Withdrawing EUR at ATM in Switzerland with Debit Card (based on account in EUR or other foreign currency)

I wanted to withdraw some EUR from ATMs in Switzerland using my debit cards. However, I only get the option to withdraw in CHF, even though the ATM should also accept EUR. Why is this? Shouldn’t EUR also be available for the debit cards mentioned below? What’s the solution if I want to get cheap EUR banknotes?

I’ve tried the ATMs of

  • Credit Suisse (they confirmed on site that the ATM has EUR)
  • Migros Bank
  • Berner Kantonalbank

I’ve tried the following debit cards

  • DKB (Deutsche Kreditbank, account in EUR)
  • Wise (account in CHF, EUR etc.)
  • Neon Bank (account in CHF)

Very strange!

Did you check the ATMs for EUR notes? Not every ATM contains EUR.

Moreover, it could be that you are unlucky (e.g. container with EUR stash is empty).

Normally, you can withdraw EUR bank notes at CHF/EUR specific ATMs.

Did it at Postfinance ATMs with the Revolut card.

Yes, sure I checked if it’s a EUR ATM. At Credit Suisse I’ve tried 3 ATM’s and also got assured by personal that they have EUR inside, at Migros Bank I tried 2 ATM’s and at Berner Kantonalbank 1 ATM… Very strange!

Neon only works with Postfinance ATMs (and comes with a 5 CHF fee):

Interesting, thanks! I’m wondering why is this limitation. I assume that the banks only want their own customers to take with their cards and with the very unfavourable exchange fees of these banks…? However, I don’t understand why Visa debit card like from DKB or Wise shouldn’t work with EUR here! I know from other countries where it’s possible to chose between the country currency and USD with these cards, without any problems.

Migrosbank ATM’s have a sign per ATM usually saying which currency available at that ATM, including the notes even, for example chf 100 200 1000 euro 50 etc.

I regularly withdraw euros with Vpay Migrosbank card at Migrosbank ATM. It accesses my CHF and Euro Privatkonto.

With the cards you mention though, I don’t know.

So, I’ve tried all three cards at two other ATMs:

UBS: no card worked!
Postfinance: no card worked except Wise!

So, I remain at my conclusion: very strange! And I have the impression that this is on purpose by these ATM owing banks.

I have no doubt about that. Banks typically charge a hefty markup for EUR cash in Switzerland, one way or another. E.g. withdrawing EUR at an ATM from a EUR account at UBS costs 1%, if I remember correctly. For customers withdrawing EUR at an ATM from a CHF account, they use an exchange rate with a large markup.

While I also don’t like this as a customer, I can understand such fees to a certain extent (unlike some other fees). By filling ATMs with EUR cash, they take a certain amount of exchange rate risk. This needs to be compensated, otherwise they would simply not offer EUR cash in ATMs at all. That said, the fees at certain banks may be higher than reasonable.

My guess is that they can’t impose the same fees for foreign cards without currency conversion (might violate Mastercard/VISA rules), so they simply don’t offer it.

PostFinance seems to allow EUR withdrawal with foreign debit cards. However, DKB and neon use (prepaid) credit cards instead of debit cards (in Mastercard/VISA terminology), last I checked. PostFinance might reject foreign credit cards for EUR withdrawal.