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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 = 0.0095 CHF (1 CHF = 105.4004 ARS)
1 AUD = 0.6761 CHF (1 CHF = 1.4790 AUD)
1 CAD = 0.7300 CHF (1 CHF = 1.3698 CAD)
1 CNY = 0.1413 CHF (1 CHF = 7.0788 CNY)
1 EUR = 1.0809 CHF (1 CHF = 0.9252 EUR)
1 GBP = 1.2655 CHF (1 CHF = 0.7902 GBP)
1 HKD = 0.1177 CHF (1 CHF = 8.4935 HKD)
1 ILS = 0.2813 CHF (1 CHF = 3.5553 ILS)
1 INR = 0.0123 CHF (1 CHF = 81.1186 INR)
1 JPY = 0.0083 CHF (1 CHF = 120.5319 JPY)
1 NZD = 0.6412 CHF (1 CHF = 1.5595 NZD)
1 SGD = 0.6743 CHF (1 CHF = 1.4831 SGD)
1 THB = 0.0278 CHF (1 CHF = 35.9425 THB)
1 TWD = 0.0326 CHF (1 CHF = 30.6419 TWD)
1 USD = 0.9158 CHF (1 CHF = 1.0919 USD)
1 ZAR = 0.0619 CHF (1 CHF = 16.1498 ZAR)

Last updated: July 26, 2021 - 9:15 PM

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 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. 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.

Cheapest way to pay in Switzerland

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. Unlike money other banks, that's all you pay, because they charge the actual exchange rate and no fees on spending your money. Please find prices here: https://wise.com/us/multi-currency-account/pricing.

This is how it works for 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 conveniently pay from your Swiss francs balance (free). You can also get cash from ATM's (free or low fee).

  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


  • 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

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.

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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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