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Money in Switzerland

We know that one of the first cultural shock when moving to Switzerland is working out how to pay for things, so we thought we would explain the Swiss monetary system.

Bank Account: Obviously you need to start with a bank account, and this will require a valid ID or passport and proof of residence in Switzerland. Know that here there is no interest return on a checking account.

We have previously written about the different banks you can choose from in Switzerland.

Switzerland still is very much a cash paying society, although it is offering more and more cashless solutions you will want to have a debit card to withdraw money to pay for the little things in life (think parking meters for example).

Credit Cards: mastercard and visa are the most common cards accepted here. American Express is still around but because they charge the businesses quite high transaction fees not all shops accept them.

Most cards are now available with a swipe system so that you can easily pay with them, and transactions under CHF 50.- usually do not require to enter a pin code.

Cashless: Regarding paying without cash, Twint is the local system whereby you can pay transactions with your phone and/or reimburse friends when you go out to dinner together for example.

Cheque Books: There are no cheque books in Switzerland. People transfer money from one bank account to another, and it is not unusual to hand out your personal account IBAN number as a way of getting paid.

Payment Slip: Most of your bills will come with an orange or red payment slip which you can use to pay the bill with; either online or by going to your bank/post office.

Buying on credit: People do buy on credit but it is not the same prevalent culture as in the States or the UK for example.

Saving Account: Switzerland currently has one of its lowest interest rates ever so you will be hard pressed to find a saving account offering you a good interest rate on your savings.

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Livingin organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.