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Old 15.07.2010, 20:27
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What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

Hi all,

I’ve been working in the UK for the last few months so I need to move some money from my UK bank account to my Swiss account to fund my living costs here while I try to find work. I’ve spoken to my bank in the UK and they will charge a one-off fee of £25 to make the electronic transfer, but they warned me that the Swiss bank could also make a similar charge to complete the transaction.

Seems like an expensive way to move a few quid between banks! Does anybody know of a cheaper way? I’ve heard of companies like Moneybookers.com offering this kind of service, anybody used them before?
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Old 15.07.2010, 20:42
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

Have you looked into Paypal?

Additionally, you could withdraw the funds from your debit card and deposit the cash in person at your Swiss bank.

Last edited by vwild1; 15.07.2010 at 20:53. Reason: merged 2 successive posts into 1
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Old 15.07.2010, 20:50
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

I have a Paypal account but I've never used for this type of transaction, I'll have a read on the website now and see what the charges are. Thanks.

On the ATM route, I can only draw out 200 CHF a day which is a pain as I want to pay my rent up front for the next few months, so not a viable option unfortunately!
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Old 15.07.2010, 21:00
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

What about in person at the bank and then carry it to Switzerland in person? Surely there's no (unreasonable) limit to the cash you can withdraw at a branch?

Of course personally I'd be certain to leave the envelope behind on a table at Heathrow...
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Old 15.07.2010, 21:01
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

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Have you looked into Paypal?

Additionally, you could withdraw the funds from your debit card and deposit the cash in person at your Swiss bank.
Paypal take 4 days and charges 3.4%, then you have to transfer it to your bank account. Try asking the post office, they have very favourable rates in Europe.

The bank begins to look attractive.
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Old 15.07.2010, 21:05
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

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Paypal take 4 days and charges 3.4%, then you have to transfer it to your bank account. Try asking the post office, they have very favourable rates in Europe.

The bank begins to look attractive.
You can register both banks with your PayPal account and move money from one to the other for free.
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Old 15.07.2010, 21:06
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

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You can register both banks with your PayPal account and move money from one to the other for free.
Well there is the exchange rate you have to watch but I have found it works.
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Old 15.07.2010, 21:08
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

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Well there is the exchange rate you have to watch but I have found it works.
That sounds like the way forward! I'll make sure the exchange rate isn't too scary and give it a go.
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Old 15.07.2010, 21:08
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

Sorry for not being too specific, but I thought SEPA transactions are fee-free (or almost)?
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Old 15.07.2010, 21:09
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

i use xe.com

they dont charge fees, they're basically market making a currency trade, so they shave a little off of every transfer you make.

from what i recall they take about 1-1.5%
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Old 15.07.2010, 21:21
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

I spoke to Paypal, they suggested I create a Swiss Paypal account with a different email address and register my Swiss bank details I can then transfer from one to the other without a charge. I guess they make their money in the same way as xe.com with the exchange rate. Thanks for all your help and suggestions, much appreciated.
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Old 15.07.2010, 23:24
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

just in case this paypal dsnt work out...open a Bank acc in nationalwide in the uk and thy offer withdrawing money without charging fees and you can tell them you want you limmit to be higher then 200 pounds ie up to 5000 pounds
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Old 15.07.2010, 23:50
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

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just in case this paypal dsnt work out...open a Bank acc in nationalwide in the uk and thy offer withdrawing money without charging fees and you can tell them you want you limmit to be higher then 200 pounds ie up to 5000 pounds
I have a UK Nationwide account. They don't charge for withdrawing money via debit cards overseas but they do charge for transfers. I use the internet banking option and the "SWIFT" fee is £20 (no matter what the amount you transfer). The swiss banks do sometimes add an admin fee later but this is usually only a few pounds. If you submit the form during before 1pm then the transfer usually comes through the next day - but sometimes takes two days.

Can you pay your rent via credit card, then you don't need to transfer the money out of the UK.
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Old 16.07.2010, 00:12
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

I've used Oz Forex several times. I'm Australian and they are an Australian company, but they operate internationally and have bank accounts in the UK and Switzerland -- meaning that provided you can transfer funds free of charge from your UK bank account to theirs, e.g. by internet banking, then there are no fees payable for transferring money from the UK to CH. The exchange rate is better than that offered by your bank, too.

Here's how it works: you set up an account with Oz Forex. This may take several days as trading legislation requires them to check you out to some extent, but once you're set up each trade is very quick. Once you're set, you check their web page for the current rate and do the trade online. You can play around, trying to catch the best possible rate if you wish, as it can change every minute or so. Once you've committed to the trade, they call you (wherever you are) to verify the details. You then transfer funds (say, in GBP) to their bank account in the UK and they (very promptly) transfer the agreed sum in CHF to your nominated bank account in Switzerland. You may be advised that your Swiss bank may charge you. but I never have been (UBS).

As I said, no fees (provided the amount is high enough -- and the hurdle is not all that high) and the exchgange rate is better than the usual retail rate.

The only catch is that you have to take that initial step of trusting an online currency exchange website. I did -- and they are genuine. If you trust me, that is.
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Old 16.07.2010, 00:58
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

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I've used Oz Forex several times. I'm Australian and they are an Australian company, but they operate internationally and have bank accounts in the UK and Switzerland -- meaning that provided you can transfer funds free of charge from your UK bank account to theirs, e.g. by internet banking, then there are no fees payable for transferring money from the UK to CH. The exchange rate is better than that offered by your bank, too.

Here's how it works: you set up an account with Oz Forex. This may take several days as trading legislation requires them to check you out to some extent, but once you're set up each trade is very quick. Once you're set, you check their web page for the current rate and do the trade online. You can play around, trying to catch the best possible rate if you wish, as it can change every minute or so. Once you've committed to the trade, they call you (wherever you are) to verify the details. You then transfer funds (say, in GBP) to their bank account in the UK and they (very promptly) transfer the agreed sum in CHF to your nominated bank account in Switzerland. You may be advised that your Swiss bank may charge you. but I never have been (UBS).

As I said, no fees (provided the amount is high enough -- and the hurdle is not all that high) and the exchgange rate is better than the usual retail rate.

The only catch is that you have to take that initial step of trusting an online currency exchange website. I did -- and they are genuine. If you trust me, that is.
Just pay an English cheque into your Swiss account - costs about 10 chf
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Old 16.07.2010, 01:18
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

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Just pay an English cheque into your Swiss account - costs about 10 chf
... and you'll be slapped with the least advantageous exchange rate possible. The difference is often at least 1% -- so to exchange say £10,000 (around CHF 16,000), you may receive at least CHF 170 less if you let your Swiss bank do the conversion.

The fee they charge is the very least of your worries when converting currencies!
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Old 16.07.2010, 06:16
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

Others have stated the cheapest way to move relatively small amounts from the UK to Switzerland. A Nationwide Flexaccount VISA card has no fee, but you will pay VISA's exchange rate spread (but, within Europe, not the 1% loading that VISA normally charges, and Nationwide adds nothing).

Note that all foreign exchange transactions are first converted into dollars by VISA and then into the other currency, if any. And they are subject to snooping by the US authorities, if that means anything to you.

For amounts transferred of more than £10,000 or so, you exceed (for example) HSBC's online transfer limit. And this is just as well: when you ring them they will get you an instantaneous quote on the forex market, and you can accept or reject it. Xe, Oanda, and the Money Store among others handle market-rate conversions too and may have different minimums. Nationwide will only let you send a SWIFT transaction (also subject to USG snooping) online if you have their Card Reader. Otherwise you have to do it in writing and hand in the request at a branch, or post it in.

An alternative is to wire the funds in Sterling and either maintain a Sterling account with a Swiss bank (it will not pay interest on demand deposits) and/or negotiate the exchange in Switzerland. You may or may not get a better rate. Not long ago I was in my Swiss bank, converting funds for a property deal, and as we spoke Sterling started to fall (within a couple of days it had fallen 5%). To their credit, the bank's forex desk honoured the first (higher) rate quoted ten minutes into the fall.

UK banks' forex wiring charges vary between £9 and £25. HSBC's is £17 for transfers of, say, a few thousand pounds. Your Swiss bank will probably charge CHF 10 or less to receive the funds; mine charges CHF 7.

The worst way to transfer funds is in cash. The second worst is with a credit card. The third worst is a debit card other than Nationwide's (or perhaps one or two others that I don't know about); their loading is often 3%. (USAA Savings Bank and many US credit unions also forgo loading charges, but VISA and MC add 1% regardless. There may also be ATM charges, depending on the US bank.)

As for PayPal: I would check their exchange rate spread before using them. They are good for small amounts but I suspect they may be costly for larger sums. Google "paypal sucks". (I note that they re-incorporated in Luxembourg a few years ago, and Luxembourg is known for its lax regulation.)

If you are taxable in the UK, note that you may be charged with a capital gain every time you spend CHF and the exchange rate is higher than that at which you transferred the funds.

Last edited by andy02; 16.07.2010 at 06:27.
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Old 16.07.2010, 11:52
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

I use this company

http://www.currencysolutions.co.uk/

as long as you have a bank account in england and here you can transfer whatever you want. They do a better rate than the banks would give you. I have done it several times for the move from Oz to here. And saved a bit instead of doing it from aussie bank directly to swiss bcv.
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Old 16.07.2010, 12:22
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

As others have stated, the fee is not generally the problem unless you are moving small amounts regularly - the issue is really what exchange rate they will give you. Most high street banks give a terrible rate (the spread between what they buy and sell at is large).

If this is something you may need to do a few times, it is well worth setting up a proper currency transfer account. I have used the oanda.com service successfully several times for fairly large amounts of money, and compared to using either my UK or Swiss banks I saved a significant amount. The costs per transfer are a standard 25$ for GBP:CHF trades, but the spread is very low, and the rate is current (updates every minute) so you know exactly what rate you are getting when making the transfer. On this page you can see what rate you would get.

I believe xe.com's service is similar, but I found it a little harder to set up the account with them so have never actually used them.
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Old 16.07.2010, 13:52
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Re: What is the cheapest way to transfer money from UK to Swiss bank account?

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If this is something you may need to do a few times, it is well worth setting up a proper currency transfer account. I have used the oanda.com service successfully several times for fairly large amounts of money, and compared to using either my UK or Swiss banks I saved a significant amount. The costs per transfer are a standard 25$ for GBP:CHF trades, but the spread is very low, and the rate is current (updates every minute) so you know exactly what rate you are getting when making the transfer. On this page you can see what rate you would get.
GenevaSculler, what is the usual spread you get, roughly, in %? I just calculated the spread on 10k in pounds and it is 0,07% which seems way to small for them to make money, even if you include the USD fee! So if you remember roughly what you got, could you post? (Or is this really as good as it sounds? I am asking because I used to 0.75%! with my present exchange company...)

Herc82: I presume SEPA would not work, as the pound is not part of the Euro deal...

Meanwhile, I did find this on Oanda.com, but still have a hard time believing you can actually get a spread this low on a single transaction of a few k!

Quote:
How much difference can the exchange rate make?

The spread is the difference between the price at which you can sell your primary currency and what you have to pay to buy the delivery currency.
A spread of 2.5% (the common charge at the typical bank) might not seem like a lot, but it can really add up, especially when you're sending large amounts of money. Typical FXGlobalTransfer spreads are 0.03% or less, a small fraction of what most banks charge.
Number of units Foreign Exchange Cost (Banks 2.5%) Foreign Exchange Cost (OANDA 0.03% *)

* FXGlobalTransfer spreads vary by currency pair and by market activity. The Euro/US dollar spread, for example, can be as low as 0.009%. In times of low market liquidity (such as on the weekend when markets and banks are closed) spreads may be 0.1% or higher.

Last edited by muze7; 16.07.2010 at 14:04.
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