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Old 31.08.2007, 11:03
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martinreed martinreed is offline
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Re: Swiss Credit Cards

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Jelmoli's Visa card is gold, looks pretty and has more status than either Coop's or Migros' and it's free...
Many thanks for that advice!

I went into Jelmoli about 7.50pm on 31st July (about 10 minutes before they were due to close for the Swiss national holiday), filled out the application form and gave them photocopies of my passport and work permit ("Bewilligung"). Two weeks later I started phoning Bonuscard (the card supplier behind Jelmoli - literally as well as figuratively!) to check the status of my application, and was told that they had no record of my application. Even though Bonuscard's offices are literally 100m from the Jelmoli store in the centre of Zürich, it appears that my application never made it across.

I then filled out a new application form off the internet at www.bonuscard.ch (site only in German or French - go into the store and get help filling out the form if you don't speak either), went to Bonuscard's offices at 18 St. Annagasse in the centre of Zürich, gave them

* my signed and completed application form
* a photocopy of my passport
* a photocopy of my work permit (only an L, due to intial 6-month contract)
* a photocopy of my contract with my agency
* a photocopy of my most recent payslip
* a photocopy of my contract on my flat
* a photocopy of my broadband contract

to demonstrate as much as possible that I not only had a good job, but had both an entitlement to be here and a commitment to staying here, and yesterday I got a shiny new gold Jelmoli Visa card with a 5000F credit limit, no annual fee as long as I spend more than 300F per year and no requirement to put up funds to the value of the credit limit of the card, which had been the stumbling block to applying for a credit card of the bank for which I work. 5000/10000F are 2 months / 4 months mortgage repayments on my UK mortgage, and that's much more important to me!

So anyway, that's what worked for me, and now I am no longer paying foreign exchange charges and commission for every transaction that I make in CH on my UK credit card, only to get stung again when sending Francs back to the UK to pay off the card at the end of the month.

If I had my startup time again I would apply for a Cornercard Reload card straight away to minimise the foreign exchange and commission charges, then for a Jelmoli Visa card once I had got my Bewilligung and then probably cancel the Cornercard Reload card at the end of the first year.

Easy to be wise when you know; many thanks to AbFab and DavidInBern for the tips!
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