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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 = 0.0049 CHF (1 CHF = 202.7109 ARS)
1 AUD = 0.6411 CHF (1 CHF = 1.5598 AUD)
1 CAD = 0.6905 CHF (1 CHF = 1.4483 CAD)
1 CNY = 0.1367 CHF (1 CHF = 7.3164 CNY)
1 EUR = 1.0026 CHF (1 CHF = 0.9974 EUR)
1 GBP = 1.1163 CHF (1 CHF = 0.8958 GBP)
1 HKD = 0.1180 CHF (1 CHF = 8.4746 HKD)
1 ILS = 0.2696 CHF (1 CHF = 3.7096 ILS)
1 INR = 0.0112 CHF (1 CHF = 89.0785 INR)
1 JPY = 0.0071 CHF (1 CHF = 141.6618 JPY)
1 NZD = 0.5864 CHF (1 CHF = 1.7053 NZD)
1 SGD = 0.6997 CHF (1 CHF = 1.4291 SGD)
1 THB = 0.0278 CHF (1 CHF = 35.9376 THB)
1 TWD = 0.0309 CHF (1 CHF = 32.3751 TWD)
1 USD = 0.9260 CHF (1 CHF = 1.0799 USD)
1 ZAR = 0.0530 CHF (1 CHF = 18.8628 ZAR)

Last updated: February 5, 2023 - 1:15 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 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.

How we deal with Swiss francs ourselves

When we come to Switzerland, we have a small amount of Swiss francs when we cross the border: around CHF 100 per person. We have a 2 debit cards: one of our bank and one of Wise. We use those for most payments, and to withdraw some extra cash if needed.

We use cash only if there's no other way to pay. We never use our credit card, although we do have one as an emergency option.

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.


Learn how to save money on your trip to Switzerland.



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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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