Memory cells based on Cu+ and Ag+ metal-organic charge-transfer complexes, as for example CuTCNQ (where TCNQ denotes 7,7',8,8'-tetracyanoquinodimethane), are well known for their bistable resistive electrical switching since 1979. The switching mechanism however remained unclear for very long time. In this contribution we describe the different views (bulk vs. interfacial switching), give evidence for interfacial switching in the case of CuTCNQ, and present a model allowing explaining the bipolar resistive electrical switching by an interfacial effect, even for experiments considered until now as proof for bulk switching. The proposed switching mechanism is based on bridging of an ion-permeable layer (or gap) by conductive Cu channels, which are formed and dissolved by an electrochemical reaction implying monovalent Cu+ cations, originating from a solid ionic conductor (as for example CuTCNQ). The model was furthermore generalized to other memory systems consisting of a permeable layer and a solid ionic conductor, including also inorganic solid ionic conductors as for example Ag2S.