Switzerland

Travel Money Guide: Switzerland

Compare your travel money options for your upcoming Switzerland adventure.

With mountain peaks to scale, incredible vistas best seen from up in the sky and some of the world's best skiing, getting the most out of a Switzerland trip doesn't come free - but we're here to help you figure out the best ways to pay for your activities, accommodation and meals while in Switzerland so you can save money on ATM fees and any transaction fees associated with some cards.

Compare travel money options for Switzerland

There are plenty of travel-friendly options for your upcoming trip to Switzerland. Consider credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, debit cards that give you rebates on international transaction and ATM fees and pre-paid travel money cards that don't connect directly to your everyday bank account for added security. You can even pre-order cash online before departure that you can pick-up before you leave.

Rates last updated December 19th, 2018
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Cash Advance Fee Annual fee Product Description
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
Skye Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Get 90 days interest-free, $0 foreign transaction fees and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
3% of the cash advance or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
No foreign transaction fees on international purchases including international purchases online, together with a no annual fee.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Pay 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 6 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 26 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
0% of transaction value
$5
$0
$225 p.a.
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points, 2 yearly Virgin Australia lounge passes, plus enjoy $0 overseas purchase transaction fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated December 19th, 2018
$
Name Product Product Description Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Eftpos Fee
ING Orange Everyday Account
Receive a rebate on any international transaction fees and international ATM fees when you deposit at least $1,000 a month and make at least 5 card purchases.
Visa
$0
$2.50
2.5%
NAB Classic Banking with Platinum Visa Debit Card
$10 cashback on contactless purchases, $0 foreign transaction fee and complimentary travel insurance.
$10 monthly account fee.
Receive $10 cashback when you spend $1000 on contactless purchases. Complimentary travel insurance, transport accident insurance, purchase protection insurance and more when you meet eligibility criteria.
Visa
$0
$5
0%
HSBC Everyday Global Account
No foreign ATM or transaction fees.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.
Visa
$0
$0
$0
Citi Global Currency Account
Hold up to 10 currencies.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free. Earn up to 2.25% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
Mastercard
$0
$0
$0

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Rates last updated December 19th, 2018
Name Product Description Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
Hold up to 10 currencies and lock in your exchange rate. No load, reload or transaction fees on purchases and part of a worldwide ATM alliance.
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD
AUD 3.50, USD 2.50, GBP 2.00, EUR 2.20, NZD 4.50, CAD 3.00, HKD 20.00, SGD 4.00, THB 95, JPY 260

0%
$0
Up to 11 currencies on 1 card locked in exchange rates and no load fees.
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD, AED
USD 2.50, EUR 2.50, GBP 2.00, NZD 3.50, THB 80.00, CAD 3.50, HKD 18.00, JPY 260.00, SGD 3.50, AUD 3.50, AED 10.00
$0
$0
Get the chance to win a share of 1 million Qantas Points for every $100 in foreign currency you load onto your Qantas Travel Money card plus earn up to 5000 bonus points.
AUD, AED, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD
AUD 1.95, CAD 2.00, EUR 1.50, GBP 1.25, HKD 15.00, JPY 160, NZD 2.50, SGD 2.50, USD 1.95, THB 70.00, AED 6.50

1%
$0

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated December 19th, 2018
Name Product Description Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fees
Order over 60 currencies online at the best price against the Australian dollar and collect at one of over 130 locations across Australia.
$500
$10,000
In Store or At Airport
$0
Travelex makes it easy to exchange and get the best rate on over 40 currencies so you can be prepared for your next holiday.
$500
$5,000
In Store or At Airport
$0
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door anywhere in Australia.
$0
$9,999
In Store or Home Delivery
$0

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Which one do I choose: Travel card, debit card or credit card?

Whichever option you choose, keep in mind that Visa- and Mastercard-branded cards are accepted in more places than American Express and Diners cards throughout Switzerland. You will be able to see which cards are accepted in different places by looking for the card scheme logo at the point of sale terminal and ATM machines.

Switzerland's economy is based around banking — it’s their primary industry — so you won’t need to carry a large amount of cash as you can use your card in more places than not, but make sure your card has a chip. This will let you make contactless payments for over the counter purchases and the majority of point of sale terminals use the CHIP rather than the magnetic strip to process the payment.

Travel money options for Switzerland at a glance

Travel money option Pros Considerations
Debit cards for travel
  • Secured with a chip and a PIN technology
  • Can be easily blocked by your issuer with just a phone call
  • ATMs are ‘everywhere’ in Switzerland
  • Don’t come with a back-up card
  • Linked directly to bank account. This could have security implications if your card goes missing.
  • Fees to consider such as ATM fees
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Allow you to hold multiple foreign currencies at a time
  • Save on currency conversion fees
  • Can be easily blocked by your issuer with just a phone call
  • Come with a back up card and are protected by PIN
  • Money back guarantee for victims of fraudulent transactions
  • Swiss franc cannot be loaded and spent
  • Need to pay a fee to convert your own money into Swiss francs
  • Often charge ATM fees
  • Subjected to currency conversion fees if travel card is used in Switzerland
Credit cards for travel
  • No currency conversion fees
  • Features such as insurance or reward points earning
  • ATM cash withdrawals may attract cash advances and higher fees
  • Rewards program may cost more than they are worth
Cash
  • Greater payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

Why we recommend a combination of travel money options

There is no one best travel money product, so you’re better off using a combination of the products or strategies detailed on this page. A line of credit gives you peace of mind to cover any unforeseen circumstances; while using a debit card for cash withdrawals and over the counter purchases in Switzerland. A travel card may be suited if you’re spending time in countries which use the euro; however, you’ll incur fees, which can be avoided if using a different travel money product.

Whether you're heading to Switzerland to hit the slopes or simply to enjoy the culture, there's a bit you need to get in order before you depart. Take the right combination of cards so you can withdraw and spend conveniently and cheaply. If you have questions about travel money for Switzerland, ask us a question using the 'Ask a Question' form below.

Using travel cards, debit cards, credit cards and other options in Switzerland

Travelling with an Australian credit cards

A travel friendly credit card gives you access to a line of credit, and you won’t pay for currency conversion when you transact in francs. There are two providers to compare if you’re in the market for a credit card to use in Switzerland: The 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard and the Bankwest Platinum credit cards. Both these cards waive the fee for currency conversion. However, making a withdrawal on credit isn’t advised as cash advance charges apply. Travel extras such as insurance or an increased earn rate on rewards cards for overseas purchases are other points to consider when you’re comparing credit cards to use overseas

  • Tip: Some providers waive cash advance charges when you keep a positive balance and make ATM withdrawals. Find out which providers let you do this and which won’t.

Using debit cards

A travel debit card lets you spend and withdraw in Switzerland like you would at home. Find a debit card that waives the international ATM withdrawal fee and you can make free ATM withdrawals when you use an ATM offered by a Swiss bank (banks in Switzerland and Europe do not charge a local ATM operator fee). If you're an ING Orange Everyday account holder, you can also avoid ATM fees and international transaction fees as long as you're depositing a minimum of $1,000 per month into your account and making at least five transactions monthly.

Westpac cardholders can avoid the international ATM fee by using Global Alliance ATMs in Switzerland. There are less than a handful of BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank branches in Switzerland, using the Citibank Plus in Switzerland is the only viable way to avoid paying international ATM fees.

  • Tip: Make sure your debit card has a chip to avoid situations where you card won’t be accepted.

Using prepaid travel cards

There are no prepaid travel cards which allow you to hold Swiss francs. Usually, the advantage of these cards is you can hold multiple foreign currencies at a time and save on currency conversion fees. One of the these products may make sense if you’re spending your time in the Eurozone (France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain etc) and the UK, but if you’re spending the majority of your time in Switzerland, you’ll pay for currency conversion when you spend in francs.

The currency conversion fee can be double the charge applied to most credit cards and debit cards. Regardless of which prepaid travel card you choose, you’re going to pay for currency conversion, international ATM withdrawals, or both when you use it in Switzerland.

Using traveller's cheques

Traveller's cheques are an outdated travel money product, it’s far easier and a much cheaper (using the right product) to get francs by using an ATM. If you do have traveller’s cheques, you can cash your cheques at exchange offices at train stations or at a bank. Exchange offices offer the same rates as banks; however they may charge a commission for the transaction.

  • Tip: Banks are open during regular business hours Monday to Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm.

Taking a cash with you

It’s cheaper to get your cash exchanged in Switzerland than it is in Australia, but it's often a good idea to have a small amount on you when you arrive in case you need to take a taxi or get something to eat, or if there are any unforeseen issues with your cards. If you do have Australian dollars or euros you need to exchange in Switzerland, bureaux de change outlets can be found at airports and train stations. You can also change your money at a bank, which will give you the most competitive rate for changing cash, and shouldn’t charge a commission either.

  • Tip: Some large retailers will accept euros (the majority of businesses will not). If you use euros, you will get a worse rate than paying with the local currency.

Exchange rate history

The Swiss Franc is one of the most stable currencies in the world, definitely one of the most valuable. Since the Global Financial Crisis, the value of the Australian dollar has dropped against the Swiss franc. The past few years, 1 Aussie dollar is worth about 0.70CHF. If you think the dollar will continue to fall relative to the franc, traveller’s cheques and prepaid travel money cards let you lock in a rate.

Year Exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to Swiss Franc (CHF) ($1 AUD=)
2018 .76
2017 .73
2016 .73
2015 .81
2014 .80

*Exchange rates are accurate as of 1 January on each year stated above.

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How many francs do I need to bring to Switzerland?

Yes, the rumours are true, Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit, and, according to some estimates, the most expensive country in the world to live. Although hardly a budget destination, it is possible to save a penny here and there.

Zurich Budget Midrange Expensive
sleep Sleep Hostel
$50 - $100 per night
2 star hotel
$100 - $250 per night
5 star hotel
$300 - $800 per night
food Eat Swiss sausage sandwich plus a pint of beer (street food)
$13
Noodle house (restaurant)
$30 per dish
Michelin star restaurant
$100 plus per person
rent-a-bike Do Rent a bike and ride around the city
Rental is free + $30 deposit
Entry to the Kunsthaus Gallery
$35 per person
50-minute massage for 2 at exclusive day spa
$350

*Prices are approximate and based on summer seasonality and are subject to change

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5 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    LesleyApril 27, 2017

    Hi there – we are going to be travelling through France, Switzerland and Italy in June/July and are finding it quite difficult finding a pre-loaded travel card that would include the euro and Swiss Francs.
    We will be in Switzerland for about 10 days. We would very much like to avoid ATM fees!

    Thanks for your help

    • finder Customer Care
      HaroldApril 27, 2017Staff

      Hi Lesley,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      If you are travelling overseas you may want to consider this options. Your prepaid travel card will support a number of foreign currencies, though the exact ones will depend on the individual card. Look out for cards that support the local currency of your travel destination, otherwise you’ll have to shell out currency conversion fees each time you spend.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  2. Default Gravatar
    January 16, 2015

    Thank you Shirley for your response to my question re. converting Australian notes in Switzerland. Now I can take some cash there. Thank you again for the information. Kind regards. Kim

  3. Default Gravatar
    KimJanuary 13, 2015

    Could anyone please advice. Would the banks in Zurich accept Australian $ (cash) to be exchanged to Swiss Francs? Thank you.

    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyJanuary 14, 2015Staff

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks for your question.

      Yes it possible to convert Australian Cash into Swiss Francs at a bank in Zurich. Please note that Swiss banks tend to levy charges on currency conversion.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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