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Cash/Credit Cards in Switzerland

What is the best way to pay for things in Switzerland? Cash? Which cred crds?

Posted by
16863 posts

I have had no problem with credit cards, just keep an eye out for dynamic currency exchange, which the Swiss assume you will want but you should decline.

Posted by
5697 posts

Yes, listen to Sam! It's easy to decline dynamic currency conversion -- just look at the screen and select to be billed on CHF -- but if you just press "accept" it will most likely default to billing in your card's currency (USD) at whatever rate the vendor uses.

Posted by
5786 posts

My chip and signature credit card was accepted everywhere but I didn't try using the card in a un-staffed machine. I took out 200 CHF at Zurich Airport and had to make a special point of spending the cash at the end of our two week visit.

Some card machines would offer charge in CHF or USD and it was easy to select CHF. Other card machines defaulted to CHF. Just check the screen before "accept".

Posted by
31473 posts

I normally pay for larger purchases (hotels) or automated purchases (rail kiosks) with a credit card. For things like restaurants, admission to sites or small purchases, I use cash. As Sam mentioned, you'll need to be vigilant to avoid the DCC scam, whether buying something with a credit card or withdrawing cash from an ATM.

I've found the Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted cards. I rarely see AmEx signs, except at large multi-national hotel chains.

Posted by
11289 posts

You can use cash or credit cards - whichever has better rates for you. For instance, at one time my ATM card had no fees for foreign withdrawals, while my credit card charged 3% for foreign use. So, I took out cash for everything I could, including paying for hotel rooms. Now I have a no-fee credit card, so I use that for hotels. I still like to pay cash in restaurants and stores, but that's a personal choice. As long as you avoid the DCC scam as above, you'll be fine with either one.