USD Cash withdrawal in CH

Hello Guys,

For an upcoming travel outside of Europe, I would like to take out / convert some USD cash and take it with me. What is the most optimal solution for that so that I am not getting robbed on the conversion?

I live in Kanton Zug.

Regards,
Octopus

Where are you travelling to? Throughout Asia I found it a pretty good deal to bring CHF actually.

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I think Coop Depositenkasse offers the best rates for cash. I bought some DKK because I was flying to Greenland and there was no way of getting DKK on the way

On my trips in the last 10 years to
a) Iran: Euros were fine. Swiss franc rate was announced too
b) Cuba / Nepal / Bhutan: some ATMs worked with my postfinance card and if not CHF in Cash were fine. In Cuba USD actually got a 10 % conversion penalty when I was there.
c) Mauritania, Mali: ATMs worked, if not Euros in Cash were fine.

I would not bring more than 100 CHF / EUR in cash to any country which is not under an US embargo at the moment

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I only know two ways to get foreign cash at a reasonable rate:

  1. Withdraw cash at an ATM once you arrive at the destination country. This is most often the easiest and cheapest way. Check forums on which ATMs offer free cash withdrawal. I would never withdraw with a Swiss banking or Postfinance card. The only cards I have I would ever withdraw out of country with are:

    • Revolut Visa/MC/Maestro (Worldwide free withdrawal and interbanking rate up to CHF 200/M)
    • TranserWise MC (Worldwide free up to 200£/M, slightly worse rate than Revolut)
    • DKB Visa (Worldwide unlimited free at the Visa Rate, min. 50€ per withdrawal)
      -> Those are all completely free cards officially offered to Swiss residents.
  2. Know someone that works at a bank that can get foreign cash at a good rate. Employees at JB can exchange forex at the interbank rate. Afaik Credit Suisse employees on the other hand get only slightly less shitty rates than their customers.

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Thanks for the tips. Travel to Egypt and during entry have to pay Tourist Visa 25 Usd per person. According to some sites this is the only currency they accept during entry. Maybe just apply online in advance so do not need to take USD for this.

Well get 25 USD at any bigger Railway Station
You’ll probably lose CHF 2 in commission and another 1.50 CHF because the rate is bad :rofl:

Or do you plan to fly there hundreds of times this year?

Only the first year. Once you are not Aktivkunde any more you pay 1.75% fee. I think Postfinance plus is still free worldwide if you swallow the monthly fee. I try to go with revolution now

Don’t worry, they also accept EUR (at least in Hurghada)

My best advice for visa on arrival is to have the exact amount in cash. Try to pay with a $100 bill, and you’ll get the change in local currency exchanged at an extremely bad rate.

Otherwise, just ask for $ at your bank. You’ll be surrprised to find they’ll have them and it will be cheaper than at the train station.

DKB: To get Aktivkunde status you can simply create a job that sends 700€ from DKB to Revolut and back once a month. They don’t care how you achieve the monthly 700€ “income”.

Postfinance: Imho not a good idea. Even though you get no flat fee for the withdrawal with the Plus Set. Their fxrate is based on UBS rates which are abysmal and even just for € withdrawal you will lose about 1.5%

You can open a free account at Postfinance and then exchange CHF to USD on IB, but I’m not sure how much will it cost to transfer the amount back to postfinance.

You cannot directly withdraw USD Cash from your Postfinance USD account, therefore no use in this case.

Are you sure? Maybe in Switzerland, but you can still use the card abroad for free and without any wonky exchange rate. At least if you withdraw USD.

There is no Postfinance Card for USD Accounts, only CHF or €. Therefore no way to withdraw from the USD account directly. If you use your normal CHF card you will withdraw from your CHF account and UBS fxrate applies.

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Have you checked BCGE ? They have an account in USD, but I’m not sure if they give you a card and if it’s free.

Can’t your pay for Revolut Premium and withdraw more? Maybe it would be worth it to sign up just for this

It’s not worth it. I calculated it. Cheaper to just pay the extra 2% for withdrawing more or using other means of withdrawal.

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