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Switzerland's first contactless debit card

Together with Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, SIX Payment Services is launching the Swiss market's first contactless debit card. The regional bank from the canton of Aargau is ahead of the pack.

Swiss bank customers started using the V PAY Visa debit card this year. Raiffeisen has already issued the cards to its customers and UBS rolled out V PAY in mid-October. A third bank has now added V PAY to its portfolio, but has also added its own innovation: Hypothekarbank Lenzburg has launched Switzerland's first contactless V PAY debit card. At the start of December, Hypothekarbank replaced all Maestro cards with a dual interface V PAY card, which can be used for both contact and contactless payments.

"The Swiss debit market is ready for contactless payment," says Daniel Schuler, the product manager responsible for the card at SIX. For Hypothekarbank CEO Marianne Wildi, the decision to take the pioneering role was not difficult: "Because it was a decision for the most secure solution and because we wanted to be at the forefront as a regional bank."

André Renfer, the project manager responsible for V PAY at Hypothekarbank confirms that it did not take long to decide to launch the new card: "The contactless V PAY debit card is an innovative and financially attractive product. Being a small bank makes us very agile, since banking, development and operations are all under one roof. But when it comes to setting standards, we rely on the partnership and expertise of SIX."

The changeover was painless for the bank, as Marianne Wildi explains: "The adjustments to be made by our own core banking system developers were minimal. Our marketing team dealt with the layout and market presence. And everything else was handled by SIX as our project partner. As an independent bank, the partnership with SIX represents the most efficient solution. The cooperation was optimal – SIX complements us very well."

SIX is supporting Hypothekarbank Lenzburg with a comprehensive package covering issuing processing and chip consulting; it also acted as a link to the Visa Card Scheme and the card personalizer. The dual card with chip and antenna will now spread throughout Switzerland from Aargau. This viable alternative to Maestro cards will revive competition.

Some local businesses have not yet introduced contactless payment. "Now that debit cards can be used to make contactless payments, they are certain to respond quickly. The initial feedback has been very positive," comments Sandra Riederer from HBL's marketing and communications team.