Paid your dues? Payments from A to Z

You just arrived in Switzerland, got a (giro) bank account and the first bills are due for payment. Before you get desperate over red and orange payment slips, read on in order to understand the differences and what else you need to look out for in your daily financials.

Orange Or Red? That Is The Question

Fundamentally, it is important to know that in Switzerland, you can pay (or charge) someone either via the Post Office or via a bank. If you have to pay a bill/invoice in most cases you will receive an orange or a red payment slip. The difference between red or orange is mainly a technical matter. The orange version has some processing advantages for the biller such as a reference number that helps identifying the payment and receiver throughout processing. In contrast the red version has a open field intended for information for the respective recipient e.g. client or invoice number.

The easiest way, however, is to pay a payment slip via online or mobile banking. You will then need to choose the same payment slip that you've received with your invoice. Within online and mobile banking you will be guided and supported to capture all required data.

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Payments Going Abroad

It might get a little more challenging when you plan to make an international payment. Nowadays, you need to have the IBAN code (starting with a country code, e.g. CH for a Swiss banking number) and the BIC number of the person or company to whom your payment is addressed. Most online banking tools will guide you through your payments, but it is essential to have that information. Overall, with the standard payment order you can settle your payments easily and conveniently in any currency, whether in Switzerland or abroad.

Paying Bills Hassle-Free

To make life easier you can set up standing orders via your bank or online or allow a company to take direct debits (known as LSV+). Standing orders are ideal for making regular payments for fixed amounts, with set dates to the same payee. With LSV+, you have the option of disputing a debit within 30 days following notification.

Choose Your Card And Your Level Of Freedom

A debit (Debit Mastercard) card or the Post card is linked to a bank (giro) account. It shows your IBAN number and is a convenient method for your day-to-day payments or for withdrawals from cash machines – be it in Switzerland or abroad. The money you spent is charged promptly to your account.

There are alternative cards like charge cards and credit cards that either require a certain deposit transfer onto your card or debit payments in monthly installments via "LSV+". You can choose between Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club. Credit Cards give you much more freedom than a debit card, particularly abroad or when travelling or purchasing online.With a credit card people can have a greater credit limit than with a debit card. However, do look out for offers or packages since charges can vary.


Copyright © 1997 - 2014 CREDIT SUISSE GROUP AG and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Author: Credit Suisse

As one of the world's leading banks, Credit Suisse is committed to delivering its financial experience and expertise to corporate, institutional and government clients in Switzerland.

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