The economics ministry has launched a chip card aimed at simplifying and making online commerce and electronic transactions with local authorities safer.
“It has a huge potential and helps us to improve the competitive edge of Switzerland,” said Jean-Daniel Gerber, head of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco), at a news conference on Monday.
He said the introduction of the SuisseID card, which is also available as a USB stick, makes the use of multiple passwords unnecessary and saves time and money with a safe system for electronic transactions.
The card acts as a secure digital signature for correspondence, forms and purchases. It can help guarantee that emails are from who they say they are and allow users to sign documents digitally. It can also keep children from making inappropriate purchases online, such as age-restricted video games.
Seco hopes up to 300,000 cards will be sold by the end of the year. The card costs SFr33 ($30.50) annually and the whole project benefits from a SFr17 million financial subsidy from the government.
“The higher the number of participants, the bigger the benefits for the public,” Gerber said.
Christian Weber, head of the SuisseID project, added that it was an ambitious goal but that he was confident to reach it.
“Switzerland has some catching-up to do when it comes to e-economy, compared with other countries,” Weber said.
He added that the card was also an important step towards pushing ahead with the introduction of electronic voting.
However, a consumer group recommends customers wait before they acquire a SuisseID card, because only a few companies or local authorities have joined up so far.
Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch