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Foreign Exchange Guide to Switzerland

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Domestic Currency:
Swiss franc
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In this guide we review :

  1. Swiss franc info - general info about the Swiss franc
  2. Swiss franc in the markets - recent CHF moves and predictions from the FX markets
  3. Travelling in Switzerland - currency & money saving tips
  4. Buying Swiss franc cash online - travel money for Switzerland
  5. Sending money to Switzerland - save on Swiss franc bank transfers to Switzerland
  6. Swiss franc exchange rates - latest info & charts.

Swiss franc (CHF) general currency information

The three letter currency code for the Swiss franc is CHF and the symbol is Fr. It is the domestic currency in Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

Contributing to roughly 5% of the foreign exchange market’s daily turnover, the Swiss franc (ISO: CHF) is the world’s seventh most traded currency.

The Swiss franc is traditionally considered Europe’s safe haven currency due to factors including Switzerland’s traditional position as a politically neutral country, its reputation for stability, impressive financial system, historically low inflation and its ability to consistently run a trade surplus. For this reason, the franc is likely to increase in value during periods of economic uncertainty or when global geopolitical risk is elevated, or during bouts of high market volatility.

To prevent unwanted currency appreciation, between September 2011 and January 2015 the franc’s value was pegged to the euro at a rate of Fr. 1.2. When Switzerland’s central bank unexpectedly abandoned the peg in 2015 it caused significant market turmoil.

Since 1995, against the world’s reserve currency, the US dollar, the Swiss franc’s lowest valuation came in October 2000 when CHF/USD traded at just 0.5465. Its post-1995 high came in August 2011 at 1.4152.

Swiss franc (CHF) in the markets

Against the euro, in mid-October the Swiss franc remained close to long-term lows. The franc had weakened more than 7% on the year to a rate of 1.155 per euro.

In October, USD/CHF twice rallied to 0.9836 – the franc’s weakest level against the dollar in five months.

The Swiss National Bank do not hide their desire for a weaker franc. The bank expressed its happiness with 2017’s depreciation against the euro at its September meeting, saying that recent movements were “helping to reduce the significant overvaluation of the currency.” The bank added that “negative interest rates and the SNB’s willingness to intervene in the foreign exchange market remain essential in order to reduce the attractiveness of [Swiss francs].”

The SNB will get their wish according to analysts at both Credit Agricole and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The franc will weaken to 1.18 per euro in the medium term, said Credit Agricole in October. A higher EUR/CHF rate will be driven by the diverging paths of monetary policy between the ECB and SNB.

BAML went one further, predicting that the franc would weaken to at least 1.20 against its bigger brother. BAML believes that investors will sell francs to buy higher-yielding currencies and says that EUR/CHF “looks cheap relative to its longer-term moving averages.”

Switzerland currency and money saving tips

Switzerland is a well organized and safe country, however it is not cheap. Car rental can be pricey when you include the cost of fuel. Booking a rail pass helps you plan what you will be spending, and children travel for free. If you intend to travel by train, boat, bus or cable cars, a rail pass will help you save money. Take advantage of the rail pass extras. For example, the Swiss Travel Pass includes free entrance to hundreds of museums and allows free traveling on the most beautiful scenic routes, and some cable cars and cogwheel trains are free instead of discounted. Even without a rail pass, traveling is free in some cases if you stay at certain hotels. Booking seats is not required for most trains, so you can save money by not doing so. Budget hotels are available, however top tourist towns are generally quite expensive.

Switzerland Trip Checklist   

  1. Compare CHF travel cash rates - probably why you are here!
  2. Hotel deals - Save on your accomodation in Switzerland
  3. Travel insurance - for those unexpected travel adventures...
  4. Lonely Planet - world's best travel guide (coupon and deals)

Travel money for Switzerland

Save money and time by Ordering your Swiss franc online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the CHF cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.

Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.

For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Swiss franc otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.

Sending money to Switzerland

When sending money to Switzerland it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 3 simple steps :

  1. Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
  2. You specify the local or Swiss franc amount you want to transfer
  3. Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
  4. Once your funds are received by the provider the converted CHF amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Switzerland.

By comparing the rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Swiss franc deposited into the recipient bank account in Switzerland and less margins and fees kept by the banks!

Swiss franc - exchange rates

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