After a process of several years, the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland recently affirmed the judgment of the Federal Administrative Court in the case of FINMA v. Swisscom by deciding that, under certain circumstances, value-added services represent payment services and consequently fall under the Anti-Money-Laundering Act (AMLA).
Specifically, the payment services in question are a system by which a customer of a telecommunications service provider places the order for invoicing and for forwarding payment to a value-added service provider. As a consequence, the telecommunications service provider functions as a financial intermediary. In this way, funds originating from illegal sources can enter this para-banking system as well.
Sunrise is therefore forced to introduce a transaction limit of CHF 5,000.– per contractual partner per year on value-added services such as 090x numbers, Premium SMS services, and Sunrise Pay and to monitor the cash flows running through the relevant providers. The measures to be taken apply equally to all telecommunications service providers and competitors of Sunrise in Switzerland.
In order to ensure legal requirements are met, Sunrise will implement the following measures - foreseeably by August 1, 2020:
Private customers, sole proprietors and micro-businesses:Value-added services including Premium SMS services and Sunrise Pay are available as usual, but are automatically blocked after sales of CHF 5,000.– per customer (person or company) are reached.
Business customers:Value-added services, including Premium SMS services and Sunrise Pay, are generally blocked and are no longer available to employees of SMEs and large customers. Due to the size of the customer and the required manual blocking, compliance with the minor threshold cannot be guaranteed.
We ask for your understanding.
Questions and answers on this topic
Which services are affected?
Language value-added services: 090x numbers: Paid hotlines for information, consultation, support, or for participating in discussion forums, contests, etc.
Data value-added services (Premium SMS): SMS/MMS Business numbers: Paid SMS/MMS for buying public transport tickets, ringtones, mobile games, or for vending machine purchases.
Sunrise Pay: Apple Store, Google Playstore, or other online shops where digital products are purchased and billed using a Sunrise mobile subscription or prepaid credit.
Which business customers are affected by the general block?
All business customers of any legal form are included in the general blocking of value-added services, with the exception of individual and micro-enterprises, where manual blocking via the individual connections can be guaranteed due to the minor threshold.
How is the transaction limit calculated?
The transaction limit of CHF 5,000.–/year refers to the contract holder and is not calculated per phone number. A transaction limit is reached when a contract holder reaches the limit amount across all his numbers (including numbers at Sunrise, Yallo and Lebara). The sales of all value-added services or the sales of value-added services from all providers are cumulative.
What happens when the transaction limit is reached?
Shortly before the annual transaction limit of CHF 5,000.– is reached, the customer is informed that he will be blocked from further consumption of these services. If the customer reaches the annual transaction limit, the value-added services will be blocked until the end of the year for which that particular transaction limit is calculated.
Frequently asked questions about Sunrise Pay
In your monthly Sunrise bill.
The limits are CHF 150.- per purchase and 400.- per month.
Your login is made through a PIN authentication. Plus, you are notified when:
You make your first purchase with any of the available partners.
You reach the limits of CHF 150.- per purchase or CHF 400.- during a one-month period.