What is required to get a credit card in Switzerland?

Was braucht man um eine Kreditkarte zu bekommen? Schweiz

What is required to get a credit card in Switzerland? In Switzerland, there are some legal requirements as well as individual requirements of the card providers to get a credit card.

Here is the brief version.

To get a credit card in Switzerland, you must be of legal age, a resident of Switzerland, have a regular income, and have a normal credit rating. A credit check and being of legal age are required by law.

If you want more details, enjoy the rest of this article. If any questions remain unanswered, we will be happy to answer them at any time. You can find our email address on our contact page.

What are the requirements for obtaining a credit card?

Credit Card Requirement Switzerland

In order to get a credit card in Switzerland, applicants must meet certain basic requirements. The most important of these are the following.

🟢 Minimum age. Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Prepaid credit cards are an exception here. These are usually also issued to minors. Otherwise, debit cards offer an alternative.

🟢 Residence. A permanent residence in Switzerland is also required. This serves as security for the credit card companies and guarantees that the cardholder is legally tangible. If you are a cross-border commuter, it may also work. Then, you simply need to send in a few more documents and, if necessary, contact your desired card provider in person.

🟢 Regular income (with exceptions). Credit card companies usually require proof of regular income. This serves as an indicator of the applicant’s ability to pay the credit card bills. The exact income limits may vary depending on the credit card provider. Some premium cards, for example, require a higher income for approval.

There is an exception to this. If you do not have a regular income, there are still card providers who will be happy to give you a credit card. In this case, however, the spending limit will be correspondingly low, for example, 500 francs per month.

Another exception may be if you apply for a card from a bank where you have a bank account. As they have precise knowledge of your account balance, you may still get a card if you are in a good financial position.

Credit Check

🟢 Normal credit rating. A good credit rating is crucial. In Switzerland, a credit check is a legal requirement for credit cards, as they fall under the same law as loans.

Institutions such as the ZEK (Central Office for Credit Information) play an important role in assessing creditworthiness. They collect information on previous and existing loans, leasing contracts, and credit cards. A negative entry with the ZEK (e.g., due to debt collection or irresponsible use of previous credit cards) can significantly reduce the chances of obtaining a credit card approval.

The credit rating also affects your spending limit.

What is the application process for a credit card?

The process of applying for a credit card in Switzerland is fairly straightforward but does require the provision of certain documents:

  1. Required documents: Standard documents include a valid proof of identity (e.g., ID card or passport), proof of income (such as payslips), and often a current residence confirmation. These documents help the credit card company verify your identity and assess your financial situation.
  2. Application process: You can usually apply for a credit card online, over the phone, or in a branch. Online applications are the most popular nowadays, as they are convenient and fast. The applicant fills out a form with personal and financial information and uploads the required documents. After submission, the credit card company checks the information and performs the credit check.
  3. Online application vs. in-branch application: While online applications are known for their speed and convenience, in-branch applications offer the advantage of personal advice. Speaking directly to an advisor can be particularly helpful if you have questions about special card offers or unclear requirements. However, you should always remember that providers naturally benefit more if you take the expensive premium version instead of the free version 😉

Can I get a credit card as a foreigner in Switzerland?

It is possible for a foreigner to obtain a credit card in Switzerland, but the procedure varies depending on the type of residence, residence permit, employment status, and other factors.

In Switzerland, there is a clear distinction between temporary and permanent residence. As a foreigner, the type of residence affects your credit card application. A distinction is made between B permits (temporary residence), C permits (permanent residence), G permits (cross-border permits), and L permits (short-term residence).

It is advisable to contact several banks and ask about their respective requirements.

Credit card choice in Switzerland

How to choose the right card?

When choosing a suitable credit card, you can decide whether you want a card with or without an annual fee. Cards with a fee often have more to offer in terms of benefit programs, discounts, or points.

In most cases, choosing a free credit card makes more sense. Because these can also have great benefit programs without the pressure of a fee. We have taken a close look at countless offers for you and summarized the best credit cards in Switzerland for each user category.

You can view the credit card comparison here.

Conclusion 🎓

Applying for a credit card in Switzerland is a clearly structured process that requires you to be of legal age, a resident of Switzerland, have a regular income, and have a normal credit rating.

With options for different financial situations, from standard credit cards to special offers, the market is versatile and adaptable. Digitalization makes the application process considerably easier, while personal advice in branches continues to offer valuable support.

When choosing the right credit card, your individual needs and the services offered should be carefully weighed.

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