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Currency in Switzerland

Old Sep 7th, 2016, 04:06 AM
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Currency in Switzerland

Hi,
I just want to double check before I head to the bank. I will be traveling to Germany and Switzerland soon. In Germany the currency is Euros, correct? But Euros are not accepted in Switzerland?
Thanks!
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 04:10 AM
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Correct altho there are a few places in Switzerland where you might be able to use a Euro but you'll get any change back in CHF.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 04:23 AM
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No Switzerland is not part of the Euro zone, they have stuck with the Swiss Franc, which is MUCH stronger than the Euro (and there fore things in Swtiz are much more expensive in nearby countries).

If you just cross the border briefly you may find places that take euros for small purchases (I recall being able to use them in the parking lot machines near Schaffhausen Falls, right over the border. But euros are NOT in general use and if you try they will likely not be accepted and if they are it will be at a terrible rate of exchange. If going to Switz then just stop right after the border and pull Swissies from the nearest ATM.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 04:58 AM
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In border regions, you can usually pay in euro and get the change in euro, as merchants have two tills. This makes commercial sense as Switzerland is surrounded by Eurozone countries except tiny Liechtenstein which uses Swiss francs. As you move further inland, you should have Swiss francs (though credit cards are widely accepted so the need for local currency isn't paramount, but some sights only take francs and no cards). So I suggest you only withdraw a small amount of francs and rely on euro (where taken) and cards.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 05:24 AM
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Last time we were in Locarno various merchants would take Euro and at that time they were telling us that for them CHF and the Euro were basically interchangeable, exchange-rate wise. However, given Locarno's location and the number of visitors that whole interchangeable notion was certainly the exception (as compared to other Swiss locations) rather than the rule.

Food and other things remain pricey in Switzerland because of the exchange rate with other currencies and basically, Switzerland is not a cheap place to be because of the standard of living.

I hope you have a wonderful trip.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 06:15 AM
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Are you coming from the US? Don't get much foreign currency from your bank. Maybe $50 worth max. Instead get money from bank ATMs in Switzerland and Germany as you need it. That way, you won't be carrying (and having to protect) a lot of cash.

Bank ATMs in Europe do not charge you for withdrawals.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 06:26 AM
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>>I just want to double check before I head to the bank.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 07:20 AM
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If you pay in Euros they'll give you change in CHF and you'll lose money. To give you an example, the public toilets in Zurich accept both €1 and CHF1 coins.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 08:32 AM
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I always buy some currency before my trip.

I am not willing to count only on ATMs after arrival (ever since one recent trip when my hewly chipped BoA debit card would not work!). If I hadn't had some local currency, some USD to trade, and a CC I would have been up a creek.

It's CHF in Switzerland but some places (especially tourist areas) will accept Euro.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 08:46 AM
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If you pay in Euros they'll give you change in CHF and you'll lose money.

As I said, in the border areas, most merchants will give you change in euro if you pay in euro (often goods are priced in both currencies), as they maintain separate cash trays. For public toilets or parking meters in Zurich, you may lose a little by paying in euro, but the difference is less than 10%. Not worth arguing about for small changes. And for higher amounts, just use your card.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 09:43 AM
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Here in Basel, right on the border with Germany and France, many stores and some restaurants will take euros. But you're much, much more likely to get any change back in francs than in euros.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 10:02 AM
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>>I always buy some currency before my trip.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 10:35 AM
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But I get a much better rate or exchange at my home bank by ordering online in advance, than I would get at an exchange bureau at the airport.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 10:55 AM
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Thanks everyone!
I would like to get a little cash before heading there just to be safe! I will not be arriving into an airport in Switzerland, but by train from Germany, so I would like to have some cash on me upon arrival.
That is great to know that we will be able to use ATM machines to get cash once we are in Switzerland. We are coming from Canada. Do these machines withdraw money from our debit cards? And we will be able to use credit cards at a lot of locations (I know some things will require cash only)? That helps to not need to carry a lot of cash throughout the trip!
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 10:56 AM
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Also I should note we are going to be in Wengen for the most part, and a little bit in Zermatt, Interlaken, and Lucerne, so I will not count on them using euros as some of the cities close to the border do!
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 11:04 AM
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Yes ATMs use your home debit card.
Yes you can use credit cards in some places.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 02:30 PM
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Currency in Switzerland
Posted by: deemac15 on Sep 7, 16 at 8:06am
I just want to double check before I head to the bank.


Like others say on the Fodor's Forum, stay away from your bank. American banks are total rip-offs when it comes to foreign currency exchange.

Here is a brief illustrated introduction to changing money in Europe. http://www.enjoy-europe.com/exchange.html

My practice is to have ATM cards from two different banks. I prefer my credit union as one of those. A debit card is sort of risky to carry around, wherever you are. Use a credit card for big expenses. Charges can be challenged and reversed rather easily on a credit card account. That is neigh impossible with a debit card. Your account can be cleaned out before you know it if your debit card is compromised. This kind of theft is much more common in Europe than in the USA, though up here in Michigan a lot of "skimmers" have been found at gas pumps. They get your card number and PIN and bye-bye account balance.

It is true that ATMs are not flawless. You may be denied access to cash for a number of reasons. Sometimes in Italy I would need to go "shopping" for an agreeable cash machine. The second ATM card sometimes fixes that problem.

The ultimate backup is not to bring euros or Franken or pounds from the USA. Bring dollars. These are just for an emergency, like the end of the world which doesn't happen every day. I normally carry ten Bennies, just in case. Then I put them back in the bank when I get home. Ask your bank for fresh crisp $100 bills. Europeans do not like grimy old bank notes.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 03:21 PM
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<American banks are total rip-offs when it comes to foreign currency exchange.>

That is simply not universally true.
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 03:39 PM
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suze on Sep 7, 16 at 7:21pm
<American banks are total rip-offs when it comes to foreign currency exchange.>
That is simply not universally true.


Do you know of any USA bank that will exchange dollars for euros/pounds/Franks at a net rate within 10% of any published rate or rate for an actual ATM withdrawal?
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Old Sep 7th, 2016, 03:48 PM
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Thanks for the advice. In regards to your comments about not carrying my debit card, I would need to have my debit card in order to use the bank machine. I am in Canada so not sure if our names of the cards differ a little from the US, as you also speak of an ATM card.
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