Do your bank balance a favour and find the most affordable and convenient way to send an international money transfer to Switzerland.
There are close to one million Americans with Swiss ancestry in the USA today, with the largest populations found in the states of California and Ohio. Switzerland is also a popular destination for American tourists looking to go skiing, take a Sound of Music tour or enjoy one of the many travel experiences on offer.
What this means is that there are plenty of reasons why you might need to send money to Switzerland from the USA, such as helping out a cash-strapped, vacationing friend or sending funds to support your family.
Whatever the reason you need to send money internationally, it’s important that you compare transfer providers to find one that offers the most affordable service.
Compare International Money Transfers
Banks versus money transfer services
You might think the best place to go to send money to Switzerland would be your bank — after all, Swiss banks are famous the world over — but bank-to-bank transfers are actually not a great option at all. Banks offer poor exchange rates and high transfer fees when they send money overseas, which can have a detrimental effect on your bank balance and that of your recipient.
Money transfer companies, on the other hand, specialise in handling international funds transfers and can therefore offer much better exchange rates than banks. They also charge lower fees and can guarantee secure and reliable transactions, giving you peace of mind and a better financial deal.
Roger is a professional sportsman 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 method||Bank account deposit||Bank account deposit|
|Processing time||1-3 business days||3 business days|
|Amount received (in CHF)||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 transferring money to Switzerland
- Exchange rates. A good exchange rate is critical to ensuring an affordable transaction, so shop around for a company that regularly offers great rates.
- Fees. Remember that high exchange rates often come with high fees attached, but also keep an eye out for companies that will waive their transfer fees when you send a large amount.
- Transfer methods. Check to see if you can lodge transfers online, over the phone or in branch. Some companies also offer mobile apps to allow for more convenient transfers.
- Transfer options. Some companies will only offer simple one-off transfers; others will offer options like scheduling recurring transactions in advance or placing limit orders.
- Turnaround time. Processing times can range from a few minutes through to several days, so check this feature closely if fast transfers are important to you.
- Minimum limit. If a transfer company imposes a minimum limit on transactions, check to make sure this limit won’t be too high for your needs.
- Pickup methods. Some companies offer bank transfers only; others will also offer a cash pickup option from its branch locations.
- Customer service. Check to confirm whether phone, email and/or online support are available.
How to send money to Switzerland from America
- Online money transfer providers. Companies like TransferMate and World Remit offer this option.
- Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria are three companies that offer this service.
- Bank transfers. Sending funds to Swiss bank accounts is easy but can be costly.
- PayPal. PayPal offers international transfers as part of its digital payment services.
- Checks. International checks are an old-school and slow transfer method but they are effective.
Emergency cash transfers in Switzerland
It’s easy to send an emergency cash transfer to Switzerland with a number of providers, but just be aware of the fact that you will have to pay more to ensure a fast transaction. Higher fees apply to these transfers, as do lower exchange rates in some cases, so it pays to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into. Check the transfer fees and exchange rates closely before you agree to hand over any money.
Cash pickup locations in Switzerland / Western Union / MoneyGram / Ria branches in Switzerland
These three companies allow you to transfer cash which your beneficiary can then pick up from a transfer agent in Switzerland. The details of some popular Swiss cash pickup locations are below, but phoning ahead to check opening hours is recommended. Taking along photo ID and a transaction ID number when picking up cash are also musts.
Travelex Zurich Airport
Landside Between T1 And T2
Open 6am to 9:30pm seven days
Zuerich, Zh 8005
Open: 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Saturday
Rue De Carouge 18
Geneve, Geneve 1205
Open: 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Saturday
Rue De Carouge 29
Geneve, Ge 1205
Open 8am to 10pm seven days
Open: 9:30am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm Saturday
Open: 6am to 7pm Monday to Friday; 8am to 5pm Saturday; 10am to 4pm Sunday
General Money Trading
Cours de Rive 4
Open: 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm Saturday
Rue de Chantepoulet 9
Open: 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm Saturday
Open: Monday to Friday 7:30am to 9:30pm, Saturday 7:30am to 7:30pm
Ria Ginebra (Geneva)
Place Cornavin 14-16
Open: 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm Saturday
Ria Ginebra II
Rue Caroline 5
Open: 8am to 8pm seven days
Tips for picking up cash in Switzerland
- Don’t visit a transfer agent to pick up funds at night if you don’t need to
- Take a friend along to deter thieves
- Only visit a transfer agent in a safe area
- Don’t display your cash in front of strangers
- Don’t carry the funds around for any longer than you have to
- Deposit the money into your bank account as soon as you can
How to send money to Switzerland
If you want to send a money transfer you will need to be willing to provide a range of relevant details to your chosen transfer company. The first step is to supply your name, address and contact information, while photo ID may also be required.
Next, supply your recipient’s name and contact details before providing full details of your planned transaction. The amount you’re sending, the currency you’re sending, and where you’re transferring the funds to will all need to be supplied.
Finally, make sure you keep a hold of any receipt you are given so that you can check up on the progress of your transfer whenever you wish.