Swiss franc or Euro, what to use?
The Swiss franc (CHF) 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 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.
Swiss francs can be obtained from ATM's. They are available in all towns, and 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.
Swiss franc notes and coins
- 10 francs
- 20 francs
- 50 francs
- 100 francs
- 200 francs
- 1000 francs
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
Current Swiss franc exchange rates
Currency data courtesy coinmill.com
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.