Express Cards in stationary retail in Switzerland has risen by 20%," says Enrico Salvadori, Chief Commercial Officer at Swisscard AECS GmbH. "Measured in terms of sales, the figure was as high as 58%. The increase in the limit for PIN-less payments made a significant contribution to this."

Steep rise in contactless transactions over CHF 40

For purchases between CHF 40 and CHF 80, the proportion of contactless payments with American Express Cards rose by 63% in terms of sales, and by 15% for purchases below CHF 40. A similar picture emerges for transactions: For purchase amounts between CHF 40 and 80, the growth was 61%, and 3% for those below CHF 40.

"The corona pandemic is speeding up the structural change in payment behavior, as our experience in recent months has shown," says Enrico Salvadori. "Retailers and consumers prefer solutions that are hygienic, simple, safe and fast. These also specifically include the numerous mobile payment solutions that we offer our cardholders." In the case of mobile payment, authentication is always by facial recognition or fingerprint on the smartphone or on the smartwatch itself, regardless of the amount.

To support businesses and neighborhood shops

Contactless payments: the secure, fast and hygienic method for merchants and consumers.

According to the Swiss Payment Monitor 2020, 68% of contactless credit card transactions are made in stationary retail, an area particularly affected by COVID-19. "We are pleased that by increasing the limit for PIN-less payments, we can make a contribution to supporting the Swiss retail trade. We are going through difficult times and Swisscard has set itself the goal of supporting smaller merchants in particular in their daily challenges," says Enrico Salvadori.

This also includes the Shop Small campaign, which supports neighborhood shops in particular in acquiring new customers beyond their traditional catchment area. Swisscard and American Express launched the online platform in Switzerland last year and have been continuously expanding the range of support services since the spring.