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Old 13.02.2015, 18:34
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Better to use US-based cards even if working in Switzerland?

Hi all,

Just moved to Switzerland and figuring out how the banking all works here. As I try to figure out which financial institution I should use, it strikes me that cash back/reward features are low and foreign transaction fees are high.

My US credit card on the other gives: 0% transaction fees + 2% cash back on credit card purchases
My US bank/debit card offes: 0% fees + no Foreign ATM fees + foreign ATM fee refund.

By my current estimations, it would be best to take the money I earn here and get the bank with most basic account with nominal monthly fees + highest interest, transfer it via currencyfair.com at 0.4% to the US. Any tips on what this might be?

Result:
In Switzerland (credit cards): 1.6% cashback (after transfer to USD)
In Switzerland (ATM): Free
Abroad (credit cards): 1.6% cashback (after transfer to USD)
Abroad (ATM): 0.4% fee (after transfer to USD)

Anyone doing this already per chance?
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Old 13.02.2015, 22:00
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Re: Better to use US-based cards even if working in Switzerland?

What is the spread charged by Currencyfair (on top of the commission)?
What is the spread charged by your American credit card for foreign currency purchases?

You are paying the ask on one leg of your scheme (buying USD with CHF) and the bid on the second (vice-versa). If you can get that under the 1.6% cash back, you've found a risk free money making machine (arbitrage)...

Oh and don't forget the FX rates move constantly...

Otherwise, it's an awesome idea
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Old 13.02.2015, 22:08
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Re: Better to use US-based cards even if working in Switzerland?

As an American, you don't have much choice. UBS, Credit Suisse, PostFinance and the cantonal banks of Zurich and Basel are it pretty much. And there's no way you'll get anything other than a basic account, thanks to FATCA.

Welcome to the world of Americans abroad.
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Old 13.02.2015, 22:34
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Re: Better to use US-based cards even if working in Switzerland?

The FX spread on transfers will easily out weigh transaction costs.

Get yourself a Swiss account - UBS or CS - earn in CHF, pay in CHF - and when you want transfer money out.
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