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Foreign Exchange Guide to Switzerland

Latest market mid-rate: 1.0 =

Country Code:
Domestic Currency:
Swiss franc
Symbol - Code:
Telephone Prefix:

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 Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

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

Between mid-February and mid-April, the franc depreciated steadily.

Against the euro, the franc weakened to 1.189 – it’s lowest value since “Francogeddon” in January 2015. It seems inevitable that at some stage in 2018 the franc will once again trade at 1.2 to the euro, the rate at which it was previously capped by the Swiss National Bank.

Within the same period, against the dollar, the franc lost nearly 5% of its value. The dollar fetched 0.965 francs at the time of this report.

The franc’s slide has been unexpected given that other traditional safe havens have appreciated amid the uncertainties of a US-China trade war and US military action in Syria. A heavy franc has been attributed by analysts to April’s US sanctions against Russian oligarchs, who held sizeable stakes in Swiss industrial companies.

“The franc is driven predominantly by capital flows for now. There is a need for liquidity by Russians and no appetite for leaving cash in Switzerland,” one analyst told Bloomberg.

The SNB will be happy with a lower franc. The bank has made no secret of its desire for a weaker currency, which would boost Swiss exporters. Between 2015 and 2018, the bank deployed negative interest rates and intervened in FX markets with the intention of bringing about a higher EUR/CHF exchange rate. Some analysts speculate that the SNB’s ultimate target for the rate is 1.25.

The interactive chart below shows the CHF to USD exchange rate for the previous 3 months with rate alerts for days when the exchange rate moved up or down significantly or for 30 day highs and lows.

Loading CHF/USD Chart
CHF calculator

Currency and money saving tips for Switzerland

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. 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.

Travel Money Exchange Rates Compared

Buying CHF Cash with USD 1,000

 Travelex Online
Fr876.70 CHF (10.05%)
Free Home Delivery when you Buy Online Travel Money & Cards with $0 commission and great exchange rates only available from Travelex Online. Zero cost for Home Delivery or pickup your foreign cash at your local Travelex store or at the airport on departure day. * Home deliveries can only be made to the registered billing address of your chosen payment method.
Price Details
Receive: Fr876.70 CHF
Exchange Rate: 0.8767
(Inverse 1CHF=USD 1.1406)
Fees: USD 0
Total Cost : 10.05% (from mid-rate: 0.9746)
Amount of money that could be received by your currency exchange at rate USD/CHF=0.8767 and inclusive of the fee of USD 0.
Rate timestamp : Sun Apr 22 2018 03:00:03 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Bank Rates - Average
Fr844.27 CHF (13.37%)
This is the average USD to CHF Buy Foreign Cash exchange rate from multiple banks, exchange kiosks and post-offices, available over the counter and via the internet.

Price Details
Receive: Fr844.27 CHF
Exchange Rate: 0.8528
(Inverse 1CHF=USD 1.1726)
Fees: USD 10 (1%)
Total Cost : 13.37% (from mid-rate: 0.9746)
Receive CHF Fr32 less than with   Travelex Online
Amount of money that could be received by your currency exchange at rate USD/CHF=0.8528 and inclusive of the fee of USD 10 (1%).
Rates snapshot: 04/22/2018

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!

Sending a LARGER international money transfer? Request a Free Multi-Vendor Quote

Compare Foreign Transfers

Sending USD 10,000 to CHF

 OFX (prev. USForex)
Fr9528.00 CHF (2.24%)
Book & track your foreign transfers online (24/7) with industry best rates for all your deals - not just the first one! Lock in exchange rates with Spot & Forward Deals. BestExchangeRates users get the transfer fees waived.
Price Details
Receive: Fr9528.00 CHF
Exchange Rate: 0.9528
(Inverse 1CHF=USD 1.0495)
Fees: USD 0
Total Cost : 2.24% (from mid-rate: 0.9746)
This is the amount of money that could be received by your transfer at rate USD/CHF=0.9528 and inclusive of the fee of USD 0.
Rate timestamp : Sun Apr 22 2018 03:03:28 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Bank Rates - Average
Fr9257.09 CHF (5.02%)
This is the average USD to CHF International Transfer exchange rate and fees from multiple banks for FX rates available over the counter and also via Internet Banking.

Price Details
Receive: Fr9257.09 CHF
Exchange Rate: 0.9271
(Inverse 1CHF=USD 1.0786)
Fees: USD 15
Total Cost : 5.02% (from mid-rate: 0.9746)
Receive CHF Fr271 less than with   OFX
This is the amount of money that could be received by your transfer at rate USD/CHF=0.9271 and inclusive of the fee of USD 15.

Swiss franc - exchange rates

Major CHF cross rates
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