Money from ATM in Switzerland

Jun 17th, 2011, 12:59 PM
  #1  
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Money from ATM in Switzerland

I have read on other posts that it is cheaper to get CHF from the ATM in Switzerland, then to exchange at traditional places like the bank. Can someone please explain how this works and how it is cheaper. We are going to Lake Como and Switzerland in August. Should we also get Euros? Thanks in advance for any help. This site is my go to for all travel plans.
anjun is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 01:02 PM
  #2  
 
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If you use any money lender or service they will charge you 8 to 10% for the service. Use ATMs for cash and your CC for major expenses in both IT and CH.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 01:06 PM
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ATMS are it seems always the best way to change money as you get more of an inter-bank rate and the only fees charged are what your local bank charges (be sure to ask!) - often a flat $5 fee so you want to get the max out each time. Credit Card purchases get the same excellent rate and many cards charge a flat 3% with no transaction fee so I use those for all purchases as in my case a bit better than ATM cash with the charges. Some card companies don't even charge the 3% so their cards would be much better. Many places in Italy and Switzerland take credit cards. Be sure to tell your ATM bank issuers and credit card issuer you are planning to go to Italy and Switzerland so they do not automatically block transactions from those countries as a security measure.

I never get euros until I get to Europe as the exchange rate State-side IME is often much poorer and there are ATMs everywhere - just need a 4-digit PIN number to use them. You would probably be better just exchanging your leftover Swiss francs into euros to have a few when you hit Italy.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 01:49 PM
  #4  
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Thank you so much for the information it was very helpful.
If we have US dollars (cash) and want to exhange for swiss fracs and euros, where could we get the best rate.
anjun is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 02:24 PM
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Do not exchange dollars for another currency except in an emergency. But do keep some dollars tucked away for the very unlikely ATM system crash, or strike by armored truck drivers who reload the ATMs (probably not in Switzerland, maybe in Italy though).
You can expect that foreign currency obtained from an ATM will cost you no more than 3%, but exchanging cash anywhere will be upwards of 6%, possibly as much as 10%.
kayd is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 02:30 PM
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Oops, sent too soon -- the reason banks and exchange bureaus charge more than ATMs is because they must maintain inventory of multiple currencies, and that means overhead expenses like space to keep it and humans to count it. ATMs dispense only one currency and send only electronic information (not bundles of cash via couriers) to your bank, thus much lower costs.
kayd is offline  
Jun 18th, 2011, 05:08 AM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hi k,

>...If we have US dollars (cash) and want to exhange for swiss fracs and euros,...<

Leave your USD at home, except for an emergency fund.

It costs more to exchange $ than to use your ATM card.


Cigarettes and chocolate aren't very useful either.
ira is offline  
Jun 18th, 2011, 06:42 AM
  #8  
 
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I have found that Swiss train stations change currencies at about bank rates and I carry some $20 U S bills with me and when my Swiss francs are running low and I do not want to hit the ATM for a few francs I may need before leaving the country (to avoid the $5 transaction fee) I simply change a few $20s American at train station ticket windows - there are not the usual absurd handling fees and the rate of exchange is about that at a bank - I've compared the rates and they are about like any bank but no fees.
PalenQ is offline  

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