Skip to Content

Changing US Dollars to Swiss Francs, When traveling in 2023

If you travel to Switzerland, you must exchange Dollars for the country’s legal currency, the Swiss Franc. U.S. dollars won’t be accepted. Credit cards are accepted in major Hotels & and some stores, but most stores and shops won’t accept Credit Cards. You must have cash when traveling to small towns. If you visit Swiss for the first time, you may find getting used to the new currency challenging. 

“Hey there! 🌍✈️ While I might be a whiz at conjugating Spanish verbs and picking the best travel destinations, I’m not a financial guru. So, let’s keep things clear: I’m a Teacher and World Traveler, NOT a Financial Advisor” More About me here

Swiss Franc bills come in the following amounts:

  • 10 FR
  • 20 FR
  • 50 FR
  • 100 FR
  • 200 FR
  • 1,000 FR

Swiss Franc coins come in the following amounts:

  • FR 0.05
  • FR 0.01
  • FR 0.20
  • FR 0.50
  • FR 1
  • FR 5

A critical thing to remember is to carry smaller bills as it can be challenging to get change for bills over FR5,000 Franc in small towns and little shops. 

Regarding coins, the easiest way to remember is that the bigger the coin is in size, the more it is worth. 

What is the currency exchange?

Currency exchange is a legal and legitimate company that helps people exchange money from one country for money from another country.

Exchange rates vary depending on many reasons, including political and economic factors. While exchange rates change daily and sometimes by the hour, you can get an idea of what to expect by checking online or at your local bank.

Some US banks will let you order Francs, your foreign currency (money) online.  

Bank of America Foreign Currency Ordering: If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, you’ll receive a discount off the published exchange rate as well as no fee on standard shipping ($7.50 value) with all orders placed in Online Banking or through the Mobile Banking app.

Wells Fargo Foreign Currency Ordering: As you start your trip, having local currency on hand lets you easily cover immediate expenses without needing to hunt down a currency exchange office. On your return, we can often buy back unused foreign currency cash at a Wells Fargo branch. We offer more than 70 currencies available for use in over 100 countries. Note: Our branches no longer have foreign currency cash on-hand available for over-the-counter same-day purchases. with all orders placed in Online Banking or through the Mobile Banking app.

Us Bank: Traveling to a foreign country requires planning and preparation. Make one of your to-do items easier. Log in to your U.S. Bank checking or savings account and order your foreign currency in advance.

How much are currency exchange fees when Changing US dollars to Swiss Franc?

Currency exchange fees can vary depending on the method you use to exchange currency, the amount of money you are exchanging, and the exchange rate. However, in general, currency exchange fees can range from 1% to 5% of the amount you are exchanging.

Here are some of the most common methods of currency exchange and their associated fees:

  • Banks: Banks typically charge a flat fee of $5 to $10 for currency exchange, plus a percentage of the amount you are exchanging.
  • Currency exchange bureaus: Currency exchange bureaus typically charge a higher percentage fee than banks, but they may offer better exchange rates.
  • Automated teller machines (ATMs): ATMs that allow you to withdraw foreign currency may charge a flat fee of FR5 or more, plus a percentage fee of the amount you withdraw.
  • Online currency exchanges: Online currency exchanges typically offer the lowest fees, but they may have lower exchange rates than banks or currency exchange bureaus.

It is important to compare fees before you exchange currency, so you can find the best deal. You can also try to negotiate a lower fee with the currency exchange provider.

Here are some tips for minimizing currency exchange fees:

  • Compare fees: Compare fees from different currency exchange providers before you make a transaction.
  • Use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees: If you use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, you can avoid paying the percentage fee that banks and currency exchange bureaus typically charge.
  • Exchange currency in advance: If you know you will be traveling to a foreign country, you can exchange currency in advance at your bank or credit union. This will give you the best exchange rate and you will avoid paying the high fees that ATMs and currency exchange bureaus typically charge.
  • Withdraw cash from ATMs: If you need to withdraw cash in a foreign country, you can use an ATM. However, be sure to use an ATM that is located in a bank or other reputable location. ATMs located in tourist areas or in remote locations may charge higher fees.

Should you exchange Dollars before you get to Switzerland?

That depends on your comfort level. Before traveling to any foreign country, I like to exchange a small amount of money at my local bank here in the U.S. Over years of traveling, I have learned that travel day can be chaotic and could include a lot of unexpected situations. So, by exchanging a small amount beforehand, I can be sure to have cash in case I don’t get a chance to exchange money right away. Then, I can exchange more once I am settled in the new country.  

What do I need to exchange Dollars for Franc?

To exchange money, you will need cash and a form of identification. Alternatively, you can use your ATM card to withdraw cash from an ATM. The ATM will figure out the current exchange rate, but you will probably have to pay fees for using the card overseas. So it’s worth checking with your bank before you go. 

Where can I exchange dollars in Switzerland?

Most tourists feel more comfortable exchanging money at the airport or hotel. Although they are safe locations to exchange money, the exchange rates tend to be higher due to the convenience offered to the traveler. In big cities, it is easy to find exchange offices at local attractions, tourist spots, etc., where you can exchange your money comfortably. They often offer better rates. In addition, you may find people approaching you to exchange money for you, but I would avoid those situations. Counterfeit bills can be an issue, or you may not get a fair exchange rate. 

Can I use my debit/credit card in Swiss?

No, most credit cards are not accepted in big cities and in most major stores. However, having said that, hotels accept credit cards. In addition, you must reach out to your credit card company beforehand to understand any traveling fees and alert them that you will be out of the country so they allow the transactions to go through. 

One of the credit cards I prefer to take while traveling is my Capital One Credit Card. Capital One does not charge extra foreign transaction fees. This is something worth considering. 

How much money do I need in Switzerland?

We recommend budgeting about FR 100 to FR 500 Franc Per day per person, depending on your needs and travel style. 

What should I do with my leftover Swiss Francs when I leave Switzerland?

  1. Keep them for your next trip to Switzerland. This is a good option if you know you will be returning to Switzerland in the near future. You can simply keep your Swiss Franc in a safe place until your next trip.
  2. Exchange them Back to the US Dollar. You can exchange your Swiss Franc for your home currency at a bank, currency exchange bureau, or ATM. However, be sure to compare exchange rates before you exchange your money, as you may be able to get a better deal at one provider than another.
  3. Donate them to charity. If you don’t plan on returning to Switzerland or using your Swiss Franc in the United States, you can donate them to a charity that supports causes in Swiss. This is a great way to give back to the country you visited.
  4. Gift them to someone who is going to Switzerland. If you know someone who is planning on visiting Switzerland, you can gift them your Swiss Franc. This is a thoughtful way to help them save money on their trip.