Travelling to the Swiss Alps in Sept 2019

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rockoyster
rockoyster
7111 posts
expert
Jan 26, 2019 - 9:56 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

Surely even Frau Graf-Engi would be happy to accept a Travelcard for payment as they operate as a debit rather than credit card. No credit card fee involved.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6480 posts
expert
Jan 26, 2019 - 10:09 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster -

She certainly accepts them. I do not understand the details that you describe. All that I know is that a merchant who accepts a credit card from - e.g., VISA, American Express, etc., pays a so-called "swipe-fee" to the card service. That is in addition to any fee that you are charged by your card provider.

I did not recognize that such a fee was not charged for using a debit card.

I also do know that the exact mechanics/processes by which "credit" and "debit" cards operate in Europe and in the USA are different. So, I did not know that. Thanks,

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6480 posts
expert
Jan 26, 2019 - 10:12 AM in reply to swiss11

<<"and it's been three days now I haven't yet been emailed my pass even though the Happy Rail's initial and the only email mentioned that I would be emailed the pass within a day. Have my fingers crossed for it now!">>

Happy Rail worked well for me, and went out of their way to help me.

Perhaps you should send them an e-mail? Did you check your spam folder?

Slowpoke

swiss11
swiss11
58 posts
active member
Jan 26, 2019 - 10:14 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Rockoyster, Slowpoke

As you suggested, I'd get a travel card loaded with Euros, which will enable me not only to get CHF cash from the ATMs but would also be able to make my payments to the hotels without incurring any transaction fee? I hope I got that right?

There's a small snag, I heard from Baren just now and they are fully booked on 11th so have suggested that I book a room with www.baeren-ranflueh.ch/Startseite .html. Would that be a good place to stay?

I remember in one of your posts, you had recommended www.hirschen-langnau.ch/index.php?id=5&L=0. Which one out of the two would be better? Where would it fit into our plan after visiting the dairy?

Monica

travel card loaded with Euros (I couldn't find a bank that provided ability to load card with CHF). Using the travelcard I had no problem getting CHF cash from ATMs when required or paying for hotels with the card. The card eliminated currency exchange fees which our bank

swiss11
swiss11
58 posts
active member
Jan 26, 2019 - 10:16 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke

I'll send Happy Rail an email. I haven't got the pass in my spam folder as well.

Monica

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6480 posts
expert
Jan 26, 2019 - 10:28 AM in reply to swiss11

Hi Monica-

<<"There's a small snag, I heard from Baren just now and they are fully booked on 11th so have suggested that I book a room with www.baeren-ranflueh.ch/Startseite .html. Would that be a good place to stay?">>

Oops.

Some kind of big event, perhaps.

I'll do a bit of thinking about options over the weekend.

Slowpoke

Lucas
Lucas
10496 posts
top member
Jan 26, 2019 - 1:27 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Oh yes, I don't know about machines that convert cash for you on the spot - strange.

I just meant regular ATMs are easy to find when needed. :) Switzerland shops are pretty good accepting cards these days. It isn't nearly as good as Scandinavia I've found, but far, far ahead of "backwards" Germany. ;)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6480 posts
expert
Jan 26, 2019 - 1:35 PM in reply to swiss11

Hi Monica-

I toka quicklook at the Baeren Ranflueh -

I'd happily stay there. Swiss traditional dishes on their menu. Looks like a nicely kept traditional small village inn. The reviews are good.

Bus stop nearby.....runs from Ramsei to Fankhaus, passingthrough Trub. That would be nice.

Have to figure out timings, but if you drop your (presumably just a small) bag there first, you'll definitely be able to get to the show dairy. A couple of ways to go from from Ramsei.

They are closed until Feb 4th, but may be answering e-mails....not on weekends, during that time.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 26, 2019 - 1:37 PM by Slowpoke
swiss11
swiss11
58 posts
active member
Jan 26, 2019 - 9:52 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas

Your swipe against Germany was hilarious but the same idea of "backwardness" could be applicable to me keeping in view my "knowledge" about figures, finances, forex, bitcoin, ethereum.....

But, thank you for your feedback.

swiss11
swiss11
58 posts
active member
Jan 26, 2019 - 10:01 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke

Thank you for your input on Baeren-Ranflueh. I've just emailed to them requesting them for a room on 11th-12th Sept. Hope they have some accommodation available.

Monica

rockoyster
rockoyster
7111 posts
expert
Jan 26, 2019 - 10:11 PM in reply to swiss11

Hi Monica,

As you suggested, I'd get a travel card loaded with Euros, which will enable me not only to get CHF cash from the ATMs but would also be able to make my payments to the hotels without incurring any transaction fee? I hope I got that right?

That’s what I did. No credit card transaction fees (not all businesses impose an admin fee for CC use) or exchange rate fees which on my credit card was 3%!

But it is not all roses. The money you put into the card is subject to exchange rate fluctuations (on the way in and on the way out) with the rates dictated by the banks. Banks love profits so exchange rate are not going to be to your advantage. You can either accept this as a price to pay for convenience and security (not carrying wads of cash) or read this www.choice.com.au/trav el/money/travel-money/articles/travel-money-cards and worry about it some more. I chose the easy way out. 🤓

Last modified on Jan 26, 2019 - 10:12 PM by rockoyster
swiss11
swiss11
58 posts
active member
Jan 26, 2019 - 10:43 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster

Thank you for getting back to me on that post. I'll choose the easy way out too. The document that you attached was useful but I struggled to understand most of it. Though that document didn't consider Westpac to be providing a good service, but, i'll just go with them and load Euros on a travel card from them. I think I'll be able to use the Euros in Athens as well thereafter.

Monica

rockoyster
rockoyster
7111 posts
expert
Jan 26, 2019 - 11:28 PM in reply to swiss11

Hi Monica,

This conversation has caused me to revisit how these travel cards work. I just had a look at the Commonwealth Bank fees. They charge a 5.25% (ouch) conversion fee if your card does not hold funds in CHF (which it can't). The small print says "The rate applicable is the Mastercard or Visa exchange rate at the time of the conversion plus 5.25%"

Would be wise to see what the Westpac arrangement is.

Also I now recall that we had Euros to pay in Germany but we actually drew from AUD to get money from ATM. If you use Euros you will end up paying the conversion from AUD to Euros on the way in and from Euros to CHF on the way out.

You can set up what Westpac calls Wallets with different currency in each. I believe it is best to make your AUD wallet the first (default) one. If you use an ATM or make payment in Greece it will automatically be drawn from your Euro wallet as long as you have sufficient funds there.

See Section 10 of www.westpac.com.au/con tent/dam/public/wbc/do cuments/pdf/pb/Global_ Currency_Card_PDS.pdf

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6480 posts
expert
Jan 27, 2019 - 12:58 AM in reply to rockoyster

<<"This conversation has caused me to revisit how these travel cards work. I just had a look at the Commonwealth Bank fees. They charge a 5.25% (ouch) conversion fee if your card does not hold funds in CHF (which it can't). The small print says "The rate applicable is the Mastercard or Visa exchange rate at the time of the conversion plus 5.25%"">>

Nothing is simple. and the banks want to make money.

Don't you think?

I'd work hard to avoid 5+% fees.

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
7111 posts
expert
Jan 27, 2019 - 2:51 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

Banks do indeed want to make money and none more so than Australian banks.

Avoiding the fee is indeed something to work hard to avoid.

I just went bak to our transaction history to figure out what actually happened.

We got CHF 400 from a Swiss ATM. It cost us AU$ 574 plus a AUD$ 3.50 cash withdrawal fee. I checked the exchange rate on the day to confirm the 5.25% fee. The exchange rate was 1.3778 but the rate applied was 1.3778 +.0525 = 1.4303! A trap for young players. You live and learn. I had travelled overseas very little since Traveller's Cheques ruled supreme. 🤓

Things would be much simpler if it was possible to load CHF onto the Travelcards in the first place. I'm not sure why this is not possible but that's the way it is. 😡

rockoyster
rockoyster
7111 posts
expert
Jan 27, 2019 - 2:53 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Monica,

More on Westpac at www.finder.com.au/west pac-global-currency-card. Looks better than CBA. I wuz robbed! My fault for not paying enough attention. Ignorance is bliss.

Lucas
Lucas
10496 posts
top member
Jan 27, 2019 - 7:52 AM in reply to swiss11

Well I'm no expert either on money and Forex etc. :)

We always try to take enough cash on us before leaving home that we don't need to withdraw anything else (though sometimes we made 1 withdraw) and used debit or credit cards when possible.

It is unfortunate we took Krona with us to Sweden at all - it was hard to spend it! Even small booths at Christmas markets took cards or even Paypal and similar online payments. Each booth had a code that you input on your app and payment is transferred on the spot. Starbucks didn't even accept cash. Similar on a trip to Copenhagen this winter as well.

Germany is the opposite to Sweden and Switzerland is in the middle. :)

In any case - happy travels!

Last modified on Jan 27, 2019 - 4:01 PM by Lucas
rockoyster
rockoyster
7111 posts
expert
Jan 27, 2019 - 8:59 AM in reply to Lucas

Australia is like Sweden. I can't remember the last time I used cash (apart from maybe a couple of coins in a parking meter).

swiss11
swiss11
58 posts
active member
Jan 27, 2019 - 10:09 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster

Thank you for the Westpac link. I'll try getting in touch with the bank to order the global currency card.

This forum is absolutely amazing and I'm so grateful to each one of you for ALL your support and guidance.

Monica

Lucas
Lucas
10496 posts
top member
Jan 27, 2019 - 4:03 PM in reply to rockoyster

LOVE IT! I hate always having to find an ATM to keep cash on me all the time. Anyway I've drawn this thread off topic enough :)

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