By Mohammed Waseem
Bill payment in Switzerland is still in its early stage. Online bill payment has a long way to go, having people to trust it. Swiss locals visit banks and post offices to get their bills paid. In this article, I will discuss different ways they use to pay bills.
Every bill in Switzerland comes with an orange slip (or red slip in some cases) that is meant to be presented while paying the bill. This is predominantly meant for face to face / over the counter bill pay. Swiss locals prefer to pay cash due to convenience and security concerns about technological innovations. There are however a few people who have switched to online bill pay and few others use ATMs to pay bills.
While paying a bill, the orange slip has to be presented at a bank’s or a post office’s counter. A part of the slip is returned to acknowledge the payment. This has to be preserved until the biller has confirmed that they have received the payment. This is because many people have complained that companies have been bringing up year old bills claiming that they have never been paid. Banks charge a fee for paying bills and post offices may pass the fee to the biller. Payment has to be in cash, bills cannot be paid by check in Switzerland.
Other than over the counter payments, Swiss bills can be paid online, by Snail Mail or through Multimat machines. Online payments maybe done through internet banking by visiting one of the banks’ websites and logging into the online banking site; online payments are free of charge. The reference number from the orange slip has to be entered for making the payment. Snail mail is the traditional method of sending receipts to banks which in turn pay the bills on behalf of the account holder from their account. Most banks also have Multimat machines that can be used to pay bills at the bank branches or at the ATMs. The slip has to be inserted into the machine after inserting the bank’s card. The slip is then displayed on the screen; payment has to be confirmed to complete the transaction.
Online payment can also be done using a mobile phone by scanning the reference number on the orange slip with a smartphone app provided by the bank. Alternatively, billers’ websites can also be visited for paying individual bills. Some banks also offer ‘direct debit’ option for few types of bills. Online bill pay is best is every part of the world, provided the same level of security exists. If banks succeed in making their customers trust online payment, this can improve bill payment in Switzerland dramatically.