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Old 23.09.2010, 13:12
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prepaid credit card

Hello! I'm a PhD student (non EU) so I opened a PostFinance student account. I opened it the day I registered at the Kreisburo, so I had not received my permit yet. I was under the impression I would get an L permit, because there was an L on my passport, but now that I've got the my permit card, I ended up with a B. I may have filled the forms saying I had an L permit, but unfortunately I do not remember at all (so many things happened that day).

Now, I got a letter from PostFinance saying that "according to Swiss legislation and our terms for credit card issuing", they will not give me a normal credit card, but can offer me a prepaid credit card. I don't want this. I find it annoying when you travel to have to deposit in advance the exact amount of money you will be charged (sometimes you don't even know how much that will be!). I never fall behind on bills and pay when I get the statement, so debt is a non-issue.

So my question is, what this Swiss legislation they are talking about? Are nonEU foreigners entitled to normal credit cards? Or, are L permit holders entitled to normal credit cards (I don't know if I got this answer because I MAY have filled it as an L)? Then, are B permit holders entitled normal credit cards?

I'm seriously considering switching to another bank that will allow me to have a normal credit card, if they have a different policy. If not, ie it's a Switzerland thing, then fine, I will just not get any credit card at all.
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Old 23.09.2010, 13:23
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Re: prepaid credit card

I don't see what the problem is. I switched to a prepaid after somebody stole my wallet. After several months of arguing with Amex (the actual UK banks were great) it eventually got sorted out, but not after they kept sending me bill after bill after bill for the thousands that were spent after the card had been reported stolen and cancelled.

Perpaid is a welcome relief, I have one with the ZKB. Each month I put a thousand or so on it for my foreign travels and have never had a problem. If you can manage your money I don't see the issue.
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Old 23.09.2010, 13:25
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Re: prepaid credit card

I'm a fan of prepaid too... SBB has one attached to their Half tax card
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Old 23.09.2010, 13:29
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Re: prepaid credit card

It's a matter of security for the bank... if you said you had an L-permit on the form, and you're non-EU, then you are percieved (quite rightly) as a risk if they were to issue a normal credit card, which generally has a 5000CHF limit.

Why not just try calling them and explaining you have a B-permit and see if it changes things?
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Old 23.09.2010, 14:04
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Re: prepaid credit card

Yes, Richdog, I just got off the phone with them and they suggested sending a copy of my B permit to some address in Netstal. They seem to think it would solve the problem. We'll see. So it seems to be an issue of which permit you have.



I don't mean the thread to turn into why someone prefers prepaid or normal credit card . It's just that a lot of the hotels I've been in (two Marriots so far, a Radisson, in different EU countries) want to charge you some sort of "deposit" when you check in, then they reverse the charges when you check out and actually charge you what you spent. With a normal credit card, this would not be a problem. With a prepaid one, you might not have enough money in it until all the charges are cleared out! The first time it happened, I was out of a lot of money during my trip because of this (money that I got back a few days later, when I no longer needed it!!). The second time, because I knew this would happen, I asked to pay for the room right away when I checked in and that was fine. The third time, I was really stressed about other things and I forgot about this issue!! They charged me and while I still had a lot of money remaining, I felt my hands were really tied with other extremely important purchases that needed to be done. And internet was not always available to just recharge the card (unbelievably, the wifi signal was terrible in one of the Marriots!!).

So, when traveling, I'd honestly prefer to just be charged whatever and be billed when I get home, when things are calmer. It's just a preference of mine. I understand the risks with losing a normal card and getting crazy charges on it. I tend not to go around with all my cards in my wallet unless I know I am going to need them (abroad, they just stay in the hotel safe). Not saying this is the best approach, etc, I'm sure some of you will disagree and all that, but it has worked so far for me.

Thanks everyone for the input.
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Old 23.09.2010, 14:06
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Re: prepaid credit card

Yes, B-permit holders are entitled to normal credit cards if they have an annual gross income of 35,000 CHF or more. The more you earn the easier banks are at giving you their credit cards. You can try to get your income statement from the institution you work for and then go to, for example, Credit Suisse (https://www.credit-suisse.com/ch/pri...editkarten.jsp) or UBS (http://www.ubs.com/1/e/ubs_ch/privat...le/campus.html). Both banks have offers for students (up to the age of 30).
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Old 23.09.2010, 15:00
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Re: prepaid credit card

I'm no expert but if you have to pre-pay a credit card then surely you haven't actually got any credit, it's basically a debit card so why bother?

If worried about excess charges, can you ask that the credit limit on a card be lowered to prevent excessive usage if stolen? I would prefer that a thief runs up bills on credit than empty my current account!
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Old 23.09.2010, 15:27
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Re: prepaid credit card

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I'm no expert but if you have to pre-pay a credit card then surely you haven't actually got any credit, it's basically a debit card so why bother?
Some things can be almost impossible to buy without a credit card. eg. online shopping, rental cars, flight tickets
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Old 23.09.2010, 17:14
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Re: prepaid credit card

Viseca (http://www.viseca.ch/) used to be quite liberal about their credit cards and issued credit cards to B permit holders. It is worth checking out. Other large banks often ask for a deposit equal to the limit of the credit line, which effectively makes the card a debit card instead of credit.

P.S. I think CornerBank (http://www.cornercard.ch) is similar to Viseca and offers credit cards.

Last edited by 2x2; 23.09.2010 at 17:36.
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Old 16.11.2010, 16:02
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Re: prepaid credit card

I have a SBB prepaid card attached with my Half price card. Can any body tell me if its possible to do online shopping or book air tickets etc through that card.

Thanks a lot in advance.
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Old 16.11.2010, 17:00
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Re: prepaid credit card

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I have a SBB prepaid card attached with my Half price card. Can any body tell me if its possible to do online shopping or book air tickets etc through that card.

Thanks a lot in advance.
Yes, and yes.

I think the maximum you can put on the card is Fr 3,000.
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Old 16.11.2010, 17:08
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Re: prepaid credit card

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I have a SBB prepaid card attached with my Half price card. Can any body tell me if its possible to do online shopping or book air tickets etc through that card.

Thanks a lot in advance.
It's a VISA; thus you can obviously use it anywhere that accepts VISA.
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Old 16.11.2010, 17:44
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Re: prepaid credit card

the cantonal bank in Vaud wouldn't give me a normal credit card unless I deposited three times the credit limit! So I got a prepaid but the hotel problem is totally annoying I must say.

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Viseca (http://www.viseca.ch/) used to be quite liberal about their credit cards and issued credit cards to B permit holders. It is worth checking out. Other large banks often ask for a deposit equal to the limit of the credit line, which effectively makes the card a debit card instead of credit.

P.S. I think CornerBank (http://www.cornercard.ch) is similar to Viseca and offers credit cards.
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Old 28.02.2011, 19:01
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Re: prepaid credit card

Sorry, I am new to the credit-system. I got a pre-paid card (issued by SBB, but it is actually a Valartis Bonus Card AG, Zurich collaboration) which is also the half-fare card. Do I need to activate it again? Or simply I can deposit money? They send a Postoffice bill and a Bank/Postfinance bill, which perhaps I can use to deposit money. However is it possible to deposit from bank directly (Basler Kantonalbank)? Thanks and regards
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Old 28.02.2011, 20:31
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Re: prepaid credit card

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Sorry, I am new to the credit-system. I got a pre-paid card (issued by SBB, but it is actually a Valartis Bonus Card AG, Zurich collaboration) which is also the half-fare card. Do I need to activate it again? Or simply I can deposit money? They send a Postoffice bill and a Bank/Postfinance bill, which perhaps I can use to deposit money. However is it possible to deposit from bank directly (Basler Kantonalbank)? Thanks and regards
No, you don't need to activate it again. It's already valid from the moment you receive it.

Yes, you can use the post office bill to deposit the money and you can also deposit the money directly by using the online payment method (given that your bank provides the online payment option, which I'd assume it does).

Beware of the fact that independently of which means you use to recharge the card, you'll be charged a 2 chf commission and the money will take 2-3 work days to be deposited on your card. Also, the maximum amount of recharge is 3000 chf per month.
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