Exchange CHF to USD

Hi I’m new here and really enjoy the forum. I have a situation and am trying to find if someone already asked the question here but I couldn’t find anything yet so I figured i just ask directly.

I am a US citizen, i now live and work in Switzerland and get paid in CHF. Though i still have a lot of activities in the US such as managing my rentals and once i would like to buy another house in the US. I am also very used to using my US credit card especially i travel a lot for work so I prefer to use my US credit card to pay for whatever currency the country im in and later on pay the credit with my US bank.

For this, I am looking for the best cheapest way to exchange my CHF to USD. I have Kanton of Zug bank for CHF and Chase bank for USD. I have done my research and some people suggested the cheapest exhange is through Interactive Brokers account but i think thats more for investment, what if i just want to exchange the money and then transfer it to my US bank? I also heard about Wise but i am trying to make sure I get the best and cheapest solution here.

Thank you!

I am quite sure you can do it. However they might not like the fact that you use IB account just to pass money, although I don’t know if it actually happened to anyone. To have some investments at IB is not a bad idea anyway.

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I have benchmarked it and having your forex exchange made on IB is the best.
Obviously you cannot use them only for that so as suggested by @Dr.PI , you should also vest some long term position.
I have done monthly exchange rate for chf euros several month in a row without question ask for amount ranging 4-12kchf with a limited position at IB (100kusd).


I’ve read first hand report of IB telling people to stop.

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Now getting into the technical part. Do you get charged any fees when you transfer CHF to IB account and then from IB to your EUR bank? How long does it take you to receive your EUR ?

And to invest in some ETF in IB is not a problem. Im just thinking if there are a lot of fees to transfer in the CHF to IB (from what i read, look like i will need to have a UK IB not US one) to and transfer out from IB UK to a US bank account, then it might not be worth it

So which one?

IBKR have a Swiss CH-IBAN account number, so standard rates for domestic bank transfers should apply.

…except for the super crafty banks that will charge you a foreign transfer to Citibank London, despite going to a CH… IBAN. Wasn‘t Migros Bank doing that? But 99% percent of cases, it should be free.

First withdrawal in a month at IBKR is free, too - though I don’t know if IBKR U.K. will let you withdraw USD to a U.S. bank account using a domestic transfer.

Deposit to IB from UBS

Can I have both? :smiley: just kidding! if i have to choose one then ill go with the cheapest!

Thanks for your knowledge

I don’t get charged by Migros Bank when transferring to IB’s CH IBAN, may have have been another bank? Or Migros Bank stopped doing it before I started regular transfers in 2019.

Welcome to the forum @Moneytalks! My partner is also American and has an IB account. She reads this forum but doesn’t have an account yet, so she wanted me to share this (hopefully useful) information with you:

"I don’t get charged by PostFinance (nor IB) when transferring to IB’s CH IBAN.

I have an ACH link on IB established with my US Bank (Capital One), so I can transfer USD from IB to Capital One for no fees.

IB might look like a UK bank but if you are American, it gets treated as a US-domiciled account such that you will receive a 1099."


@MisterB Tell her I say thank you so so much for sharing her experience here! It’s super helpful! May i ask what 1099 form does she get? Does it impact her US tax filing?

Was referring to this report here by @achpl and confirmed by @rolandinho. Weird - or interesting? - that they didn’t charge you, if you’ve been doing the same from Migros Bank since 2019.

Yes, odd. @achpl posted on the 5th of May 2020, I checked my account and I transferred 4’500 CHF to that exact IBAN on the 27th of April 2020 with no fees… :person_shrugging:

She says she has investments and idle cash at IB, and also performs currency conversions there. She receives a consolidated 1099 which contains all the 1099 tax info. Specifically, the consolidated 1099 contains the following: 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-OID, 1099-MISC, 1099-NEC, 1099-B. Only the ones relevant for her situation are populated while the others contain zeros.

About your second question, indeed her IB account impacts her US tax filing, as she has 1099 income from interest and dividends. To be fair though, as an American, practically everything she does impacts her US tax filing ! :wink: (I assume you are aware of the somewhat annoying/questionable/stringent filing requirements for Americans abroad :sweat_smile:)