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Using a credit card in Switzerland

Know the potential fees and what’s accepted before you take off.

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Fact checked

Credit cards are accepted throughout Switzerland — one of the largest banking centers in the world. And unlike most other European countries where Visa and Mastercard are most popular, in Switzerland you’ll also find widespread acceptance of Discover and American Express credit cards as well.

Despite that, you may still need cash for taxis and small purchases.

If you’re taking along a variety of cards, debit cards and cash, read our full guide on spending money while traveling in Switzerland.

Which credit card issuers are accepted in Switzerland?

Switzerland has “high merchant acceptance” for Visa, Mastercard and even Discover. Some merchants may accept American Express, but don’t rely on it.

For cash withdrawals, look for Six Multipay and Post Finance for all cards. Amex cardholders can make cash withdrawals from ATMs of Euronet, Credit Suisse and UBS.

Merchant acceptanceATM acceptance
Visacheck mark iconHighcheck mark iconHigh
Mastercardcheck mark iconHighcheck mark iconHigh
American Expressexclamation point iconMediumcheck mark iconHigh
Discovercheck mark iconHighcheck mark iconHigh

Potential credit card fees in Switzerland

Depending on your credit card and how you use it, you could incur:

  • Foreign transaction fees. You could pay up to a 3% fee for every transaction. That’s $150 for every $5,000 spent abroad.
  • Currency conversion fees. Paying in US dollars at ATMs and vendors could set you up to pay a dynamic currency conversion fee.

Can I incur both fees?

Yes. Avoid this by using a credit card without foreign transaction fees or by using local currency.

Compare travel cards to use in Switzerland

Consider a credit card without foreign transaction fees to save money on purchases made in Switzerland. You can also try a cobranded airline credit card to save money on flights, checked bags, in-flight purchases and lounge access.

Name Product Foreign transaction fee Annual fee Purchase APR Filter values
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
None
$95
15.99% to 22.99% variable
Earn a signup bonus worth $750 plus up to $50 statement credit towards groceries with this popular travel card.
American Express® Gold Card
None
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express
None
$550
See Pay Over Time APR
One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $4,500, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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Compare up to 4 providers

If you often travel to Switzerland, you could save money with the following cards:

Swiss International Air Lines and United Airlines are members of the Star Alliance. This means you can earn and redeem United miles on Swiss flights between the US and Switzerland.

You can save money on your purchases abroad as the two United credit cards have no foreign transaction fees.

Chip and PIN credit cards

Chip and PIN is the most common card payment method in Switzerland. They require a four-digit PIN to make cash withdrawals and to pay for purchases. Be sure to get a PIN from your bank before departing.

Is it safe to use my credit card in Switzerland?

Credit card usage in Switzerland is very safe, but as always, use caution:

  • Select ATMs with care. ATMs attached to a bank are less likely to have a card skimming device. Also, you can more easily recover your card should it get stuck in the machine.
  • Take two cards. If something happens to your primary card, you’ll have a backup in your wallet.
  • Keep your card in sight. Prevent card misuse by keeping an eye on your card when you pay for your purchases.

How to prepare before traveling to Switzerland

  • Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. This will save you up to 3% of the amount of every transaction made abroad.
  • Visa and Mastercard are universally accepted. And you can bring along your American Express and Discover cards.
  • Notify your bank before you travel. Otherwise, your bank may consider your activity outside the US fraudulent and block your card.
  • Get your bank’s phone number. This can help you resolve any card-related issues fast.
  • Get a backup card. This can be a lifesaver if you lose your primary card.
  • Get some cash. Not everyone accepts credit cards. A cash withdrawal could be an option.

Should I use my credit card to get cash in Switzerland?

In general, carrying cash for taxis and incidentals is wise as not every merchant accepts credit cards. If you make a cash withdrawal, however, you’ll likely incur a cash advance fee and APR from the moment you make the withdrawal. Use a debit card to avoid these fees.

Some ATMs impose a withdrawal limit of 5,000 CHF. Make sure you know your bank’s limit before making a withdrawal so you don’t exceed either maximum amount.

You can learn more about spending and fund management with our travel money guide to Switzerland.

Do taxis in Switzerland accept credit cards?

Most taxis in Switzerland only accept cash. You may find a few that do accept cards, however. Ask the driver before getting in their car or ask your hotel to call a taxi that accepts credit cards.

Alternatively, call an Uber ride to pay with your credit card through the app.

Bottom line

Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Switzerland. This includes all major credit card providers, including Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. Be sure to also carry some cash for incidentals, taxis and small purchases.

Avoid cash advance fees and an APR by using a debit card for cash withdrawals. Use a travel credit card without foreign transaction fees to save money on purchases made abroad.
See more guides on using a credit card in other countries.

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