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March 26, 2017

Service Design Review: The Credit Suisse Debit Card

Credit Suisse Switzerland recently introduced a new debit card—the first of its kind by the Credit Suisse. Practically everywhere else on the planet, debit cards are very common in 2017.

The functional user experience

The fact I can now use a debit card instead of a credit card presents a huge logistical advantage for me. I use it for online payments at Amazon, or server hosting and domain fees. It is perfect for booking flights and Airbnb stays.

I can put money on the card before I travel, use it for payments outside the country, and I always have a good overview of what is left. I can’t overdraw it, and I don’t have to worry having to pay back large sums in the following months.

The card is actually issued by a partner of Credit Suisse, “SwissBankers”. This company made a mobile app that allows you quickly glance at your balance. It’s not a superior experience, but it does a fairly good job, and booking flights very few things are getting in the way. There are only minor issues throughout the app user experience.

The broken user experience

On Credit Suisse’s side, things look even direr. Here are the ways you can charge the Credit Suisse debit card:

  • You use use the phone to call them, go through a lengthy identification and confirmation process, upon which the card is charged within the next couple of hours
  • You could go to a Credit Suisse division and charge your card using a form at the banking teller, but this may at least take several hours to register, and even the whole weekend, if you do it on a Friday
  • You cannot charge the card directly the Credit Suisse banking app
  • You cannot charge it effortlessly online, using Credit Suisse’s banking Web app called “Directnet
  • Instead you have to go through an unnecessarily convoluted process to charge your card on the Web, upon which it takes three days to register on the card

You actually have to fill out a full statement, as if it was a money transfer to a different bank, including account numbers, long confirmation numbers, address field, etc. And then, still hard to believe, it takes three full working days to confirm your online charging of the card.

How do you learn about the ways to charge your Credit Suisse debit card? You have to call them, then they send you a printed document by snail mail (three days waiting), which describes the complex and anti-user-friendly ways to put money on your card.

There is no Web page that explains this. Nothing online, but a few marketing lines, praising the advantages of the Credit Suisse debit card.

User expectation

In contrast to the above, the expected user experience is quite straight forward:

  1. Go to directnet.com and log into your account
  2. On your dashboard, click on the big “Charge my debit card” button
  3. Enter the amount you want to charge in the opening window
  4. Click on “Confirm” to transfer the amount

This should be the same experience mobile as well as on the Web.

Core rating and conclusion


If Credit Suisse Switzerland commissioned a Service Design process, they would quickly discover the weakness of their product release. Even a simple analysis of the existing user journey would have revealed these flaws, which are breaking the customer experience.

Credit Suisse Switzerland may have technical reasons standing in the way of a straight forward, better solution. But those issues should never block the basic functions to meet expectations set by customers. A simple way to put money on their debit card is a fundamental, minimal expectation.

Releasing such a half-baked product in 2017, particularly by a well established financial organisation such as the Credit Suisse, is sabotaging the product and hurting customer trust in the brand.

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