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American Express credit card
Certo credit card
Kantonalbank credit card
Visa credit card
Tui credit card
Visa credit card
Swisscard Cashback credit card
Migros Cumulus credit card
AMEX credit card, American Express credit card
Raiffeisen credit card
Mastercard credit card, Master credit card
Cashback Swisscard credit card
Visa credit card
UBS credit card
Manor credit card
American Express credit card
ZKB credit card
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Organise your finances yourself - we'll show you how. 
The credit card guide tells you everything you need to know about credit cards: from choosing the right credit card to cost traps and more.

Credit card guide

Top credit cards

The top 4 of the credit card comparison.





Cashback Cards credit card
Poinz Swiss Loyalty Credit Card
IKEA credit card
Certo credit card

Everything you need to know about credit cards

Credit card or debit card?


Free credit cards with cashback or bonus programmes are perfect for paying in shops or online. For cash withdrawals at ATMs, however, you should use a debit card. 


⇨ The credit card bill is due once a month. With a debit card, the money spent is debited directly from your account.

⇨ Free credit cards with cashback or bonus programmes are the most attractive for in-store and online purchases.

⇨ Credit cards are required as a means of payment for various transactions (e.g. car hire or hotels).


But what is the difference between a credit card and a debit card? The name already gives it away: when paying with a credit card, you make a purchase on "credit". The credit card company first pays for your purchase and then bills you once a month for all amounts collected. When purchasing with a debit card, the amount is debited directly and immediately from your account.


Paying with a good credit card has two advantages: Firstly, you benefit from cashback (e.g. 1%) or a bonus programme (e.g. Cumulus points) with every purchase, and secondly, your money can work longer for you in your bank account in times of interest, as the bill is only due once a month. However, if you struggle with spending discipline and paying bills on time, you should use a debit card. The amount will then be debited directly to your account with every purchase and overdrafts are not possible.


Please note the following for online shopping: It is currently not possible to pay online with older debit cards. However, this is also possible with new debit cards (you can recognise them by the "Debit" imprint on the front and the three-digit card verification code (CVC) on the back).


If you have been taken in by a fraudulent shop, you may have another advantage with a credit card: while the amount is debited immediately with a debit card and is therefore gone, with a credit card you still have a chance to cancel the debit (so-called chargeback).


Debit cards are preferable for withdrawing cash from ATMs. Credit cards usually incur very high fees.


Many credit and debit cards charge high transaction fees for payments abroad or in foreign currencies. In addition, unattractive exchange rates are often applied, making purchases even more expensive. Last but not least, debit cards are regularly not accepted for certain transactions (e.g. car hire or hotel reservations). As we often emphasise in our guides, convenience costs a lot of money. In other words, there is no such thing as THE perfect all-rounder card. That's why you should choose a card that doesn't charge transaction fees and has an attractive exchange rate (comparison in progress).

Credit card or debit card
Visa, Mastercard, American Express AMEX

VISA, Mastercard or AMEX?


In Switzerland, Visa and Mastercard are accepted by almost all merchants. Amex and Diners are also widely used, but are sometimes not accepted by smaller merchants (e.g. cafés). Thanks to card duo offers, you get the best possible coverage (e.g. Amex + Visa). 


⇨ Amex offers particularly attractive free cashback credit cards. They are usually offered as a card duo of Amex + Visa or Mastercard, which gives you the best possible coverage.

⇨ Whether your credit card is a Visa or Mastercard usually doesn't matter.

⇨ What a Visa, Mastercard, Amex or Diners can ultimately do and what it costs is decided by the bank where you apply for the card.


Which payment network - Visa, Mastercard, American Express (Amex) or Diners Club - you want to use plays a smaller role than many people think. The difference lies primarily in worldwide acceptance. In Switzerland, all providers are well established, although smaller providers such as restaurants, cafés and low-cost shops in particular do not accept Amex and Diners. As these cards are regularly offered as a card duo - i.e. you also receive a Visa or Mastercard - you can still pay practically anywhere without any problems.


In figures, worldwide acceptance is as follows:

  • Number of countries: Master (210), Visa (200), Amex (200), Diners (200)
  • Number of merchants: Master (70 million), Visa (80 million), Amex (80 million), Diners (50 million)
  • Number of ATMs: Master (1 million), Visa (1 million), Amex (1.5 million), Diners (1.2 million)


Cantonal banks in particular often offer a choice between Visa and Mastercard. As the costs of these offers are identical and acceptance is comparable in many countries, the choice is usually irrelevant.


It is important to understand that each issuer (e.g. Kantonalbank, Migros or IKEA) is more or less free to decide on the credit card conditions. This means that the costs of a comparable Visa card can vary greatly between two different providers.

The right credit card - only the fees count:
Free credit cards in Switzerland


When choosing the right credit card, you should only look at the fees and cashback or bonus programmes. Our credit card comparison will help you with this. Don't be dazzled by gold and platinum cards or special additional benefits such as insurance. 


⇨ Gold and platinum cards that include insurance and other benefits are usually not worthwhile.

⇨ If you want to pay particularly cheaply in Switzerland, you should apply for a free credit card with a cashback or bonus programme.

⇨ To ensure that a free credit card remains truly free, you should avoid cash withdrawals, paper bills, foreign transactions and instalments.


Gold or platinum cards often entice you with insurance and other additional benefits (e.g. travel insurance, access to airport lounges, card made of fine materials). This is associated with high annual fees. The insurance cover is also usually subject to many conditions and therefore incomplete. If you really need insurance, we recommend that you take out one specifically for this purpose.


With cashback and bonus programmes (e.g. Cumulus points or miles), you benefit with every purchase. To a certain extent, you receive a discount or part of the purchase amount refunded with every purchase.


There are no annual fees for free credit cards. However, other fees, such as for cash withdrawals or payments abroad, must also be taken into account with such cards. But if you do without cash withdrawals, paper bills and partial payments, you can use a credit card in Switzerland completely free of charge and at the same time benefit from cashback and bonus programmes with every purchase.


If you are aware of the following fees and avoid them, you can use a free credit card completely free of charge:

  • Processing fees + exchange rate surcharges for foreign paymentsUse a dedicated foreign card abroad
  • High interest on instalmentsDon't pay your credit card bill in instalments, but always on time and in full. Set up a direct debit order or a standing authorisation in eBill for this purpose.
  • Fees for paper invoicesUse electronic invoices

Free credit card Switzerland
Cashback credit card, bonus credit card

Cashback and bonus programme


When paying with cashback or bonus credit cards, you benefit with every purchase. While cashback cards give you a cash credit, many bonus cards use points programmes (e.g. Cumulus, Supercard, air miles). 


⇨ We recommend free credit cards that also offer a cashback or bonus programme.

⇨ Cashback credit cards are generally more attractive than credit cards with a bonus programme.


You may be wondering how this can be worthwhile for the card issuer. Credit card providers earn money from each of your transactions, as merchants such as Coop have to pay a fee for the credit card company's payment service every time you make a purchase.


Free credit cards are most attractive in combination with such programmes. That's why we take cashback and bonus programmes into account in addition to the fees when calculating the credit card comparison.


So which is better - a cashback credit card or one with a bonus programme? Cashback cards are best as you receive a credit in CHF. This is usually paid out automatically to your card account or to an account of your choice. With bonus programmes, on the other hand, you are tied to the use of the points (e.g. IKEA points at IKEA, Cumulus points at Migros). In addition, the points vouchers usually expire within 6 months to 2 years, which is why there is a risk that the points will expire unused.


And finally, a tip: both the Migros credit card and the Coop credit card are linked to the normal Cumulus or Supercard. So you won't earn twice as many points when you shop at Migros or Coop. It is therefore smarter to use a credit card with cashback or another bonus programme at Migros or Coop and to present the Cumulus or Supercard separately.

Cost traps


If you know the fees for your credit card, you don't have to worry about hefty bills. In our credit card comparison, we have summarised the costs and fees of each card for you. 


⇨ Know the fees for your credit card - that way you won't fall into any fee traps.

⇨ To ensure that a free credit card really remains free, you should avoid cash withdrawals, paper bills, foreign transactions and instalments.


If you want to pay particularly cheaply with a credit card in Switzerland, you should apply for a free credit card with a cashback or bonus programme. Then you'll even get money back when you shop. However, to avoid any cost surprises, you should consider the following 5 tips:

  • Annual feesapply for a free credit card
  • Processing fees + exchange rate surcharges for foreign paymentsUse a suitable foreign card when abroad
  • High interest rates for instalment payments (around 12-14%) Do not pay your credit card bill in instalments, but always on time and in full. Set up a direct debit order or a standing authorisation in eBill for this purpose.
  • Cash withdrawal fees in Switzerland and abroad ⇨ Use a debit card for cash withdrawals
  • Fees for paper invoices ⇨ Use electronic invoices
Credit card cost traps
Credit card insurance

Credit card insurance


Many credit cards sometimes advertise shopping, travel or car hire insurance. Do not choose a credit card on the basis of these additional benefits, as this is rarely worthwhile. Instead, it is the fees alone that count when choosing a credit card. 


⇨ Don't choose a credit card on the basis of insurance, but look at the fees alone when making your choice.

⇨ Cheap credit cards offer hardly any insurance cover. Gold and platinum cards sometimes offer better protection, but are significantly more expensive than basic credit cards and are therefore rarely worthwhile.

⇨ The insurance claim is usually subject to strict conditions.

There is a wide range of credit card insurances. The most common include 🛍️ purchase insurance, ✈️ travel cancellation insurance, 🏥 foreign travel health insurance, 🧳 baggage insurance and 🚗 car hire excess insurance.


As a rule of thumb, the cheaper the credit card, the lower the insurance cover. Insurance cover often only applies under strict conditions: As a rule, for example, between 50% and 100% of the travel costs or purchase must have been paid for with the credit card in order to be able to make a claim at all.


We do not recommend selecting credit cards on the basis of insurance benefits. Rather, you should pay attention to the costs and cashback or bonus point programmes when making your choice. Swiss credit cards usually only offer limited insurance cover. Only the most expensive cards (Gold or Platinum) offer sensible protection depending on the risk, and this is accompanied by high annual fees. You should also study the general terms and conditions carefully to avoid any nasty surprises. Where necessary, we recommend taking out separate insurance (especially supplementary health insurance for cover abroad or travel insurance).

Credit risk instalment payment


Always pay your credit card bill in full and on time, otherwise it can be expensive. The instalment facility allows you not to pay the bill in full immediately (payment by instalments) - but this will cost you high interest rates (usually 12-14%). 


⇨ Always pay your credit card bill in full and on time.

⇨ High interest rates apply for instalment payments (usually 12-14%).

⇨ Automate invoice payment with LSV or eBill standing order.


In our comparison, we have clearly listed the credit interest rates for the instalment facility for each card. A maximum of 14% is currently permitted for so-called overdrafts. Most credit card issuers utilise this maximum, which is why very high interest rates are charged for late payments.


Set up a direct debit (LSV) or eBill standing order so that the bill is paid automatically. This way, you don't have to worry about paying on time and only have to make sure that there is enough money in the account to pay the invoice.


We generally advise against using the instalment facility and only recommend using credit cards if you can pay your monthly bill on time and in full. In this case, credit cards are attractive payment solutions thanks to cashback and bonus programmes. To use credit cards responsibly, you need to be able to pay your monthly credit card bills without any problems. If you are not confident about this, you should use debit or prepaid cards.

Article 3 of the Federal Act against Unfair Competition (UCA) stipulates that the granting of credit is prohibited if it leads to over-indebtedness.

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