Swisscard Cashback Credit Card Review – Free and 1% Cashback| Updated: |
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Recently Swisscard announced a new offer for credit cards: Swisscard Cashback. They offer an American Express (Amex) and a MasterCard or a Visa. They have already offered several cards in the past. But these new Cashback cards are really interesting.
First of all, these cards are free! This fact is essential because a small fee will render your cashback useless unless you spend a lot of money. But these are not the only free cards in Switzerland! Interestingly, they offer 5% cashback in the first three months (limited to 100 CHF). After that, the cashback bonus becomes 1% on the American Express card and 0.2% on the MasterCard and Visa cards.
In this article, we cover everything about these cards.
|Yearly fee||0 CHF|
|Card||AMEX and VISA / Mastercard|
|Cashback||1% with AMEX, 0.20% otherwise|
|Foreign exchange fee||2.50%|
Swisscard Cashback Credit Card
A cashback of 1% is more than other free cards in Switzerland are offering! Of course, you need to be able to use the card as much as possible to use that extra cashback. Doing so may be difficult since American Express cards are not as well accepted as Visa and MasterCard, especially in Switzerland.
In this article, we see if this offer is interesting and is worth ordering a new Swisscard Cashback credit card.
Swisscard Cashback cards come in two different sets:
- An American Express and a Visa
- An American Express and a MasterCard
So, you will always have two cards if you opt for their offer. What is important is that only one card is interesting! The American Express card has a 1% cashback. This cashback is more than other free credit cards in Switzerland. On the other hand, the Visa and MasterCard cards only have 0.2% cashback. This cashback is lower than the best credit cards in Switzerland.
The idea is to use only the American Express. You should not use the other credit card. If you can use the Amex, you should use it and use your secondary card when you cannot. That way, you will have 1% cashback on American Express purchases and 0.33% for other purchases.
The cards have a standard maximum limit of 10’000 CHF per month. We should never need that much. Depending on your income, you may not get the maximum.
As I already said, the most interesting point about this card is the 1% cashback. My current credit card only has 0.33% cashback.
I spend about 10’000 CHF on my credit card each year. This total is only on domestic purchases. I make international purchases with my revolut card or Neon card. A 1% bonus on that amount is 100 CHF. This bonus is about 67 CHF more than I would get with the Cumulus MasterCard. This difference is a nice increase but not a huge one.
There is also a bonus of 5% cashback in the first three months. However, this is limited to a maximum of 100 CHF.
For me, it will not be a huge difference. At most, I will spend 3000 CHF in one month on my credit card. In this case, this would be a bonus of 100 CHF. Such a bonus is not life-changing. But it would still be interesting. On the other hand, this is still limited to what I can use American Express for.
I said the cards were free. You do not have to pay an annual or monthly fee. On the other hand, many things are not free of charge with these cards. These extra fees are how these companies get money!
First of all, these cards are incredibly costly for withdrawing money. If you withdraw money in Switzerland, you will pay 3.75% of fees, or at least 5 CHF. Abroad, you will also pay a 3.75% fee but at least 10 CHF. These fees are pretty bad! All credit cards are bad for withdrawing money. As a rule, you should never withdraw money using a credit card.
One other thing this card is pretty bad at is payments in foreign currency. You will pay 2.5% of your payment if it is not in Swiss Francs. So, you should never use this card for foreign payments. If you want to make foreign payments for free, you should use a Revolut card.
Finally, if you carry a balance on your credit card, you will pay a hefty interest of 11.95%. Credit card interest is how credit card companies make most of their income. Of course, if you are serious about personal finance, you should never have credit card debt. Credit card debt is the worst kind of debt you can have!
Moreover, there are also many smaller fees. For instance, you must pay 1.95 CHF per statement if you want a paper statement. If you call them, you will pay 1.90 CHF per call. If you pay at the counter, you will also pay a fee. You will have to pay for everything you want on paper. If you are careful, you can avoid all these fees! But you need to be aware of them!
American Express in Switzerland
The main problem with this offer is that the interesting card with 1% cashback is an American Express card. And American Express cards are much less supported in Switzerland than MasterCard and Visa. Even in the United States, having a MasterCard or a VISA is generally easier. It is a bit crazy, given the name of the card!
For shops, it highly depends on the size of the shop. Support for American Express cards is getting better and better. It used to be very poor. But now, large retailers such as Migros and Coop accept American Express cards.
For online stores, it is worse. Most websites do not accept American Express cards. On the other hand, many websites support Paypal. And Paypal supports American Express.
If you have experience with Amex cards in Switzerland, I would like to hear about it!
Solution: Two cards
Unfortunately, one card does not rule them all! Since the support for American Express in Switzerland and abroad is not great, the solution is to keep two cards. However, the strategy is not to use Visa or MasterCard from Swisscard. The cashback on these cards is too low.
The strategy is to use the American Express card as much as possible. And then, use your Visa/Mastercard from Migros or Coop to get 0.33% back. With that, you will have a maximum cashback in both situations.
Of course, this is not as practical as using a single credit card. I can understand that some people do not want this. And this is especially true since it will not make you a lot of income. In my case, I can generate, in the best case, 66 CHF more each year by using this card next to my current credit card.
There is also a second advantage of having a second credit card. With it, you have a second line of credit if you need it. Credit cards can complement your emergency fund well. But you need to be careful not to use this credit lightly and spend more because you have more credit cards. And be especially careful about always paying your balance in full.
I said the solution was to use two cards. The optimal solution is to use three cards. You still have to use another card for foreign currencies! Let’s hope your wallet is big enough!
Ordering a Swisscard Cashback card
To order this card, I filled out the online form for ordering an American Express and a Visa. The procedure is straightforward, but you will have to set a lot of information. This is at least three times more complicated than my old Cumulus credit card. I do not know why they require so much information about this. They could simplify the procedure.
Moreover, they contacted me twice during the procedure for specific information. I can easily say this is the worst experience of all the credit card applications I have ever done. But I may have been unlucky.
Once everything was finally filled out and accepted, I received the cards quite quickly. And I could directly start using them.
Let’s quickly compare the Swisscard Cashback card against some alternatives.
Swisscard Cashback vs Cembra Certo One
A great Swiss credit card with excellent cashback (up to 1%!), very flexible, and with a good mobile application.
- No yearly fee
- 1% cashback in three shops
The Certo One credit card by Cembra is a strong contender to Swisscard Cashback.
The Certo One offers 1% cashback in three shops of your choice. In other shops, you will get 0.3% cashback. The Cashback Amex will give you 1% everywhere.
However, the Amex is not accepted everywhere, while the Certo One is a Mastercard, accepted in 99% of places. This availability is a big advantage of Certo.
Other than that, both cards are very similar and free.
For me, the Certo One is a better card than the Swisscard Cashback simply because it is a Mastercard. However, the Swisscard Cashback is better if you want to optimize cash back to the maximum.
How much cashback do you get with Swisscard Cashback?
With the Swisscard Cashback American Express, you will get 1% cash back. With the Swisscard Cashback Visa, you will get 0.2% cash back.
Swisscard Cashback Summary
The Swisscard Cashback American Express is a credit card by Swisscard. This credit card gives 1% cashback on each transactions.
Product Brand: Swisscard
Swisscard Cashback Pros
Let's summarize the main advantages of Swisscard Cashback:
- 1% cashback.
- Two different cards.
- No yearly fee.
Swisscard Cashback Cons
Let's summarize the main disadvantages of Swisscard Cashback:
- American Express is not widely accepted.
- Transactions in foreign currencies are expensive.
This credit card is a good offer! 1% of cashback is nice, considering Switzerland’s market. And this is especially true since this card has no annual fee. The other credit card with 1% cashback is the TCS Travel Mastercard Gold. However, this other card is not free!
However, this new offer is not enough by itself. First, American Express cards are not accepted everywhere. That means you will have to use a Visa or a MasterCard if you want to use credit cards as much as possible. And the Visa and Mastercard Swisscard cards offer less cashback than the Migros and Coop credit cards. Therefore, you should keep your other credit card and use the Amex card for everything you can and use the other one when you cannot use the Amex.
Finally, you should, of course, not use these cards to withdraw money. And you should never use them to pay in foreign currencies. For this last one, you should use a Revolut card.
Now, for most people, having several cards will be too much. And I completely understand this. I do not mind the small effort since I like optimization. But if you only want one credit card for your domestic purchases, I still recommend the Certo One Mastercard.
If you are interested in this card, you can check the Swisscard Cashback website.
What do you think about this new credit card on the market? Do you plan to order?
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73 thoughts on “Swisscard Cashback Credit Card Review – Free and 1% Cashback”
Hello, I have a question about SwissCard and PayPal. When I verified the card (1 CHF test payment), it was processed by PayPal Singapore and SwissCard added a 2.5% fee for a foreign payment. Since then I have doubts whether I should use PayPal together with SwissCard, not to face the same issue again and pay 2.5% fee when placing some actual order. What are your experiences here?
This is normal with this card (and mentionned in the table summary at the beginning of the article).
It is a good card to use in Switzerland, but a bard card to use abroad.
Thanks for the answer, but it doesn’t really answer my question. I don’t ask about abroad payments, but about payments via PayPal (with Swiss account) – I know PayPal also offers transaction processing by Swiss entity (the second Swiss card I added was verified by such an entity without additional fee), but I wonder if that’s the one which is normally used when placing orders or it’s rather unpredictable. That’s why I ask about real-life experiences regarding fees when using PayPal in CH.
What matters is the payment processor. You mentionned that it was verified by PayPal Singapore, which is abroad. So, I would expect it to be rather unpredictable on Paypal.
That being said, I have no experience with using this card with PayPal since I don’t use PayPal.
I got your reply by email (“They never started. I have never used my Amex at Lidl.”) but I can’t find it here.
My question is then, why did you write on this article that Lidl now accepts Amex?
This must be a typo, I fixed it.
When did Lidl start accepting American Express? Last time I tried, it wasn’t accepted.
They never started. I have never used my Amex at Lidl.
Thank you for the great article and a lot of information!
Have you used SwissCard Amex also for the payments in CHF on Booking.com or to buy the flight tickets that are NOT SwissAir in CHF?
It is not clear to me if such transactions are normally for free or with a fee.
Thank you beforehand
I don’t remember paying on Booking with my Amex. But I think that booking.com is not processing payments in Switzerland and, as such incurs a fee.
It is actually not quite clear to me what happens with CHF payments abroad.
For example Amex with Apple Store apps I pay in CHF, but the location of Apple is in Ireland, however I don’t see any additional commission note on the invoice, the original amount remains (ex. 20.00 chf). Even with other cards, no fees are charged in this case.
In contrast, in the Steam store, the additional fee is charged.
It’s not clear indeed, because it’s not based on the company but based on the payment processor. And some international companies have local payment processors, which is likely the case for Apple.
But others only have one payment processor (apparently Steam), and therefore you will be taxed this fee.
But it’s almost impossible to find out for sure before buying.
Hi Mr Poorswiss,
Thanks a lot for your review!
I have seen that there are two ways to pay the bill, per monthly bill or LSV.
Is the bill electronically delivered so I don’t have to cover the 1,95 CHF per statement？
PS: Could you maybe make a review about the best banking packages or cards for students? Many banks have attractive policies towards students / young scholars. I am wondering which one is the most suitable one for student. :)
You can get the bill in the app and avoid the fee.
I will add banking packages for students to my list of articles to write (but the list is long!).
Great article, as usual, thanks! May I ask, what cards are you using these days (since you no longer hold Swisscard)?
I am using the new Certo One card.
Swisscard is a scam!
In the fineprint it says (even in bold letters) that, unlike other credit card providers, Swisscard charges the annual interest fee on the outstanding amount (i.e., 11.75% p.a.) from the booking day (!) of any expense rather than the invoicing date of the monthly bill. If the average expense occurs on the 15th of any month and the bill always arrives on the 15th of the following month, Swisscard charges 11.75% p.a. (= 0.93% per month) on the oustanding amount. They hide this fee on their bill. If you add up each expense, you do not arrive at the “outstanding amount” – you have to add the interest amount! Conclusion: The 1% cashback is a scam. They first charge you 0.93% on it. Then they return 1% only after, on average, half a year (annual cashback).
More people should know this.
That’s not correct. They only charge you interest if you make a late payment. I have been using this card for several years, always paid my bill in full, and never was charged any interest.
I checked one of my old statements and the outstanding amount was exactly what I paid.
Hi Mr. The Poor Swiss,
Thanks for the article.
WRT PayPal. Does it mean that I can easily bypass limitation of AmEx if an online store accepts PayPal? I mean, I add AmEx card to the PayPal account, I pay with PayPal and still get 1% cashback? Or it just gives me a way to pay without cashback and it’s better to use the second card?
I would think this would work yes. As long as Paypal accepts amex without fees and that the website accepts PayPal, it would work and you should get the cashback. Be careful that you need to make sure that the payment processor is in Switzerland, otherwise you will pay a lot of fees.
Thanks a lot Baptiste Wicht! Im moving to Switzerland and really appreciate your help, very usefull.
Thanks, I am glad it’s useful :)
Hi Mr poorswiss
Poinz also have similar credit card. How do you evaluate it compared to the ones you mentioned? Thanks.
The cashback should be similar. However, I don’t like the gimmick of poinz with deals and coupons and such. It’s a matter of preference, it’s probably similar to Swisscard, but it feels like a joke.