I experienced numerous problems with the sbb.ch website. They would sometimes accept my sign- in, sometimes not. But the main problem was that I got a message that my credit card was not authorised when I tried to purchase a ticket. I called my credit card company and figured out that it wasn't a problem with them but with the website. My solution was to buy my tickets from the Rick Steves website. It was easy and user-friendly. I wish I'd gone there in the first place rather than waste so much time on sbb.ch. The $8 service fee from RailEurope was worth the hassle free experience.
Joan, unless you are buying the "Sparpreis" advance purchase tickets (and they have limited availability - some trains only), there is no advantage in buying Swiss rail tickets in advance.
There is NO price advantage for advance purchase, you pay the same price whenever you buy, and there is no reservation, a ticket is valid on any train. It is just as simple to buy on the day (or the day before) from the station, either from the manned ticket desk or from a ticket machine.
The OP posted a while back about the Swiss Transfer ticket, which must be purchased before you enter Switzerland.
Also Lee posted that there may be evolving difficulties with US "no fee" credit cards, as EU regulations now limit credit card transaction fees to 0.3%. If a US card has rewards cash-back or travel points associated with it, it would exceed the 0.3 % limit, thus the credit card issuer would lose money on the transaction, a situation that I'm sure the credit card issuer would not accept. I'm still waiting for an opportunity to test this.
Sam, are you saying that Visa, for example, can block the transaction, even if the issuing bank is not? Interesting.
Like I say, don't know yet. I bought a pile of DB tickets last year, and SBB the year before, but Lee did bring up an interesting point. Another German venue charged 5% for credit card transactions, and Pension Peters in Berlin gave a 5% discount for cash (or more correctly, a 5% upcharge for credit card payment). Uwe gave me an earful on that one. The limit on credit card fees might be getting implemented now.
I was just reading about how Visa came up with 3D security vetting. It was in the British equivalent to Consumer Reports.
Visa, MasterCard and Amex all run a similar scheme to that original one which is called "Verified by Visa" in some places. It apparently immediately rejects about 0.05% as distinctly fraudulent, and then algorithms set to work figuring out if the transaction is fraudulent. Then if all that passes, it is given back to the card company, who may or may not accept the transaction - or at least that's how I understand it....