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Old 03.08.2015, 21:57
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Transfering Francs to USD w/o Bank Account

Hi,

I just moved to Switzerland to be an Au Pair and have a slight banking problem since I found out I'll be paid in Francs. I've talked to the family and they said it's very difficult for Americans to open up a bank account but I need a way to transfer the cash I'm being paid to my account in the US to pay bills. What would be my best options? Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 03.08.2015, 22:06
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Re: Transfering Francs to USD w/o Bank Account

Open an "account" with currencyfair and/or transferwise, and ask your host family to transfer your Francs to this company.

From there you can forward your balance to quite a bunch of countries, including the U.S.A.
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Old 03.08.2015, 22:16
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Re: Transfering Francs to USD w/o Bank Account

Currencyfair will not open an account for US citizens, not sure about Transferwise. It is probably best if you try to persuade the host family to open an account with Currencyfair and exchange the chf for you there. Then wire it to the US.
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Old 03.08.2015, 22:17
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Re: Transfering Francs to USD w/o Bank Account

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Currencyfair will not open an account
Oops - didn't know, thanks for the info!
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Old 03.08.2015, 22:46
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Re: Transfering Francs to USD w/o Bank Account

That's money laundering which is a criminal offence.
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Old 03.08.2015, 23:10
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Re: Transfering Francs to USD w/o Bank Account

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That's money laundering which is a criminal offence.
Which of above suggestions?

If and when the family of any au-pair opens an account with currencyfair, and then pais their maid, whom they genuinely have to pay, directly into the maid's account in her homeland, how is that money laundering?

It´s just the same as if they pay her here, except they pay her there?
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Old 03.08.2015, 23:51
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Re: Transfering Francs to USD w/o Bank Account

You'll need Francs here anyway for day-to-day expenditures. Open an account with PostFinance, MigrosBank or UBS. Then use one of the services mentioned in these threads:

If you don't want the hassle or the electronic tracing, get a TravelCash card. It's like a credit card, but you pre-load it with USD. That's what I do. There's no annual fee for the card, and you only pay a small fee upon withdrawal of the cash once Stateside. You also pay a small currency exchange fee when loading on the USD from your CHFs. But overall it's less than 1%, which to me is worth it. Easy-peasy, and if the card gets lost your money is not lost.
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Old 04.08.2015, 08:57
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Re: Transfering Francs to USD w/o Bank Account

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That's money laundering which is a criminal offence.
Utter nonsense. That's so outlandish it's not even worth linking the relevant paragraphs. By definition, money laundering happens with the intent to hide the true (illegal) origin of the money.

OP, crossborder transfers usually cost a low double-digit amount per transfer, you want to avoid that. So the agent you chose should do that for no (a very small, at most) extra charge.

Additionally, you want to get advantageous exchange rates. This means that, the smaller the difference between "buy" and "sell" rate offered by the agent the better for you, as the difference is what the agent earns, which is paid you customers.

Postfinance seems indeed to be good choice, they charge 5CHF for each transfer and offer fair exchange rates. Plus having the account costs much less, especially for "small" customers, than a bank account. This is probably your best option, wether you use an additional agent for the international transfer or not. Have the account in CHF as a USD account brings additional cost without obvious advantages: Transfers cost 1% extra charge, so if for example you will transfer 20'000USD in total while you're here, that 1% extra charge amounts to 200USD additional cost. Also, if doable, you may want to combine multiple months into one transfer to partially avoid the fixed cost of 5CHF - granted that's not much, but still, why pay more than necessary.

Last edited by Urs Max; 04.08.2015 at 09:17.
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Old 04.08.2015, 09:33
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Re: Transfering Francs to USD w/o Bank Account

There is this money transfer service by worldremit. They can transfer money directly to your bank account and the fee is quite cheap. You may use credit card for the transaction .

Perhaps you can ask your employer to transfer part of your salary into your bank account in USA using Worldremit. And part of your salary in cash to you for your daily use.

If they dont want to do that, perhaps you can buy mastercard prepaid card, i.e from Kiosk (more Info (in DE) here). Top it up in Kiosk. Open Worldremit account and transfer the money in your card to your bank account in USA .
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