Card Payment Chaos

Zurich BHstrasseI don’t even know why I am writing about this topic. We are living in 2014! The Curiosity is wheel spinning on the dusty Mars terrain. Your mobile phone can turn your kettle on in your kitchen (from your office) and you can transfer any amount of money to any bank worldwide. Yet some establishments in many first world countries still don’t accept bank cards! And this in Zürich, Switzerland. Home to the 7th most expensive retail street, ‘Bahnhofstrasse. Home to banking super weights UBS & Credit Suisse. Home to payment service giants Six & ConCardis (Swiss headquarters). So all this rich banking & retail heritage, as well as being the 4th most expensive city in the world surly adds up to a highly sophisticated payment systems which incorporates new mobile payment technology and online currencies such as Bitcoin.

Äääääh: Wrong!

1848-182071Cash is still king here so make sure you always have a large array of coloured bank notes neatly (faces up) laid in in your wallet. I have literally seen 3rd will countries with more advanced and diverse payment systems.

Sure the big companies and shops have embraced payment technology. I recently went to the Migros at Zürich Airport and could use my debit card for a CHF1.10 transaction using the ‘self-checkout’ system. But go to a restaurant or bar that is not a high street without cash-money and you risk the chance of being unnecessarily embarrassed. “Sorry sir. We don’t accept cards.” That awful feeling when the queue behind you are getting agitated with you as you are checking through your wallet hoping for a CHF100- note to miraculously pop out. ‘Sweaty palm syndrome’ tightens its grip and you visualize yourself being forced to stay behind and washing the dirty dishes.

Sure companies that install card machines need to pay a certain percentage of the transaction’s value to the payment service companies. This consequently reduces profit. But that is a small price to pay in order to keep your customers satisfied and for them to return to your store, even if they have no cash on them. Classic customer satisfaction rules state that: “Stress free products & services should be a standard.”

No CCsI recently went to MARSBAR just off Langstrasse to celebrate my birthday with my entourage. It’s a trendy little spot and it knows how to get a party started. After a few rounds of refreshments accumulated on the tab, I requested the bill and whipped out my shiny credit card. To my disappointment they did not accept cards! I had to literary walk 15 minutes down Langstrasse at midnight; on a Friday evening; in the rain; to the closest ATM… and then 15 minutes back! It felt like someone took the jam right out of my Berliner.

The same story with Sterner Grill. I really do love the concept and their food. But the Glattzentrum store (or any for that matter) does not accept plastic. The irony is that they won a “Best Service Award”. Delivering a good customer service is not just about having happy& competent staff. It is so much more! It’s a combination of excellent customer service, quality products & services and the way these products & services interact with customers. Surly a major factor should be the ‘ease of payment’ factor. Simple!

21st centuary

Categories: I get it!

1 Comment

  • Jacques says:

    I would agree to some degree that card payments are frustrating. The possible reason for a lack of acceptance of cards could very well be ‘tax evasion’. If the tax man doesn’t see it and there’s no record of income, the recipient is rubbing their hand together. Revenue off the books for most small businesses is ideal.
    A recent experience in the last few years after being in the UK for over 10 years, is the Australian payments process.
    Banking is efficient, mobile banking is very convenient. In some instances friends dining out transfer money at the table or in a establishment to each other and one person pays. Either due to the fact that they have cash on hand, or they justt want they want the rewards points ( Amex, flyer miles etc etc.)
    on the contrary, most establishments don’t have portable C/card machines, 20% do have them but most staff are not aware of the purpose. Most patrons sign there card receipt. Chip and pin is not yet compulsory in Australia, 10 years behind the UK.
    The most annoying thing and this really grates my cheese, you will always be asked”cheque, savings or credit”. With much restraint and a counting to 10, I personally have to think for a second and answer. I always say credit. Those letters you receive from the bank that we never read, clearly state that you should always choose credit unless getting cash back. Cheque accounts should not exist anywhere in my opinion as no one uses them anymore. Except Americans, they’re even further behind.
    Next time someone asks me CHQ, SAV or CR I’ll turn into one of those people that just want to smash everything in close proximity.
    IT’S ALL CREDIT you muppet. Money is money, if it’s there you can charge it to CREDIT muppet. Lastly one last thing that occurs here in Austrlia is the $1.30 surcharge or 3% on Amex and other weird stuff. Retailers or vendors need to be paying this and building it into their price. People hate add ons and dumb answers to stuff that should really be so simple.
    Or just pay cash and save yourself the anxiety. At least you’ll have some change to play with.

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