Baloise Bank SoBa launches new bank card

Kiara Vetter
March 4, 2021
Baloise Bank SoBa, Products
The debit card of the future: by the end of April, all customers of Baloise Bank SoBa will have received a new bank card, the Baloise Visa Debit, that can be used universally. Compared with the previous Maestro card, the Baloise Visa Debit is welcome at over 45 million more acceptance points worldwide. Joël Mühlheim, junior product manager at Baloise Bank SoBa, was involved in developing the new bank card and gives us the details.

Joël, Baloise Bank SoBa launched the new Baloise Visa Debit bank card at the end of January.

That’s right! All of our customers will have received their Baloise Visa Debit by the end of April 2021. We are replacing their old bank cards with the new debit card free of charge. While the Visa debit card has been in widespread use abroad for some time now, Baloise Bank SoBa is one of the first banks in Switzerland to introduce the product.

What new features does the Baloise Visa Debit offer?

In addition to the functions that the current Maestro cards also offer, the Baloise Visa Debit can be used universally: when shopping online, booking hotel rooms or in mobile payment solutions – so just like a credit card. Paying with your Baloise Visa Debit card is also free no matter where you are in the world. No foreign currency fees are charged. One of the things that makes the Baloise Visa Debit card unique – in addition to the Visa payment protection – is the insurance cover that the Baloise card insurance provides for purchases made online. We saw that our customers were looking for one thing in particular – the ability to make convenient and secure payments – and we took that as an opportunity to combine our expertise from the fields of insurance and banking in a Visa debit card, creating a new payment experience.

Does anyone even need a credit card at all now?

We generally recommend that people have both a credit card and a debit card. Credit cards are advantageous because of the flexibility they offer when it comes to paying the bill. Hotel and car rental reservations made using a credit card can be used as a guarantee for the hotel, even though the guest’s account is not charged until the hotel issues its invoice. Customers also receive a credit card statement once a month showing all of their transactions from the previous month. It is only at this point that the transactions are settled. The advantage of this is that making hotel or car rental reservations does not have any direct impact on your liquidity. With the Baloise Visa Debit, on the other hand, the deposit for a car rental is charged to the account as a definitive transaction, which can restrict your liquidity.

What exactly is the deal with cards from Revolut and other neobanks?

This question can’t really be answered in one sentence. The key factor is the overall package consisting of the banking app, the cards and the payment options. Neobanks have revolutionised digital banking services and demonstrated the direction in which the customer experience of a modern bank must develop. With the universal usage options of the Baloise Visa Debit, an attractive fee structure and the addition of a card management field in the online banking app, Baloise Bank SoBa is taking precisely this step: the advantages of a neobank combined with the benefits of an established Swiss bank – this is what we offer our customers with our complete package. In addition to the card and app, our customers benefit from comprehensive consultation services – whether in person, via phone or by chatting via our new online e-banking messaging service.

Let’s look a little further into the future: Will we be using cards to pay in the future, too?

Since physical cards offer the advantage of not being reliant on battery lives, we expect them to continue to exist in the future. But it is already possible to store your card on your watch or smartphone. As a result, we expect a whole number of objects to offer integrated payment functions in the future, for example cars that pay parking fees automatically or fridges that automatically order food that has run out and pay for the order directly. In the future, banks will have to ensure that the payment functions offered by these smart objects can be managed in a banking app.