Best places to exchange currency in Zurich

27.03.17
4 minute read
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Holding the title of Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich is also a renowned hub for money and banking, and a popular tourist destination. Zurich central station is one of Europe’s main railway intersections, making it conveniently accessible from neighbouring countries. Living can be pricey in Zurich, so you’ll be wanting the best currency exchange deals to save where you can. This is your guide to finding the best places to convert your cash in Zurich.

Things to know before exchanging your money

Switzerland is not part of the EU, and so they hold their own currency - Swiss Franc (CHF). Many people make the mistake of exchanging their currency at the first stop they find. This is usually the Zurich airport or the main railway station, Zürich Hauptbahnhof. Take your time to understand how the exchange rate works and how this will affect the value of your money.

Know the actual exchange rate

You may notice varying exchange rates quoted by different exchange bureaus. This is because each will apply their own fees, whether quoted upfront or disguised in the form of a poorer exchange rate. Know that there is only one real exchange rate, sometimes called the interbank or mid-market exchange rate. You can use this as a base rate to compare how fair other offered rates are. And to to keep track of this rate, you need look no further than our handy online currency converter.

Remember - exchange rates always change

Exchange rates change constantly. Some factors that influence the exchange rate include: changes in market inflation, changes in interest rate, government debt and terms of trade - these change on almost a daily basis. Keep updated on global events which may influence your currency exchange, so you can pick the best time to convert.

Research your home bank’s partnerships before you leave

It’s worth checking with your home bank whether they have partnerships with banks located in Zurich. If so, you may be able to use their ATMs with the withdrawal fee or foreign exchange charges waived. Swiss banks will not exchange money unless you’re a customer, but if your bank partners with a Swiss bank you might be able to avoid this obstacle.

Always choose to be charged in the local currency

If withdrawing cash from an ATM, choose to be charged in the local currency. If you choose the other option, to be charged in your home currency, you’ll be paying more in fees for the conversion. Opt instead to be charged in Swiss Franc.

Avoid airport and hotel currency exchanges

The currency exchanges you’ll find at Zurich airport are conveniently located. However, you’ll pay for this ease in the form of higher fees and a poorer exchange rate. The same pattern applies to the exchange services in hotel lobbies. Seek out exchange bureaus in central areas of the city where greater competition drives a fairer deal for the customer. Or, fan even fairer option is to withdraw cash directly from an ATM.

Spend your money before leaving

When exchanging currency, many people over-budget and end up with leftover cash at the end of their trip - especially coins. Most places do not even allow a coin exchange. Exchanging cash back to your home currency is unnecessarily expensive. Plan ahead to avoid paying conversion fees twice. If you do still end up with leftover cash, spend up before leaving Zurich.

Where to exchange money in Zurich

If you choose to change your money at an exchange bureau, be sure to use a currency converter to compare their offered rate against the live mid-market rate. This will help you to spot the fairest deal - keeping in mind any upfront fees charged. Below are some exchange bureaus you could consider in Zurich.

Currency Bureau Address Contact Information
Ria Money Transfer & Currency Exchange Langstrasse 192, 8005 Zürich +41 44 272 52 22
ME Money Exchange GmbH Langstrasse 239, 8005 Zürich +41 44 273 25 00
Travelex: Zurich Airport (ZRH) Zurich Airport, Departure Airside, 8060 Zürich +41 43 321 22 86

The bottom line

You’ll have plenty of options to convert to Swiss Franc while in Zurich. In a city known for its high price tags though, you’ll want to make each franc count. So pay attention to the exchange rate you’re receiving and any fees being charged.

Withdrawing cash directly from an ATM is a quick and easy option. The exchange rate offered is usually fairer than using an exchange bureau. Minimise your expense by making one or two large withdrawals, as opposed to paying the fee on several smaller withdrawals.

If either yourself or a friend have access to a CHF bank account in Switzerland, you can use TransferWise and make the transfer ahead of time. TransferWise uses the real mid-market exchange rate to convert your money - which almost always beat the banks.This also ensures your currency is sent and received usually local bank transfers, meaning you’ll not have any unwelcomed international bank fees eating into your money.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

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