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Currency of Switzerland must knows - the Swiss franc


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Must knows about the Swiss franc

  • The Swiss franc is the only official currency in Switzerland.
  • The euro is accepted in many places but certainly not everywhere.
  • The Swiss franc is a strong currency, so the exchange rate is often perceived as expensive.
Swiss francs

The Swiss franc is the only official currency in Switzerland.

Exchange rate of the Swiss franc to the euro, pound and USD

1 ARS = 0.0070 CHF (1 CHF = 142.1230 ARS)
1 AUD = 0.6600 CHF (1 CHF = 1.5150 AUD)
1 CAD = 0.7377 CHF (1 CHF = 1.3556 CAD)
1 CNY = 0.1404 CHF (1 CHF = 7.1243 CNY)
1 EUR = 0.9690 CHF (1 CHF = 1.0320 EUR)
1 GBP = 1.1469 CHF (1 CHF = 0.8719 GBP)
1 HKD = 0.1216 CHF (1 CHF = 8.2256 HKD)
1 ILS = 0.2935 CHF (1 CHF = 3.4070 ILS)
1 INR = 0.0120 CHF (1 CHF = 83.5445 INR)
1 JPY = 0.0070 CHF (1 CHF = 141.8826 JPY)
1 NZD = 0.5966 CHF (1 CHF = 1.6762 NZD)
1 SGD = 0.6892 CHF (1 CHF = 1.4510 SGD)
1 THB = 0.0267 CHF (1 CHF = 37.4398 THB)
1 TWD = 0.0318 CHF (1 CHF = 31.4701 TWD)
1 USD = 0.9536 CHF (1 CHF = 1.0487 USD)
1 ZAR = 0.0570 CHF (1 CHF = 17.5541 ZAR)

Last updated: August 18, 2022 - 8:15 AM

Swiss franc or euro, what to use?

The Swiss franc is the only official currency in Switzerland (and in Liechtenstein). The franc is the only currency accepted everywhere. The euro is the currency in the neighboring countries Germany, France, Italy and Austria, and in many other European countries.

Nevertheless, you can pay with euros in many shops, hotels, rail stations and gas stations in Switzerland. This is convenient if you're only in transit or only stay for one night. Many smaller shops, market stalls, kiosks, etc. only allow payment in Swiss francs.

Note that the euro is a foreign currency in Switzerland, so accepting it results in extra costs and risks for shop owners. Therefore, if you pay with euros, change will be in Swiss francs and the exchange rate is mostly not in your favor.

For longer stays, it is cheaper and more convenient to have Swiss francs at hand.

How to pay in Switzerland: credit and debit cards

Credit cards and debit cards are widely accepted, so there is no need to have large amounts of cash at hand. You can pay larger amounts by cards and take along some cash for smaller payments and places that do not accept cards.

How to pay in Switzerland: cash

Swiss francs can be obtained from ATM's. They are available in all towns. You usually find them at the post office, rail station and shopping center. In general this is the cheapest way to obtain cash. Your bank can provide exact fees. To save time upon arrival, it can be handy to purchase some Swiss francs before you depart.

Your bank may charge fees for both cash withdrawal through ATM's and credit/debit card payments.

How to pay in Switzerland: mobile payment

Payment by mobile wallets is getting more common in Switzerland. Examples are Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. The appropriate mPOS ("mobile points of sale") terminals are certainly not available everywhere yet. So make sure you have other payment options too.

If contactless payment is possible, you can use your mobile device. In most cases this is connected to a credit card or prepaid card. Some mobile wallets require authentication when you pay. This can be a PIN code or finger print scan, for example.

Cheapest way to pay in Switzerland: Wise

We recommend the Wise debit card because it's cheap and easy to understand.

Wise (formerly TransferWise) offers an online bank account which can hold many currencies. A low fee is charged when converting money from one currency to the other. They charge the actual exchange rate, while most banks charge a lower rate in order to keep the difference themselves (a hidden fee). Wise has no fees on spending money from any of the currencies in your account.

So your can convert your home currency to Swiss francs for a low fee. Then you can spend those francs without any further costs.

In all, it's much cheaper than most other banks and credit cards. Please find prices here: https://wise.com/us/multi-currency-account/pricing.

Using Wise in Switzerland

  1. Open a Wise account (free): https://wise.com/us/multi-currency-account/.

  2. Order a debit card (small one time payment): https://wise.com/us/borderless/card.

  3. Deposit money into your account, in your home currency (free).

  4. Convert any amount to Swiss francs (low fee). To save even more, you can do this when the exchange rate to your home currency is in your favor. See exchange rates here: https://wise.com/us/currency-converter/currencies/chf-swiss-franc.

  5. Once you're in Switzerland, use your card to pay from your Swiss francs balance (free). The card works wherever Mastercard is accepted. It will not work if a shop only accepts V Pay or Maestro cards. You can get cash from ATM's (free or low fee). The card can be used online too, wherever the merchant asks for a debit card or credit card.

  6. Once you return home, convert your remaining Swiss francs balance back to your home currency (low fee). Again, you can wait doing so until the exchange rate is best for you. Of course you can also skip this step and hold on to your Swiss francs until your next trip.

Swiss franc symbol

The symbol for the Swiss franc is "CHF". The official currency code (ISO currency standard) is "CHF" as well. Alternatively, the abbreviation "Fr." is widely used as the symbol as well.

In practice, prices are often noted without a symbol at all. For example: "12.95", with a dot as a decimal marker, not with a comma like in many other European countries. If the price is rounded to the nearest franc, it can be written as "13.00", "13.-" or even "13".

Swiss franc notes and coins

Notes

  • 10 francs
  • 20 francs
  • 50 francs
  • 100 francs
  • 200 francs
  • 1000 francs

Coins

One hundredth of a Swiss franc is called a rappen (German), centime (French) or centesimo (Italian).

  • 0.05 francs, 5 rappen
  • 0.10 francs, 10 rappen
  • 0.20 francs, 20 rappen
  • 0.50 francs, 50 rappen
  • 1 franc
  • 2 francs
  • 5 francs

Is Switzerland expensive?

The Swiss franc is a strong currency, so Switzerland is not cheap for visitors from many other countries. There are many ways to save money on your holidays to Switzerland though.

SAVE MONEY

Learn how to save money on your trip to Switzerland.

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Planning your trip is much easier with a free MySwissAlps account. Learn all about Switzerland and get in touch with us quickly if you have questions.

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Insider tips about the Swiss franc

  • You can do without francs if you're just in transit. In other cases you best have Swiss francs at hand.
  • Many hotels and shops accept euros, but change will be in Swiss francs and the exchange rate is not in your favor.
  • Smaller shops mostly only allow payment in Swiss francs.
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