As of today, Mastercard cardholders in Switzerland can pay with a new mobile payment service called SwatchPAY!. This is the first time all transactions on three cards (credit, debit and prepaid) are tokenized on non-connected watches.
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The service is supported by a wide range of Swiss Mastercard card issuers including Cembra Money Bank, Cornèrcard, Swiss Bankers, Swisscard (Credit Suisse), UBS, and Viseca. Contactless payments also work at more than three-quarters of all Swiss cash terminals. SwatchPAY! first launched in China in the summer of 2017, but this was on a limited selection of credit cards.
If you’re familiar with some of the other contactless payments systems such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, SwatchPAY! works much the same. At a cash register, owners of NFC enabled Swatch models need to wave their watch against the card terminal. The timepiece will exchange the necessary information with the reader to make the payment.
The payment terminal supplies the energy needed for this process. As the watches don’t have Bluetooth, you don’t even need to have your smartphone with you.
The consumer 16-digit card number on the Mastercard is replaced with an alternative card number or “token” for the digital transaction. The token is different from the card number and cannot be used to carry out a transaction with another device. This helps to enhance security and is similar to the system used on the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch.
“The new SwatchPAY! in Switzerland offers a further convenient way for a large number of Swiss consumers to make contactless payments,” says Daniela Massaro, Country Manager of Mastercard Switzerland.
“And paying with SwatchPAY! is not only very practical, but also secure, as no personal account or card data is stored or transmitted.
There are four new Swatch models with the SwatchPAY! technology. Fairly similar in design they all have a NFC radio chip hidden underneath the watch dial and water-resistance down to a depth of 30 meters.
For now SwatchPAY! only works in Switzerland and China. It is likely other regions will follow soon.
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