Change Cash Euro to CHF

Hi all,

I have approximately €3000 in cash and need to convert it into CHF. I have a Postfinance account and IBKR. I just opened an EUR account at PF. So I was thinking to pay in the cash at the post office (is this possible?) and transfer the Euro to IBKR and convert it into CHF and then send it back to Postfinance.

Is that a good way or are there any hidden fees or even cheaper options about which I dont know? Thank you!

I doubt it’s going to be free (though I’m not a PostFinance customer).

Personally, I’ve often exchanged small amounts of cash with friends and colleagues at a fair rate.

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Yes, it is free to make a euro deposit onto your euro account at the counter. Beware! Withdrawals are only free at the ATM.


To my view, the most mustachian thing to do is find a friend or acquaitance who will be travelling and needs some euros. Then you can exchange at spot rates. That’s what I always do.

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There used to be a startup which ran a platform that let you connect with people near you to exchange any currency in cash directly, peer to peer. Unfortunately it didn’t last. I suppose there was no way for the startup to get a cut, so no business model. But I imagine there must be forums or facebook groups which let you connect with people near you who want the currency you have. It seems kind of ridiculous that in this connected world, you would still have to spend money on currency exchange.

unless you do not have a Eur Card you need to do it in the post office.
I did what you mention some time ago and not fees except the IBRK regular ones

I didn’t use it but I have done it with a friend and we stooped because unless you do not change large amounts >1000 you need to be almost exact to the cent otherwise is not worth for one of the sides

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Check with post finance what the fees are in total for opening and using the account. I’d expect SEPA transfers to be included. Converting and sensing chf from ibkr is just like a regular transfer with my bank, no extra fees.

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Expanding on what I have already said: for EUR no fees if you’re no longer paying fees. Same fees you’re paying right now if you are. You can open as many accounts as you want, the price is per customer and not per account. You can deposit it for free at the counter and withdraw for free at the ATM with your EUR card (only 50 euro bills). No SEPA fees, but UK is out of scope as of Brexit (hello Revolut!).

I regularly send EUR from Yuh to Revolut, no fees.

United Kingdom continues to be a SEPA country, just like Switzerland.

SEPA payments to/from the UK aren’t regulated by EU/EEA regulation anymore, so banks/payment service providers on either can charge what they want (as in: more than for intra-EEA payments between other members states). Again, the same as with Switzerland.

As a side note, Liechtenstein on the other hand is covered by EU regulation because it is an EEA member state (and therefore its national currency, the Swiss Franc, an EEA currency).

A EUR SEPA account may suffice for payments between your own accounts or friends and family. If you’re making or receiving payments for purchases or services in/from the EU/EEA though, I‘d recommend using an EUR SEPA account with a bank in one of the (EEA) members states. (Only) this way can you be sure that a payer doesn‘t pay „hidden“ (in fine print) fees for transferring money to you, and that a payee will receive the payment amount in full.

Thanks for the explanation of what I meant by “out of scope”!

True. I guess I’ve mostly change cash against bank transfers with friends and family, so that wasn’t a huge issue. I just transferred or received the exact amount.

Not sure if now is a great time to change euros into francs though:

If you know the direction things are going, there’s lots of money to be made, FX is usually easy to leverage. (note: if you don’t know, it would be a bad idea to do that though)

If you have other bank accounts in EUR, or you need EUR anyway to pay something, you might want to go for it. If you want to speculate on the exchange rate, it might not work out.

To give you an idea: I bought EUR for CHF at 1.06 (“Great, EURCHF at 2y low. Let’s buy some”), then again at 1.04 (“Great, EURCHF at 7y low. Let’s buy some.”) and then again at 1.02 (you get the idea) last week. I still have some EUR bank accounts though, where I sometimes transfer some money.

A friend of mine has been trading Forex professionally for more than 10 years. He definitely knows what he’s doing (made a good amount of money after 2008), but the last 3 years he didn’t make any profit.

What I meant was, it’s (probably) a great time to change francs to euros, because of the CHF/EUR parity. But it might be a bad time to change euros into francs because you won’t get many francs for them. If history is anything to go by, the SNB will likely step in very soon and buy euros en masse to raise the euro’s value against the franc.

Indeed. I didn’t read your sentence thoroughly: you said that changing EUR to CHF now might not be a good time.

That’s what they also did until 2015 (keeping EURCHF at 1.20), but they had to stop it. We don’t know how long / if SNB will step in to keep the rate above 1. For people like us who earn their salary in CHF, it’s great. For the economy as a whole, it might not be great.

Now that Switzerland took a side with the EU regarding russian sanctions the next logical step is to get the Euro forced upon us. Ideal timing if the exchange rate is 1:1.