Card Fraud Made Difficult

Card Fraud Made Difficult

Debit cards remain the most popular payment means among the Swiss population. Since summer 2020, various financial institutions have been continually issuing the new generation of debit cards with enhanced functions. Due to new use possibilities without a physical debit card, the topic of card fraud prevention is gaining in importance. For users, careful handling of card data is essential in order to protect them.

This is why SIX is launching a series of interviews with experts on the subject of preventing card fraud. We start with Christoph Müller, Head of Ecosystem Debit & Mobile Services at SIX.

The new debit cards have been issued for a few months now. What are these cards all about?

The new debit cards can now also be used in e-commerce, for example for online shopping or for hotel and rental car reservations. In addition, card users can pay for their daily purchases or while shopping easily and securely with their smartphone. This means that debit cards can no longer be used only physically but in the virtual world too. Mobile payment meets a major need among card users. As before, billing takes place directly and quickly in the user’s account. This means you can see all your spending at a glance.

Can debit cards still be used at any sale terminal in Switzerland and abroad?

Yes, cardholders can continue to withdraw cash or pay for goods and services without cash at ATMs in Switzerland and abroad.

How many new debit cards will be entering the Swiss market?

There are around eight million debit cards in circulation in Switzerland, of which around 10% are currently from the new generation. The banks have various strategies for launching the new cards. Some are changing all of them at once, while others are taking up to three years. It can therefore be assumed that almost only new debit cards will be in circulation by the end of 2023.

How secure are the new debit cards?

Debit cards are and remain very secure. The previous payment options (e.g. at the sale terminal in shops) have an extremely low fraud rate thanks to the latest technologies. With the use of cards in the online shopping sector, the topic of fraud prevention without a physical card, e.g. phishing, is gaining in importance.

What role does SIX play in this?

SIX operates PRISMA (Payment Risk Management), a highly effective platform for fraud detection, prevention and combating. We rely on powerful monitoring that accurately detects fraudulent activity using state-of-the-art, real-time systems. By using self-learning technologies and active rule management, we can react dynamically and quickly to new fraud patterns.

Our Fraud Competence Center is home to a team of data specialists and analysts who identify emerging and changing fraud trends, work to proactively minimize them and optimize the performance of the regulations. We meet the highest security requirements thanks to our combination of efficient systems and a team of specialists.

Our Fraud Operations unit acts as an interface between the Fraud Competence Center and the banks that issue debit cards. It ensures that cardholders are proactively contacted in the event of suspicious transactions or receive optimum support in the event of confirmed card misuse.

Is there a coordinated joint approach in the prevention of card fraud?

SIX has been working very closely with banks and the police for years. Together, we operate the prevention platform Cardholders are informed about the topic of card security via various channels and made aware of how to protect themselves against misuse.


Perpetrators of phishing try to obtain confidential card information via fake websites, e-mails or instant messages. They ask their potential victims to provide, confirm online or change information such as the card number or PIN. The scammers falsify entire websites or e-mails from financial institutions in a very professional manner.

Vishing (voice phishing) involves a similar approach. Using automated calls via the Internet, they try to elicit card information from potential victims.