Compliance obligations connected to a Swiss acquiring license
There is one distinctive market disadvantage for the Swiss intermediary: Its competitors operate with a Swiss acquiring license, the Swiss intermediary with a German sub-license from its parent company, resulting in different regulatory requirements.
Stefanie Sieber, 2022
Bachelor Thesis, A Swiss Intermediary
Betreuende Dozierende: Diana Imbach Haumüller
Keywords: Acquiring, Credit Card, International Card Schemes, Compliance, Regulatory, BaFin, FINMA
While the Swiss intermediary sells and onboards terminals independently, it does not have its own acquiring license. It therefore only acts as an acquiring "sales agent" on behalf of its German parent company. This setup creates several disadvantages compared to local Swiss competitors, because BaFin is imposing a very strict legal framework on acquirers, such as the necessity of adhering to AML laws. This is not the case in Switzerland: Acquirers in this country are exempt of the AML-duties. The different kind of license leads to worse sales conversion rates and longer onboarding times.
The research questions were answered with a quantitative data survey, where merchants of the Swiss intermediary were asked about the onboarding process and their experiences with this process. The key findings related to the research question were extracted from the study and subsequently systematically summarized. Additional information was collected by literature research, by analyzing current procedures, studying the Swiss and German regulatory requirements as well as reading the theory concerning financial intermediaries and the payment system.
Acquirers in Switzerland do not need a license from FINMA and are not subject to AMLA. The conducted customer survey revealed that there is room for improvement in customer service, the support received from the sales representatives, the handling of the terminal sale/support and the overall length it takes to activate the acquiring contract and/or terminal. The advantages of an own acquiring license can be summarized in a faster and optimized onboarding process, a reduction of bureaucracy as well as less confusion for the customer regarding the identification procedure, which will lead to improved customer satisfaction and a higher conversion rate. With improved contract handling, additional training, and better communication within the teams of the Swiss intermediary, a higher market share as well as a clearer brand-positioning can be accomplished. The customer experience will be improved, and faster service can be offered.
Studiengang: Betriebsökonomie (Bachelor)
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