Find the quickest and cheapest way to make an international transfer from the US to Switzerland.
World First International Money Transfers
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- Enjoy competitive exchange rates.
- Get even better exchange rates with forward contracts and limit orders.
- Receive weekly updates on market exchange rates.
Compare international money transfers to Switzerland
Banks versus money transfer services
We use our banks to take care of all our other financial needs, so surely we should use them when we need to send an international money transfer, right? Not necessarily. While major US banks offer money transfer services, they usually offer less competitive exchange rates coupled with high transfer fees.
You can save money by using a money transfer company that specializes in handling overseas money transfers, offering attractive exchange rates and affordable transfer fees.
Case study: Roger sends money to Switzerland
Roger is a professional athlete based in the United States. He wants to send a Christmas gift of $2,000 to his parents back home in Bern, Switzerland, but he knows that sending the money through his bank will be unnecessarily expensive. He decides to calculate the costs involved in sending the same amount of money through two well-known money transfer companies.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 0.97 CHF||1 USD = 0.96 CHF|
|Transfer options||Bank account deposit||Bank account deposit|
|Transfer speed||1-3 business days||3 business days|
|Total CHF received||1,940 CHF||1,920 CHF|
As you can see, the first company charges a lower transfer fee and also allows Roger to send an extra 20 CHF.
How to compare transfer companies when sending money to Switzerland
Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
- Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
- Payment and delivery options. Some transfer companies allow you to pay with a credit card online, by phone or through an app. Others offer agent locations for cash payments and pickups. Also ask how your recipient can receive your funds: bank account, cash pickup, mobile wallet and more.
- Transfer speeds. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pickups, often in minutes. If you have more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
- Transfer limits. Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.
- Flexible transfer options. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
- Customer support. Most companies offer customer service by internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.
Foreign exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. Most countries’ exchange rates are flexible, which means they can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Options for sending money to Switzerland from the US
- Bank transfers. Many major US banks can safely wire your funds to countries around the world. Banks rely on existing links between banks and banking systems worldwide. However, a downside is the frustratingly high fees and weaker exchange rates you’ll receive by going through your bank.
- Online money transfer services. These specialists offer more affordable transfers than banks do, allowing you to quickly and easily manage your transactions from home. With competitive exchange rates and lower fees, you can send funds from your bank account. Many also allow you to pay with a credit or debit card.
- Providers with cash pickup. Trusted providers like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the key advantage of giving your recipient fast access to the cash you send — sometimes within minutes. You can often pay online or at one of thousands of agent locations worldwide. However, services typically cost more than an online transfer specialist and vary by where you’re transferring your money and how you’re paying for it.
- PayPal transfers. Not just for online purchases, PayPal offers transfers to more than 100 countries and supports multiple currencies. Its exchange rates are often better than those you’ll get from a bank but not quite as strong as rates from money transfer companies. PayPal calculates its transfer fee as a percentage of the amount you’re sending — meaning it’s often better for sending smaller amounts of money.
- International money order. You can get this type of money order from your bank and send it overseas to your recipient, who then cashes it in with their own bank. While more secure than a personal check, it’s a slower option than using an electronic transfer. It also costs a little more — you’ll have to purchase the check, and your recipient may be charged a fee by their own bank cashed.
How to send money to Switzerland
Whether you send money through your bank or a money transfer provider you’ll need to first register for an account with a provider, supplying your name, address, contact details, proof of ID and information about your selected payment method.
Keep a record of any transaction reference number you receive so that you can review the progress of your transfer.
What are the ways that I can send money to Switzerland
- Bank transfers. Many major US banks will allow you to send money to Switzerland.
- Money transfer providers. Providers like Ria and World First can help you quickly and easily transfer your money online.
- Providers with cash pickup. Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to send funds for cash pickup at agent locations.
- PayPal. Electronic payment giant PayPal allows you to send money from the US to Switzerland.
- Checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or US Postal Service.
Emergency cash transfers in Switzerland
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to Switzerland — for example, if a friend traveling through the country loses their wallet. When you need to transfer funds urgently, your fastest possible transfer will often be your most expensive option. Carefully review the exchange rate and transfer fee against your needs so that you understand exactly how much it will cost you.
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Tips for picking up cash in Switzerland
- Whether picking up funds in Switzerland or anywhere else around the world, take a few simple safety precautions to prevent yourself becoming a target for thieves.
- Call ahead. Learn the company’s business hours and choose a safe time to pick up your cash. Daylight hours are best.
- Bring a friend. Carrying money when alone can be dangerous. Ask a friend to come along.
- Deposit your money immediately. The likelihood of losing your money to theft or simple carelessness grows the longer you have it with you. Go straight to a bank and deposit your cash as soon as possible.
- Keep your cash hidden. Place your money in your purse or wallet before leaving the office. Carrying cash out in the open could make you a target.
To get the best deal when making a money transfer from the US to Switzerland, compare the benefits and features of competing services before selecting a provider.
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