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Created on 27.07.2020

Digital banking and cashless payment methods – what are my options?

What are the pros and cons of today’s payment options and which possibilities does digital banking offer in comparison with conventional banking?

The expression “cash is king” can rightly be called outdated. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an additional upsurge in cashless payment as people favour the more hygienic alternatives to notes and coins. PostFinance explains the options offered by today’s banking services. 

Cashless payment by card in shops

Nowadays, debit and credit cards are accepted in almost every shop and restaurant in Switzerland. All you have to do is insert the card into the card reader and enter your PIN. Contactless payments can even be made for smaller amounts – up to between  40 and 80 francs  depending on your card provider. Data for contactless payment is transmitted via a technology called near-field communication (NFC), and there is no need to enter a PIN. If you have a MasterCard, SwatchPAY! might also be of interest to you. With SwatchPAY!, the rules are the same as for card payments: amounts of up to 40 or 80 francs are paid easily and conveniently via your wristwatch.

    • Payment transaction generally faster than with cash, especially in the case of contactless payment by wristwatch
    • More hygienic than cash, which can be covered in countless bacteria and viruses
    • Transactions can be tracked in detail (more on this below) 
    • In contrast to coins and bank notes, losing the bank card does not mean you lose money – at most you will incur a small fee for a replacement card
    • Multiple protection against theft and misuse
    • A degree of dependence on technology: the card and the card reader have to be working 
    • Payment data can be tracked
    • Risk of fraudsters hacking into the card and making illegal withdrawals Find out how to make your day-to-day card use more secure and which steps PostFinance takes to increase the security of card products.

Mobile payment in shops

The term “mobile payment” refers to payment transactions via mobile devices. The most frequent method is payment via smartphone, such as with the PostFinance TWINT app. Payment by smartwatch is also becoming increasingly popular. 

    • Quick and convenient: your mobile phone is usually easily accessible and you do not have to enter a PIN
    • Very secure as the authentication process uses finger prints, facial recognition or PIN and your data is protected with state-of-the-art encryption technologies
    • Like card payments, this method of cashless payment is also significantly more hygienic than cash
    • PIN entry is generally unnecessary thanks to the use of finger prints and facial recognition 
    • Even if security standards are high, there is a certain risk that your account data could be hacked using a computer virus or another form of malware. Protect your devices by taking a few targeted measures against data misuse
    • The very simple and straightforward payment process can tempt you to buy more
    • Since all transfers are tracked, some users worry about becoming “transparent customers”
    • Here, too, there is a dependence on technology: the mobile device and the readers have to be working and ready for use

Payments and banking transactions from home with digital banking

Digital banking or online banking, e.g. e-finance, is the processing of banking transactions by means of data transfer via computer, smartphone or other electronic devices. With online banking, you can manage your finances yourself from anywhere and at any time. 

    • You can take care of all banking transactions from home, which is especially convenient for older people and those with limited mobility
    • Saves time: no need to go to the bank and queue up at the counter
    • Location-independent: you can also take care of banking transactions from abroad on your laptop or on the go on your mobile phone
    • Flexible as online banking is available 24 hours a day 
    • Transparency/control over all processes, transactions and the balance of your account
  • Online banking is generally browser-based, and this is where you are most vulnerable to fraudsters and cyber attacks. 

    • Unlike unauthorized use of your debit or credit card, misuse of PINs and TANs is very hard to prove. For that reason, you should always be very careful with your PIN and TANs.
    • No personal advice from a bank employee; you have to take care of all processes yourself

    Further information on security

Security elements

Digital self-monitoring with balance checks and notifications at home and on the go

Most people need to keep an eye on their finances at all times to ensure that they don’t spend more money than they want to. You can view your current balances and all transactions at any time via the app. You can also activate notifications in order to actively stay up to date with your finances at all times via push notifications, SMS or e-mail.

    • Self-monitoring: you can keep up to date with your account, credit card and e-trading transactions at all times
    • Option of individualization: users decide for themselves which financial events they would like to be notified of and via which channel – via the app, by e-mail or by SMS
  • Once again, you are dependent on technology – usually your smartphone.

Ongoing budget planning and overview with digital finance cockpit

In addition to instruments such as balance checks and notifications, you can use your personal e-cockpit to do your long-term financial planning and draw up budgets. This process involves grouping expenses and creating categories such as “Household” or “Living”, and then using these as a basis to define budget and savings targets.

    • Saves time: transactions are automatically assigned to the appropriate categories  – meaning you no longer have to draw up a budget manually
    • Savings targets make it easier to realize your wishes and dreams
    • All account data are prepared visually and illustrated in diagrams
  • Only digital payment transactions can be tracked and categorized. This means that cash payments lead to an incomplete picture of your finances in the budget.
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