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Swiss bancomat and cash machine trouble


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Axelant1
Axelant1
43 posts
active member
Aug 30, 2022 - 4:21 PM

We're currently in Sion (where it is very hot!) and are not able to get any Swiss Francs using our US debit or credit cards. We called those companies to notify them that we were traveling. We're using a pin number, but we can't get any cash. We don't need much and luckily, had some Euros to exchange at the SBB office. Some banks only allow their cards in a bank machine. Other banks that allow other cards are quite puzzled why our cards won't work. We have no problem paying for anything with our cards (tap or insert). Can anyone explain this predicament and advise what we should do? Merci!

Anna
Anna
4122 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 30, 2022 - 6:17 PM in reply to Axelant1

Hi Axelant1,

I'm sorry for all your troubles. I have no idea why you are unable to withdraw cash from the cash machines. From my own experience usually the issue lies with the card provider. So you might want to check with them for clarification.

You can find practical information about making payments in Switzerland here: www.myswissalps.com/swissfranc

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Aug 30, 2022 - 6:20 PM by Anna
Axelant1
Axelant1
43 posts
active member
Aug 30, 2022 - 9:06 PM in reply to Anna

We called our bank card providers today. They have received no contact from any machines here. They were all told pre travel where we were going. We had no problem using them in July in the UK. Weird.

1960man
1960man
4653 posts
expert
Aug 30, 2022 - 10:21 PM in reply to Axelant1

Very odd indeed!

Not something I've ever had a problem with

Arno
Arno
15779 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 31, 2022 - 4:57 AM

Hi Axelant1,

It sounds like the option of getting cash from ATMs is disabled for your card, by mistake. That would explain why you have no issue paying with it.

What happens exactly? Is the card rejected straight away upon insertion? Does the machine let you enter a PIN code, and does it accept it? Is there an error message?

Last modified on Aug 31, 2022 - 4:59 AM by Arno
Axelant1
Axelant1
43 posts
active member
Aug 31, 2022 - 5:07 AM

Hi Arno... We enter our pin, select an amount, and then we get the error message that the transaction cannot be completed. We even got help from a staff person and they were puzzled. The card companies tell us that it is not on their end. We don't need much cash and exchanged 100 Euros. Hopefully, that will get us through.

Arno
Arno
15779 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 31, 2022 - 5:25 AM

Thanks for the details. That sounds like your card does have the withdrawal option enabled. It's strange. I can't help either I'm afraid.

You could try an ATM at a post office if you haven't yet. They're yellow and labeled "PostFinance".

Last modified on Aug 31, 2022 - 5:28 AM by Arno
CMarie
CMarie
17 posts
new member
Aug 31, 2022 - 6:08 AM in reply to Axelant1

Is it possible that you're tryingvto withdraw too much? For example, if your daily limit is $1000 and you take that amount, you will be over your limit due to exchange fees/etc.

OR- yesterday; one of the ATMs were malfunctioning for us and no one could withdraw funds.

Axelant1
Axelant1
43 posts
active member
Aug 31, 2022 - 6:25 AM in reply to Arno

Good idea, Arno. We will try the poste. Merci!


Axelant1
Axelant1
43 posts
active member
Aug 31, 2022 - 6:26 AM in reply to CMarie

We were only trying for 200 CHF.

Arno
Arno
15779 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 31, 2022 - 7:12 AM

One more option is to get cash from the cashier in a supermarket like Migros or Coop. I'd say that's almost guaranteed to work as you are able to pay with the card. The options vary per card and per store though, but it's worth a try. It probably won't work for large amounts, but CHF 200 should be ok I guess.

My Doodles
My Doodles
21 posts
new member
Aug 31, 2022 - 1:36 PM in reply to Axelant1

Hi. My husband and I are leaving the 12th and we decided to get Swiss francs in cash in advance just in case we have an issue upon arrival. We plan to use our cards for most of the trip but I will be sure and reconfirm with bank that we want the cash advance option to be available. You enjoying the trip so far? We can’t wait!

charli

Axelant1
Axelant1
43 posts
active member
Aug 31, 2022 - 3:56 PM in reply to My Doodles

Funny thing. Our card worked just fine at the bank machines in Zermatt. Go figure. Yes, Charli, it's only our second day but we're having a wonderful time! Today we went to Zermatt and up the Gornergrat. When we got to the top, the Matterhorn was clouded over. Later, the clouds cleared. Beautiful day!

Ildiko
Ildiko
2604 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 31, 2022 - 6:10 PM in reply to Axelant1

Hi Axelant1,

I am glad, your problem is solved then and also that you are enjoying your stay at Zermatt. Gornergrat is one of my favourite mountain tops. After your holiday we would be very happy to read about your experiences in the trip report part of the forum.

I wish you a lovely stay,

Ildiko

JeremySimons
JeremySimons
20 posts
new member
Sep 1, 2022 - 11:44 AM in reply to Ildiko

Axelant1,

I'm glad the puzzling problem was solved. My daughter had a similar issue in London over 20 years ago - and the cash machine kept her card and wouldn't give it back. It caused no end of trouble, but it was finally resolved after a few days. I've never had trouble myself.

In July I went with my family of seven on a two-week tour around Switzerland and a few other countries. We took 200 CHF and 200 Euros between the lot of us and expected to use cash machines. But over two weeks we never had the need to use a cash machine even once, and in fact had a hard time spending the cash we had. We used it mainly for tips. Other forms of payments were just too convenient no matter where we went. But it is anxiety-producing if for some reason one of them doesn't work.

I hope the weather there is nice in September.

Jeremy

Arno
Arno
15779 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 2, 2022 - 10:37 AM

Thanks to all for your valuable input :-). Much appreciated!

Axelant1
Axelant1
43 posts
active member
Sep 2, 2022 - 12:58 PM in reply to Arno

Just a further note. We used a UBS machine in Zermatt (it was a day trip) and finally found a UBS bank machine in Sion. Both happily have us cash. We went through 100 CHF at the wonderful Friday market in Sion where all vendors only took francs. We like and search out the noncommercial events; one does need cash for them. You can't compare buying a little pizza and buying a half bottle of wine at the market tent of a local Valais producer to a restaurant table...EVER! Bur it is perfect to sit at a restaurant if you can find a seat! We can say hello, how much, thank you and goodbye in French, and that is it. That's all it takes.

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Arno
Arno
15779 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 3, 2022 - 7:19 AM

Thanks Axelant1! And what a great picture: it clearly shows your joy :-).

Last modified on Sep 4, 2022 - 1:19 PM by Arno

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