AXA is the first all-lines insurer in Switzerland to allow its customers to pay their bills with Bitcoin. This represents an investment in the company's digital future in response to growing customer demand for more choice when it comes to payments.
AXA conducted market research at the end of 2019, asking people aged 18 to 55 for their thoughts on cryptocurrencies. Even then, around a third of respondents said that they already owned some or were interested in them. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation further over the past year and thus fueled the spread of cryptocurrencies. To meet this growing demand, AXA is now allowing its customers to pay their bills with Bitcoin.
AXA is the first all-lines insurer to offer this solution. The new payment option is available to all private customers from the start of April. To start with, premiums for all non-life products of AXA Insurance Ltd. can be paid easily with Bitcoin. All you need is the reference number, the amount, and your own Bitcoin wallet. "This is AXA's response to growing demand from its customers for alternative payment solutions, with new technologies playing an ever greater role," says Claudia Bienentreu, Head of Open Innovation at AXA Switzerland.
In future, the new payment option will appear on bills sent by e-mail. Customers who wish to pay with Bitcoin can simply go online to invoice.inapay.ch/axa to make the transfer by entering the reference number and amount and then confirming their entry. The amount in Swiss francs is converted into bitcoins in the background, and the payment can then be completed quickly and easily on the computer or smartphone. Customers who receive their bills by post or directly on MyAXA can of course also use this new option to pay their premiums.
A progress bar shows how long the indicated exchange rate between Bitcoin and Swiss francs remains valid. The person who pays the premium bears no exchange rate risk during this time. If the time runs out before a transaction is concluded, the exchange rate is updated, and the timer starts over. AXA doesn't charge any special fees for Bitcoin payments.
Further payment options besides Bitcoin are set to go live in the near future, including TWINT. The range of payment options and services that can be used via the Web and the MyAXA app will continue to expand going forward.
No, that's not possible for now. We want to gather some experience with Bitcoin first before deciding on the next steps.
No. The bitcoins go to the crypto broker Bitcoin Suisse, which converts them into Swiss francs. AXA holds no bitcoins on its balance sheet.
No, the only information the external partners (inapay for the user interface and Bitcoin Suisse for payment processing) need is the reference number and the amount shown on your bill. These can't be used to work out personal information.
Private customers can currently pay their premiums for all non-life products of AXA Insurance Ltd. (excluding AXA-ARAG Ltd.). Unfortunately, this payment option can't be offered for life insurance products for regulatory reasons.
AXA doesn't charge any fee for using the Bitcoin payment option. The Bitcoin exchange rate provided by the broker includes a commission of 1.75% to cover blockchain transaction, currency exchange, and other fees.
The information about the new payment option currently appears only on bills sent by e-mail. You can of course also use the service via invoice.inapay.ch/axa if you receive bills in PDF or paper form.
AXA is working on a number of blockchain-related projects. It joined the cardossier association back in 2017 and is represented on its Board. The association, which also has importers and driver and vehicle licensing offices among its members, has developed a platform that uses blockchain technology to track a vehicle's entire life cycle with a view to making the market more transparent and more efficient.
AXA Switzerland also sponsors the University of Basel's Blockchain Challenge, working with students to investigate how a traditional insurer can tap into the growing market for smart contracts.
The steadily rising importance of digital solutions is also increasing the risk of cyber attacks, which is why AXA is working to ensure that its customers are better protected online. It launched a new cyber campaign focusing on digital themes in January.