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Currency Exchange in Geneva

Many tourists need to change money upon arrival or departure to/from Geneva. Where is the best exchange rate in Geneva? There are several things to consider when changing money - commission, additional services and the spread - divergence between exchange rate and interbank "middle" rate (see last paragraph for explanation).
Some exchanges, such as Global Exchange at the Airport offer money-back service, buying back the change you didn't use for no fee.
Due to legal legislation, be prepared to show your passport or ID card if changing more than CHF 5000.

Migros exchange:

Migros exchange, operating since 1961 in several places around Geneva, is generally having best exchange rates, for all major world currencies. Better rates apply if changing over CHF 1000.

Commission: 0%
Spread CHF/EUR: 1.86% (bellow CHF 1000); 0.72% (above CHF 1000)
Spread CHF/GBP: 3.1% (bellow CHF 1000); 2.3% (above CHF 1000)
Spread CHF/USD: 2.5% (bellow CHF 1000); 1.5% (above CHF 1000)
Spread CHF/SEK: 7.2%

rates at changing money at more than CHF 1000 usually improve by 0.01.

Change du Leman - Change du Mont-Blanc

Money xchange right behind the border Moillesulaz, in France, changing any currencies from and to euros.

Commission: 0%
Spread EUR/CHF: 3%
Spread EUR/JAP, EUR/AUD: 6.9%
Spread EUR/SEK, EUR/DKK, EUR/NOK: 21.9%

Currency Exchange at Gare Cornavin

The exchange at Gare Cornavin, central train station, is inside the Services SBB CFF FFS. There are 2 other exchange offices outside of the station at Rue du-Mont Blanc (get to bottom level of train station and walk down, out of Cornavin Shopping) - Cambio and Lyland, both located on the same street and in the direct competition, offering same exchange rates.

Gare Cornavin SBB Exchange

Train station exchange is located on all major train stations across Switzerland in the Centre voyageurs CFF office, changing wide range of various currencies. Better rates for exotic currencies start already above the CHF 300 level.
SBB exchange also offers interesting services, such as ordering exhange online to be ready to collect at the counter, or delivering foreign currency to your home address.

Commission: 4CHF
Spread CHF/EUR: 2.8% (bellow CHF 2000); 2.1% (above CHF 2000)
Spread CHF/GBP: 6.3% (bellow CHF 2000); % (above CHF 2000)
Spread CHF/USD: 4.8% (bellow CHF 2000); 3.1% (above CHF 2000)

Location: Centre voyageurs CFF, Gare Cornavin, Pl de Cornavin
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 7h30-20h Saturday 7h30-19h Sunday 9h-17h50

Cambio Change

Cambio exchange, located just outside of train station on the righthand side, opposite Starbucks, next to Kebab Istanbul, offers good exchange rates in all majour 17 wolrd currencies. For the bolders of it's loyalty card, even better rates apply.

Commission: 0%
Spread CHF/EUR: 1.7%
Spread CHF/GBP: 2.7%
Spread CHF/USD: 2.3%

Address: Rue du Mont-Blanc 19
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8h30-19h Saturday 8h30-17h

Lyland Finance Change

Walking down the Rue du Mont-Blanc on the left side is Lyland Change Club, offering money exchange in all major world currencies.

Commission: 0%
Spread CHF/EUR: 1.7%
Spread CHF/GBP: 2.7%
Spread CHF/USD: 2.3%

Address: Rue du Mont-Blanc 22
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 8h30-19h Friday: 8h30-20h Saturday 8h30-17h; Summer time change: June-September: Monday-Friday: 8h30-20h


Geneva Airport Exchange

There is 1 money exchange provider operating at Geneva Airport - Global Exchange; and one SBB Exchange at the joined train station.

Global Exchange

There are 5 exchange offices of Global Exchange at Geneva Airport: 3 at arrival hall at the bottom floor and 2 at departure all at the top floor - both at tranzit and public zone - before and after boarding pass control; changing money in all major world currencies and offering some interesting services making it worth consideration:

Buy-back - For changing money of value over CHF 400 (approximately), the Money-back guarantee means that Global Exchange will buy back from you all your unused currency at the same rate as you changed it. Up to 50% of original amount and up until 50 days.
No fee - For changing money of value over CHF 800, in addition to Money-back guarantee, there is no exchange fee.

Commission: CHF 5
Spread CHF/EUR: 4.5%
Spread CHF/GBP: 5.5%
Spread CHF/USD: 5.5%

Location: Geneva Airport, arrival and departure floors
Opening hours: Arrival offices: Monday-Sunday 6h15 - 22h45 Departure offices: Monday-Sunday 6h15 - 21h30

SBB Exchange

As mentioned above, SBB exchange is located on every major train station in Switzerland, also at the train station Geneva Airport , which is situated in the east wing of the airport (turn left upon leaving arrival gate). Exchange rates and services are same as at Gare Cornavin SBB Exchange.

Commission: 4CHF
Spread CHF/EUR: 2.8% (bellow CHF 2000); 2.1% (above CHF 2000)
Spread CHF/GBP: 6.3% (bellow CHF 2000); % (above CHF 2000)
Spread CHF/USD: 4.8% (bellow CHF 2000); 3.1% (above CHF 2000)

Location: Centre voyageurs CFF, Geneva Airport Train Station
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday : 7h30-20h15


Geneva ATMs exchange rate

Alternative to changing money is withrdrawing money from ATMs, which are widespread all over Airport, train station and Geneva. Most common brands of ATMs include UBS, Postomat, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Credit Agricole, Raiffaisen and others.
Inform yourself at your bank what are it's exchange rates and withrdrawal fees.


What is 'the spread':

Simply said spread is hidden commission on exchange rate. While most money exchanges offer 0% commission, they still have to make profits somehow. The way how they do it is that they are selling or buying valuts for fee slightly different (worse) than interbank "middle" exchange rate. That difference - between actual rate and interbank rate is called spread.

Example: On day of writing this article, Migros Exchange is selling 1 euro for 1.0980 CHF and buying 1 euro for 1.0580 CHF, while interbank exchange rate is 1.0757 euro. From this we can calculate buying spread as (1.0757-1.0580)/1.0757 = 1.65% and selling spread as (1.0980-1.0757)/1.0757 = 2.07%. It is a very good deal, fair provision for it's service. For simplicity, we take average number of those, which is (1.0980-1.0580)/(2*1.0757) = 1.86%.



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