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Use debite at Zurich airport

Leaving in a few days for 2 weeks in Switzerland. I'm trying to decided whether to purchase CHF from my bank before leaving or just using my debit card on arrival. I realize that I should use an ATM from a bank vs TravelEx or a booth. What are the names of Swiss banks so I know which bank ATM to use and will there be one located at the Zurich airport? We will be hopping the train from Zurich airport to Appenzell and I would like to have cash in hand before boarding the train. Thank you for your help.

Posted by
6743 posts

The best way to answer your question is to Google the airport website and look at airport services (they also have maps showing location). Since it took me less than a minute, here's the info:
(Scroll way down to the bottom to see the bank names. Don't use TravelEx.)

I would not purchase money beforehand, just use the ATM at the airport.

Posted by
8889 posts

Yes, unless you get a super deal from your bank (which I have never heard of in reality), an ATM is best.
There are bank-owned ATM's at Zürich airport. The options are:

  • The two big multinational banks: UBS and Credit Suisse.
  • The Kanton (state) owned banks, which at Zürich would be ZKB (Zürcher Kantonale Bank). In Appenzell it would be the Appenzeller Bank.
  • The two supermarket owned banks: Migros Bank and Bank Cler (formerly Coop Bank).
  • A few other banks, such a Raiffeisen Bank.
Posted by
624 posts

Yes, It is easy to get money at the airport in Zurich. We arrived last month, met a travel companion (who had arrived a few hours earlier) at Starbucks. Right opposite Starbucks is the train ticket office. We purchased our 15 day Swiss Travel Pass here. If you turn around from the Ticket office, the Coop will be right there. To the left of the coop will be two ATM's. We went straight into the Coop and purchase some food for our train journey. I cannot recall the name of the bank but it was as good as rate as any other.

Posted by
5657 posts

I used the Credit Suisse ATM at the Zurich Airport this past February. My Credit Union statement description displays as: " ATM Withdrawal 48350 CS ZHFLUGHAFENAN_ Zuerich CHCH ". Exchange rate was very close to Interbank (plus the 1% exchange fee that my credit union passes on to me). Back in February the Franc and Dollar were almost parity. The ATM I used was somewhere between arrival and the train station service counter.

The Travelex is a staffed kiosk that you would only use if you needed to exchange currency. Use the bankomat/ATM with your Debit/ATM card that draws on your checking account.

Posted by
367 posts

Hi. I always take a small amount of currency with me. Usually about $ 100-200 worth. This way I don't need to find an ATM to get money when I arrive. When I arrive I can just head out of the airport to my destination and have one less thing to worry about or have to do.

Posted by
192 posts

Thanks everyone for your opinions. They are all good answers whether you purchase ahead of time or get money on arrival! I got my answer and have decided to wait until I get to Switzerland to get the CHF. I would end up paying $62 more if I purchase ahead of time from my bank according to my calculations based on today's exchange rate. Thanks again!

Posted by
192 posts

Thanks, too, MPaulyn for the info on the train ticket office and bank near Starbucks. I will be purchasing the 15 day Travel Pass as well as getting money.