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Using the back-to-school allowance card

This page provides information on using the back-to-school allowance card (ARS card).

Who is this procedure intended for?

This procedure is only intended for parents who have received a positive answer from the Social Service to their request for a back-to-school allowance and who have received the ARS card. 

What is the ARS card?

The ARS card is an electronic purchasing card to be used in the network of partner stores in Geneva; the full list is available for download at the bottom of the page.

The card cannot be recharged and can be used in several points of sale (successive payments possible). It can also be used in addition to payment by cash or bank card.

The general conditions can be downloaded at the bottom of the page (in French only).

How to obtain the ARS card?

To apply for a back-to-school allowance, please go to the page: Apply for a back-to-school allowance (in French only).

The ARS card can be obtained upon receiving a positive answer from the Social Service after submitting the relevant form and accompanying documents. Beneficiaries receive the card under separate cover. It can be used immediately in partner stores until expiry of its validity.

It is no longer possible to submit a request for a back-to-school allowance for the start of the 2023-2024 academic year.

How much is the back-to-school allowance?

The Social Service will notify beneficiaries of the amount of the back-to-school allowance in writing. Beneficiaries will receive the card under separate cover a few days later. The card will be charged with the total amount of the allowance indicated in the answer (one card per application).

How to check the remaining balance on the card?

There are two ways of checking the remaining balance on the ARS card:

  • by making a purchase in one of the partner stores (the balance is displayed on the card reader in the store)
  • by scanning the QR code on the back of the card.

Where to use the ARS Card?

The ARS card can be used in the stores of the partner network listed below (2022-2023 network). You can also download the map of the stores at the bottom of the page.

Important: the ARS card cannot be used for online purchases.
  • La Librerit: Bookstore specialised in the field of youth, with a school section and a space for novelty stationery items. It offers advice and support on orders that can also be made online.
  • Librairie du Boulevard: A cooperative bookstore which has been self-managed since 1975. Provides an ordering service, bibliographic research and advice on a broad selection of works and reviews in a wide range of different areas.
  • Vincenti Guitares: Classical guitar store and workshop established in Geneva since 1979.
  • Papeterie Wolf: A business founded in 1973 in the Eaux-Vives district which provides advice and know-how to help prepare for the start of the new school year, while also meeting the specific requirements of certain specialised schools. Papeterie Wolf stocks all the supplies children need to go back to school including diaries, pencil cases, pens and other stationery items.
  • Payot Librairie: A network of local book stores established in Geneva for over 100 years offering a wide selection of books as well as an online book store.
  • Aeschbach Chaussures et Sports: A family business founded in Geneva in 1904, specialising in shoes.
  • Manor Genève (except food and restaurant): A company present in the City of Geneva for more than 50 years offering a wide range of back-to-school materials including stationery, children’s clothing, sports equipment and multimedia goods.
  • Migros Genève: Stores selling back-to-school articles ranging from stationery to children’s clothing.


Service social

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Article modifié le 01.11.2023 à 08:21