Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Finance/banking/taxation
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03.02.2015, 17:53
SoftBedPlease's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 378
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 206 Times in 128 Posts
SoftBedPlease has earned the respect of manySoftBedPlease has earned the respect of manySoftBedPlease has earned the respect of many
Getting foreign currency (except EUR) in cash in Switzerland, apart from std forex

OK not the best title, but let me explain.

As most of you know, given the recent fortunes in the CHF compared to other currencies, I thought I would put away some amounts in useful foreign currencies - EUR, USD, GBP and AUD. I used CurrencyFair to change up those currencies from CHF. I have my AUD account back in Australia, so transferring that off was easy. I have Postfinance accounts in CHF and EUR, so transferring the EUR to that account was easy and later I can easily withdraw it in cash as I need to (e.g. from a Postomat or the post office counter).

The USD and GBP are, however, a more difficult kettle of fish.

If I open up USD and GBP accounts with Postfinance, the extra accounts shouldn't cost me much more (at worst, CHF 5 per account per month). The problem is that the accounts are only useful for electronic transactions only. I can't go to any post office and ask for a withdrawal in USD or GBP. At least, this is what I got the impression of when I asked someone at the post office (in my limited French, but I got the gist across).

I am also a Credit Suisse customer with a basic banking account. I asked them about opening a Current Account in USD or GBP. They said it is possible and will cost CHF 5 per account per month. The only way to get USD or GBP cash in Switzerland is to withdraw it from the Credit Suisse branch over the counter. This will cost me a fee of 2.5% of the withdrawal amount for the first CHF 1,000 and 1% after that. So basically to withdraw my converted USD 1,200 I would need to pay about USD 25 in fees, converted to CHF. Small amount as it may be, but....

The only other method which springs to mind is find someone who came from the US or UK and transfer the money to them (viz. add the account to my CurrencyFair profile). If I bump into them in my travels, I can take the cash off them when they withdraw it. A cumbersome method and not preferable.

Does anyone have any better ideas or something that I've missed? It's not likely that CurrencyFair will go bankrupt and I'll lose all the money that I have "stored" (i.e. not transferred out to any account), but there's no benefit keeping it there (except security) so I'd prefer just having the cash at hand, or at least almost at hand (e.g. only requires a simple withdrawal at a counter or the like).

For the rest of the background if necessary, I am not connected financially to any US institutions in any way and have a B permit valid until the end of this August.
Reply With Quote
Old 03.02.2015, 18:32
Forum Veteran
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Zürich
Posts: 852
Groaned at 2 Times in 2 Posts
Thanked 461 Times in 284 Posts
ChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Getting foreign currency (except EUR) in cash in Switzerland, apart from std fore

I found myself in exactly the same situation. I opened local accounts in countries of interest. In the UK with Lloyds, in Australia with HSBC. Theyīre free and only "really" cost a line in the yearly Swiss tax-declaration.

Admitted, itīs a hassle to keep them all up and running and managing the codes, pins and credit cards for all the different internet-banking strategies they use. However, I feel itīs worth it, as "native" accounts in the local currency usually pay the highest interest, and also like this I can use the associated (free) debit-cards locally. Thatīs the only way I found to actually "use" the currencyfair-rates for local transactions.

By the way: A currencyfair-manager that I once chatted with over the phone suggested that they want to establish a credit card, with allows using the balances you have with currencyfair in their respective local currency. However, since that was ~2 years ago and nothing happened since, I guess they ran into problems making this a reality. I shall hope itīll still happen one day.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Change foreign currency in Bern m_nora Finance/banking/taxation 1 29.01.2015 19:23
I have EUR (cash); I want CHF (via bank or cash). Travelpleb Business & entrepreneur 8 06.05.2013 19:57
exchange office ( FOREX / Currency ) juice99 Finance/banking/taxation 8 09.08.2012 18:43
CHF to EUR in Forex or UBS? espinchi Finance/banking/taxation 8 27.10.2011 01:37

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 16:47.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0