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Old 16.10.2015, 09:57
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Help! What is the best way to convert a fair amount of USD to CHF

Hello All,

I am looking for advice, as I am not a financial expert. I have a bit of USD in the US I want to bring into CH to buy a house here. But I am totally confused as to the best way to transfer in one shot a sum of money without losing my shirt. From on-line research I understand that simply asking the US bank to "wire" the money to CHF is asking to be robbed blind with a horrible exchange rate. My Swiss bank has offered to open a USD account for me here, so that I can simply receive the USD as USD...but then ultimately even then I need to convert it to CHF somehow. I read about online services like transferwise, but they scare me because your money is not protected during the transaction and how can you trust them?

Does anybody have experience doing this?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 16.10.2015, 10:02
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Re: Help! What is the best way to convert a fair amount of USD to CHF

I have used transfer wise a number of times....not for anywhere near the sums of money you are talking about. But they have always been pretty fast with the transactions.
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Old 16.10.2015, 10:23
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Re: Help! What is the best way to convert a fair amount of USD to CHF

How much money are you looking to exchange roughly?

I think because of the sum you're thinking of exchanging (I'm assuming above $100k) you will need to go with a broker with direct access to the FX market.

My recommendations are IB or Swissquote (You have to call their trade desk for big sums to get a good quote).

The choice of broker will only guarantee a lower spread / cost. However you still have to answer the question of which rate is good enough? The dollar has weakened a little over the last two weeks or so from a high in the region of 0.98 to around 0.95 against the CHF, so your timing will be crucial to getting a good rate. You might also consider staggering the exchanges over a few clicks to get an average until the time when you have to pay the deposit / buy the house.

PM me if you need more info.
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Old 16.10.2015, 14:15
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Re: Help! What is the best way to convert a fair amount of USD to CHF

Transferwise, Currency Fair, XE.com all do this - the rates and fees vary so shop around.
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Old 16.10.2015, 14:17
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Re: Help! What is the best way to convert a fair amount of USD to CHF

You might in any case want to get tax advice on buying a property as some things in Switzerland don't work quite the same way as anywhere else in the world.

I've used currencyfair for transfers and you could transfer it over in batches. Also my bank (UBS) gives better rates if I call them up or go visit them. Typically then it's only 1% loading instead of 2 but you're still at the mercy of the current exchange rate.
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