Contactless payments now possible with SwissPass: What you need to know

Contactless payments now possible with SwissPass: What you need to know

Since 2015, people in Switzerland have been able to load public transport tickets, half-price (halb-tax) and general abonnement (GA) subscriptions, and lift passes for Swiss ski resorts onto the SwissPass. Now, Alliance SwissPass, the company that runs the service, has announced that the system can also be used as a contactless card to buy tickets directly. Here’s what you need to know.

Contactless payments with SwissPass

According to the Aargauer Zeitung, the famous red SwissPass card can now be used to buy tickets for public transport in Switzerland. The system operates in the same way as a bank card, with SwissPass noting that the contactless chip already present in the latest passes - the ones used by conductors to check tickets and discount subscriptions - means it already has the potential to make payments. What’s more, the new service is entirely free.

Authorities noted that the new system is only available on the latest version of the SwissPass, issued from December 2021. In addition, all those who want to use the service need to register. Once registered, people with older cards will receive the newer version through the post for free.

Prepayment and invoices possible with new SwissPass

After registration, users will be able to use the SwissPass to make contactless payments at any point of sale on Swiss Federal Railways and all other transport operators. This includes railway, tram and bus station ticket machines, travel offices in major Swiss cities and even on some buses. Authorities say it will make it easier for those who do not have contactless bank cards or mobile phones to buy tickets, and make it simpler to track how much users have spent on transportation.

Those of legal age (18 years and over) who are considered to be “economically solvent” - as proven during registration - can either prepay into their SwissPass account or pay for their tickets later by receiving a monthly invoice - flexible repayments are also available. The invoices can be sent online for free, or customers can pay 2,90 francs a month to get the bill sent by post.

Parents can load credit onto their child's SwissPass

For children and those not considered solvent, only the prepayment option is available. Authorities noted that the prepay system is a useful tool for parents, who will be able to give their children a set allowance for transport every month without having to give them a bank card or have them rely on cash. 

For more information about the scheme, and to register yourself with the new service, check out the official website.

Image: / Bumble Dee

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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