For members


How Switzerland’s Covid switch to card has made things more expensive

Finally, you can now pay in Switzerland with card at plenty of shops and retailers, although the change is placing upward pressure on costs of living.

A person pays with card at a hair salon. Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash
A person pays with card at a hair salon. Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

For many, one of the few silver linings of the Covid pandemic was a final push in the direction of card payments. 

Unlike just two years ago, it is now possible to pay with cards rather than cash at a wide array of shops, stores and businesses all across the country. 

However, what we’ve gained in terms of convenience we may be paying for – quite literally. 

READ MORE: How the cost of living will change in Switzerland in 2022

Prices of everyday items are going up due to the added costs for businesses of setting up card payment systems, along with the costs which are levied on each transaction. 

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How much are things going up by?

According to a study by Switzerland’s Watson news organisation, the average card transaction costs the company 11 cents. 

The banks charge a fixed rate of ten cents per transaction, along with a fee which averages out at 0.7 cents for each transaction. 

READ MORE: Could Covid end the Swiss love affair with cash?

While the costs of each transaction have actually decreased since the start of the pandemic – pre-pandemic transactions cost roughly 28 cents each – the costs are still difficult for businesses to bear. 

With other costs on the rise due to inflation, the Covid pandemic and climate change leading to unpredictable crop yields over the past year, it has become even more difficult for businesses to absorb these costs.

As a result, they are being passed on to the consumer. 

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For members


REVEALED: Which city has Switzerland’s cheapest beer?

Anyone looking for a cheap pint in Switzerland is likely to struggle no matter where they are, but there are still good deals to be had for a cold, frosty one.

REVEALED: Which city has Switzerland’s cheapest beer?

Some research carried out in Switzerland is more important to consumers than others.  

This one definitely fits under the ‘news you can use’ category.

A recent survey conducted by consumer website Hellosafe compared the price of a half a litre of beer in 29 cities in different cantons.

The prices come from 2022 and have incorporated recent spikes in cost for beer producers. 

READ MORE: Seven beers to try in Switzerland

Where is Switzerland’s cheapest beer? 

The study found that one of the cheapest pints, at 5.22 francs, can be had in Aarau, followed by Bern  (5.92).

While it is one of the world’s most expensive cities, a big mug of beer in Zurich costs “only”  6.96 francs, four cents less than in another relatively inexpensive location, the Valais capital of Sion.

Where is Switzerland’s most expensive pint of beer? 

Beer lovers in the west of Switzerland would be better off sticking to wine, with French-speaking Switzerland charging the most when it comes to beer anywhere in the country. 

The priciest half-litres are in Geneva (7.72 francs) and Lausanne (7.96).

Reader question: Can you drink in public in Switzerland?

Next on the list are Basel and Davos, which may appear to have very little in common with each other besides beer costing CHF7.03 per pint. 

What does the future hold? 

The study also looked ahead at how the war in Ukraine is likely to increase the cost of cereals used to manufacture beer, impacting the price of the end product.

Grain prices in Switzerland are expected to rise by 4 percent per tonne by the end of 2022, which will see price increases in several parts of the country. 

Accordingly, the price of a pint in Lausanne could increase by 32 cents and reach CHF 8.28. 

If Hellosafe’s estimates are correct, then the price of beer will increase the least in Olten, Langenthal, Chur and Arbon.

Beer in Switzerland

While Switzerland may be known internationally more for wine, beer has seen a strong surge in interest in recent years – particularly since the pandemic. 

Switzerland now boasts the highest density of breweries anywhere in Europe, with the Covid crisis a major factor in transforming the country into a beer hub. 

READ MORE: How the Covid crisis led to a boom in Swiss beer production

In 2020, 80 new breweries were established in Switzerland. 

Switzerland now has 1,212 breweries – which gives it a higher ratio of breweries to people than any of the other big brewing nations in Europe, including Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Belgium. 

Just ten years ago, Switzerland had only 246 breweries, while in 1990 there were only 32 breweries in the entire country, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports.