In this article, we’ll tell you …
  • … how to avoid being taken advantage of when exchanging money
  • … how to tell astronomical exchange fees to bog off
  • … how to avoid losing your hard-earned holiday cash to shady ATMs

A pocketful of sunshine (and foreign cash)

If you live in Switzerland, you have the privilege of coexisting with the world’s soundest currency. However, as soon as you cross the Swiss border, the franc won’t get you very far. So, for better or for worse, you’ll need to introduce your wallet or your debit card to another currency – unless your plans for this summer happen to be a road trip from Basel to Bern.
Travelling to the eurozone? The euro is the official means of payment in 20 countries. Nevertheless, there are seven EU countries that still use their local currency. There are more than 160 currencies in circulation around the world. For example, did you know that you use the lari to pay for things in Georgia and the lempira in Honduras? In Guam, you can use the US dollar, but where on earth is Guam, anyway? Sorry, we got distracted for a moment there … let’s get back to the main focus of this article.

Tips from Yuh to keep your dream trip from turning into a nightmare

We’ll be honest: We don’t really know where you can find the best mojito, the best party, or the most delicious fusion cuisine, but as far as money goes, we actually know what we’re talking about. And when it comes to avoiding insanely high fees, we’re here to help you keep your money where it belongs – with you! So, read on to learn how to get the best deals on foreign currency exchange.
1. Kill 13 birds with one stone, thanks to the Yuh app
The best thing about your Yuh account is that it comes with 13 currencies already pre-set in the app – so you can change currencies as easily as you change your clothes. What does that mean for you? It means you pay a fixed exchange fee of 0.95% of the converted amount for CHF – USD – EUR – GBP – JPY – AUD – CAD – SEK – HKD – NOK – DKK – AED – SGD. Simply go to Pay > Exchange, then enter the currency and how much you want to convert. Click “Continue” and you’ll immediately see how much the conversion will cost. Plus, you can always see the latest conversion rate, which is updated regularly (roughly every 20 seconds) for you. Everything is fully transparent, so you know immediately how much you’ll get for your money.
Maybe you have a sweet old uncle in Australia hiding some cash under his mattress and he’s happy to exchange your Swiss francs for free because you’re family. Otherwise, we hate to break it to you, but it’s practically impossible to exchange currency free of charge. Often, conversion fees are somewhere between 2% and 3% – not exactly cheap. In extreme cases, you might even have to pay 10%. If you’re curious about the rates on a particular day, simply head to Google. An extra tip from Yuh: Sometimes extenuating circumstances make it impossible to avoid shelling out more than you’d like to change your money – that’s why it never hurts to plan for exactly this type of situation and have a little extra cash on hand. Just saying …
2. Strike while the conversion rate is hot
With Yuh, you get to feel like a finance expert: If you believe that the conversion rate will improve in the near (or distant) future, meaning that you could get more for your money, you can set your own personal target conversion rate in the Yuh app whenever you like. Simply go to Pay > Exchange and click “Target exchange”. Yuh will automatically make the exchange when your target rate has been reached. All you have to do is kick back and relax. Of course, this feature is worth checking out all year round – you don’t necessarily have to go on holiday in order to use it.
3. Pay like a local!
When you pay by card, foreign card readers will always ask you if you want to pay in the local currency or the currency of your home country. Make sure to choose the local currency, no matter what! This way, you’ll only pay your bank’s conversion fees. If you go for the tempting option of paying in your home currency instead, the cost can quickly add up. On the one hand, this requires “dynamic currency conversion” or DCC – this service comes with fees that can be up to twice as high as your bank’s conversion fees. On the other, the merchant can also charge their own fees or add a surcharge on top of the DCC for these transactions. In the worst-case scenario, you can really get swindled.
4. Cash is king
Nowadays, boomers are pretty much the only ones still paying for things with cash. Paying cash for your cappuccino is practically postmodern. If someone happened to be filming you, you’d probably go viral on TikTok for it. Okay, we’re clearly kidding, but all jokes aside, it’s not a bad idea to be ready for anything when you’re travelling abroad. No matter where the journey takes you, you might be tempted to forget about cash and rely solely on plastic. However, sometimes there are situations where paying by card is simply not feasible: In some countries, you might have to pay for your entry visa in cash; it’s possible that restaurants, shops or the national park you’ve always wanted to visit only take cash; and some days, it might even be the case that the nearest ATM is out of order (or out of cash), and that, by the time you find one that’s working, the queue goes on for – what feels like – miles. It makes sense to have a few euros or dollar bills with you so you’re covered in these and other, similar situations. Last but not least, there may be times when you can’t pay by card or with a major currency. Now what? Be sure to do your research before your trip and find out if it’s worth having banknotes in the local currency with you at your destination. An insider tip from Yuh: If your research indicates that it would be better to cancel your flight than to show up without cash in the local currency, we recommend going to Change Migros. They can help you change your money into more than 80 currencies at attractive rates. Try it for yourself and let us know what you think!
5. Stay away from dodgy ATMs
Sometimes it can’t be helped and you need cash there and then. As in, right now. But be careful: The more tourists there are in a particular location, the greater the chances that you could end up at an ATM that will take much more money out of your account than you could ever imagine. When travelling abroad, be wary of most ATMs – like the yellow-and-blue Euronet ATMs, for example. If you don’t have any other options, make sure to select “refuse conversion” when taking money out. This is the only way to ensure that you’ll get the conversion rates at the terms offered by your home bank. It’s not unusual for shady ATMs to charge hefty fees of up to 35%, meaning you’ll need to pony up an additional 35 EUR when you take out 100 EUR. Ouch! But even if you only use trustworthy ATMs (from major banks), it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on the fees (always read the fine print!). After all, if you have to pay Yuh’s fee of 4.90 CHF for foreign withdrawals plus a local ATM fee, it could cost you a pretty penny by the end of your trip. Plus, make sure to stay away from any scammers who approach you on the beach offering to convert your cash, and always be sceptical of exchange bureaus at tourist hotspots.
6. Save for your holidays
If you’re the kind of person who scrimps and saves months in advance for your well-deserved holidays, then Yuh has a special treat for you. If you go to “Save” in the app, you can add your own personal saving project. Once you’ve done that, you can see exactly how much you need to set aside every day, week or month in order to reach your goal by a certain date. Your grandmother in Germany is sending you some euros to beef up your holiday budget? Then you might be interested to know that these euros will be credited to your Yuh account just the way they are. They won’t be automatically converted into Swiss francs. Instead, they will end up in the euro dashboard in the app. And all with zero fees. By the way, this applies to all 13 of the pre-set currencies in the Yuh app.
7. Do your homework
In any case, it’s always a good idea to read up on your holiday destination before your trip. There’s no need to shell out on a fancy guidebook – you can learn a lot for free from blogs or on social media and, in the best case, maybe even make some new friends. If you really have to use cash while on holiday abroad, don’t forget to google the best and/or cheapest ways to take out money or where you can find the most trustworthy exchange bureaus.

And by the way:

One last pro tip that has nothing at all to do with money: the best way to find out whether or not you truly like someone is to go travelling with them 😉
On that note, enjoy your holiday!