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I live in Germany and will soon receive monthly payments in CHF. How can I best transfer this money to my local bank account (EUR)?

My local bank charges 20 € per conversion and uses an unfavorable exchange rate where I’d lose an additional ~10 € per month as compared to the official exchange rate, so I’d lose approx. 30 € per month if my employer would pay me directly. Is there any way to avoid these fees?

Being able to withdraw CHF in Switzerland and/or pay cashless in CHF would be a nice extra, but is not of great importance to me.

  • Might your employer have a more efficient means of exchange at their disposal? – Chris W. Rea Jun 22 '18 at 20:05
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TransferWise would be worth checking out. For some currencies they let you have a 'local' (in your case CH) account and then can do the transfer/exchange when you like but at more like market mid-rate and the fees are low. I have no pecuniary interest. It has simply been a service that has saved me enough bank fees for international transfers. Happy for this to be deleted if it is seen as 'promotion'.

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    No, that is useful advice, just that TransferWise also requires you to have a Swiss Bank account because you have to make the deposits yourself. One can not receive payments from others on the TransferWise account, which is why this is no solution in my particular case. Still helpful for others: +1. – dessert Dec 19 '18 at 7:23
  • oh right. maybe this feature is only available in some countries eg transferwise.com/gb/borderless – petednz - fuzion Dec 19 '18 at 18:57
  • as an NZer i know have transferwise 'bank accounts' in uk, au, usa, eu etc. I just need to give clients those account numbers, so my AU clients pay their AU$ locally, i can then convert it to my nz account – petednz - fuzion Dec 19 '18 at 18:58
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I know people living in Switzerland, and they can take out Euros at ATMs (located inside Switzerland) for a good conversion rate and fee-free.

Seems like you can ask some banks in Switzerland for their details of that, and simply open an account with one.

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You could open an account with an FX broker like OANDA. I don't particularly endorse them or have any experience with them, good or otherwise, but they have existed for a while, and they are a well-known name.

You could use their brokering service to trade your CHF for EUR in the liquid market, in which case you would know that you're getting the best price available. I don't know what OANDA charges for maintaining such an account. It might be a monthly fee or commission-based. Since you're probably not interested in lightning-fast execution, but rather just in not being ripped off by your bank or credit card company, the most basic account would probably be fine.

OANDA also has a non-trading service that simply converts money in one currency in one account into a different currency in another account. They will quote you an exchange rate online and I'm betting it will be closer to the liquid price than other services, simply because FX trading is all they do all day. If you compare the live market price to their price and don't like what you see, you can always walk away.

  • Nice idea, unfortunately it seems like I‘d still need a Swiss bank account to deposit, which makes the simple thing overly complicated. – dessert Jun 23 '18 at 6:48
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    Oh, I was taking that for granted. How were you planning on being paid in CHF if you don't have an account that accepts CHF? Were you going to have a direct deposit to your German bank that included a conversion to EUR? Can you ask your bank to open a CHF account for you instead? Also, have you asked the company what other employees in your situation typically do? Perhaps they have a Swiss bank that they regularly work with for this scenario. – dg99 Jun 23 '18 at 17:55
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There are various ways, some of which are so obvious that you should have thought of them.

  • Talking to your bank often helps. I run a smallish IT business. I live in Poland (PLN). My customers may be in EUR. I have a separate EUR account (as you could have a separate CHF account even with a German bank). I can change small amounts, using the official daily rate etc. I can change large amounts (10k EUR) through their Forex trading desk for fees that are low. 9k actually is something you could also do with some savings - just save up CHF for a couple of months. And "your bank" means maintaining a bank account in Switzerland. There's nothing wrong with that.
  • Use a service like Transferwise, Oanda etc. who have significantly lower fees for money conversions. Transfer fees are very low in the SEPA area but it may be worth having a local Swiss account for that.

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