How to bring in foreign currency to CHF the cheapest way?

I’m about to get a 6-digit CHF amount denominated in Hungarian Forints soon. Conversion rates of local HU banks give me a heart attack, so I’m trying to see cheaper options.

Transferwise costs me 0.48%, still 4-digit CHF (could fly in, get the cash, convert it, fly back and still be cheaper :smiley: )
Revolut premium?
Anything else?

IB should give me best forex rates, but getting an IB account is not very straightforward, or is it? How cumbersome is withdrawing money from IB to CH CHF accounts?

Any other tips for “quick and reasonably cheap” currency transfers?

IB EU has actually moved to Hungary . You’ll transfer the money in HUF, and transfer out in CHF at interbank rates. Very straightforward. Do it :slight_smile:

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Do you need the money immediately?

If that is not the case, then you should invest the money immediately anyway and IB is a very good option for that.

You will need to send some money from a Swiss account to IB before you can withdraw money.

IB is a good choice. Alternatively, if you have a trusted acquaintance who needs forints (i.e. retiring or buying property in Hungary, etc.) then a direct P2P exchange would be even easier and a good deal for both of you. Otherwise go with IB. Opening an account is pretty straightforward.

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Though you need an account in your name to do the transfer (they don’t do 3rd party transfers). Also they started restricting what kind of transfers you can do (only for major and your base currency, so not sure they’ll accept incoming transfer in HUF).

Incoming should be ok. Outgoing not :frowning:

I have experience with IB in, amongst others, HUF payments as well. It works flawlessly.

@user137 do you need to bring the money to CHF to pay for other planned expenses, or are you intending to reinvest?

Right now HUF is not at its best, so if you plan to reinvest I would recommend to either keep it within the HU market (e.g. OTP or MOL, or an ETF tracking the BUX), or transfer the cash to IB and keep it there in cash, as an example during the March correction the forint gained quite a lot vs. USD so you may want to wait for a suitable time.

Would recommend to open an account with them, the process of depositing and withdrawing money is pretty straightforward.

Check with your HU bank first if they let you transfer to IB the cash online, else if you have to fly there to sign papers etc., it’s a bit of a pain.


Why not do that same bet in the FX market if you think it will happen?

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This is very dangerous advice. There was only one period in history when currencies such as HUF or PLN outperformed the CHF and that was 2004-2008.

Switzerland has a 0% inflation and 0-2% inflation target, while Hungary and Poland currently have close to 4% inflation and 2.5%+ targets. How do you expect these currencies to get stronger against the CHF?

I’d recommend to get rid of any bad asset (such as an eastern European currency) and put 100% in VT on the spot.


Perhaps you are right @glina, and I’ve been too precipitous to provide advice, although that system served me well in the past few years.

Going back to @user137 question, it would help if you can clarify whether there is need for immediate transfer of HUF to CHF (perhaps you plan to invest them in CHF, or perhaps you have a planned lump sum expense like a mortgage downpayment), or if it can wait and/or if other investment vehicles are an option (e.g. VT in USD).

When it comes to transfer I believe IB is the best option, it may depend on your bank though if they let you transfer that sum to a non-named account (and also if not in person).

I’d like to see a backtest how investments in two most hated sectors - financials (OTP) and oil and gas (MOL) in one of the weakest currencies (HUF) has served you well as compared to investing in VT.

Speculating on currency is a difficult game with very little profit. If for any reason HUF or PLN were to get 10% stronger agains the USD, this would automatically imply that the market switched to full risk-on mode and the world stock markets overall would most likley gain 20% in that same period of time.

no way. The trend is clear, the currency is sliding as per will of the central bank and local politics. I’ve lost more than 10% last year on my net worth just due to currency slips. One can wait for a 2-3% downwards correction, but chances are the move is gonna happen in the other direction.

Honestly I’m not sure what to do with so much money in one go. Ideally it’s getting to the RE market in Switzerland (Crowdhouse, Foxstone, REIT’s). Plain SP500 ETF would be a good option as well, but I’ll rather wait with the big buy for some overdue sizeable correction.

Many people wish to have your problem too :smile:

Re. conversion, I’ve been able to use the March correction to move some HUF to USD via IB with a decent rate (<290), but if you prefer not to wait I would still recommend to open an IB account. Will your bank let you perform the transfer even if the account is not in your name (had issues in the past, albeit in another country)?

I also loved the fact that they wanted to see me in person for a transfer to my broker, but if I had to invest in their funds everything could of course be arranged online… :triumph:

I know - but it’s still an amount I am not comfortable handling as my regulat “unit purchases” are usually 1 to 2 magnitudes lower.

It’s probably gonna end up in IB at least 50%, having a split between some index and some riskier ETFs. But I’m not very confident putting in large amounts on the stock exchange now.

Where’s my Stock Exchange crash that everyone has been waiting for?!? :partying_face: :nerd_face:

Just put it all in, don’t time it.

easier said than done. It’s the larger chunk of net worth we’ve gathered in the last 15 years. I’d be happy to wait 2-3 yrs more if the markets were to go through a (way overdue) 50% correction.

Imagine saying that 10 years ago :slight_smile:

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Cpt Hindsight would be filthy rich by now :smiley:

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