Switzerland launched its real-time payments infrastructure in 2017 when PostFinance and Paymit collaborated to launch their real-time payments app, TWINT. TWINT directly links to users’ bank accounts and enables direct account-to-account transfers instantly.
In 2021, real-time payments represented a 3.9% share of total payments volume, a smaller payments tool compared to electronic payments (excluding real-time payments), which own the largest market share at 49.3% of total payments volume. But future projections for real-time payments share are positive, as it is expected to reach 17.9% of total payments volume by 2026 at a CAGR of 38.7% between 2021 and 2026.
TWINT registered 3.5 million users on its platform, which represents about 40.5% of the nation’s population — given this figure, TWINT has a lot of room to grow its user base and thus its market share within Switzerland in the near term. Currently, unlike most other European real-time payments schemes, there are limited prospects for international integration, as Switzerland is not in the EU or eurozone.
Real-Time Payment Types
Year of Real-Time
Swiss financial institutions have been mandated to receive real-time payments by August 2024, with SIC5 (the new Swiss instant payments scheme) likely to become available in 2023.
Many institutions were relaxed about the mandate because the central infrastructure owner, SIX Payments, was initially planning to launch a real-time payments solution that would help them satisfy this requirement. But those plans were indefinitely suspended in 2021, as the market reevaluated requirements and institutions now need to put in place their own solutions. Realizing the potential of IP will rely on overlay services that can help NPP to truly breakout. With the platform generally seen as the rails for most payment types, banks should be confident of long-term success.
Facing a tight deadline, several financial institutions view this as only a compliance mandate cost and not an opportunity to expand, grow and leverage real-time payment capabilities as a revenue generator. Many will be looking at the easiest way to extend their existing infrastructure to satisfy the incoming mandate. A few banks will turn to their core banking providers, software vendors and trusted technology partners to understand how they can help. As a result, this low-level transformation will be relatively simple for them as a very short-term fix, which has raised some concerns from analysts.
Although several banks believe initial real-time payment volumes will be low, this is potentially short-sighted. As we have seen in many other countries that have adopted real-time payments, this is not often the case. The recommendation of several analysts is for banks to think longer term, beyond the initial compliance requirements now. As we have seen in other countries, one mandate is often followed by others (for example, around real-time fraud detection and sending of real-time payments), which often reflects substantial increases in real-time payments. Banks should therefore assess their supplier base, questioning the extent to which current partners have the resources, technology, available proven software or skills to keep up with continuous change and an increasing scope of requirements (especially with digital overlay enhancements). SaaS and PaaS models are highly attractive options for Swiss banks, as they provide the services that not only meet the upcoming 2024 requirements but also provide financial institutions the capabilities to scale at speed and with minimal investment.
Some of the larger Swiss banks are already taking a more strategic approach, investing in deploying their own custom payment platforms with robust, API-driven payment orchestration capabilities that will — eventually — save time and money meeting future mandates and customer requirements (both corporate and retail). For them, cost-effective compliance will be a source of a competitive advantage in the future. Of course, only the very biggest players can contemplate building and maintaining their own platforms, so the rest are encouraged to add similar requirements to the aforementioned assessment of current suppliers.
Finally, experience in other markets shows that real-time payments’ early movers tend to retain their competitiveness, if not jump ahead. Some will stick to the limited scope of the mandate, so the stage is set for the bolder and more forward-thinking members of Switzerland’s agile and innovative financial services community to go further. By developing a roadmap to support end-to-end real-time payments and related, data-enabled overlay services (for consumers and businesses), they can capitalize on a huge emerging opportunity.
Real-Time Total Participants
Population Banking Level
Number of debit, credit and
charge cards per adult
Index to global average
F5 Yr CAGR
Share of Volumes by Payments Instrument
- Paper-based payments
- Electronic payments
- Real-time payments
Real-Time Payments Volume and Its Share in Overall Non-Paper-Based Transactions, 2015-26f
Choose a Country
The Need for Speed to Market in Consumer Payments - Payments modernization as a response to customer demand
Fraud Management Insights
Expanding the Horizons of Fraud Detection - The Network Intelligence Approach to Machine Learning
Defining and Building the Next-Generation Payments Hub - Global survey report from ACI Worldwide and Edgar, Dunn & Company
Compare Market Insights in Your Region
Use this exclusive tool to compare and contrast regional real-time trends, and gain access to insights to help drive your real-time strategy.Get Started