While travelling to Switzerland, I am getting only 1,000 Franc notes in my country. Should I take these notes, or change Euros to Francs in Switzerland? Is it easy to get change for a 1,000 Franc note in Switzerland?

  • No comment on CHF1k notes, but it certainly is the case that using CHF 100, or CHF 50 notes in general shops is commonplace in a way that isn't in many other countries with comparably valued currencies.
    – Brondahl
    Dec 10, 2019 at 16:31

4 Answers 4


I would like to complete the other answers. I agree that using 1000 notes in Switzerland is an issue, especially with small shops, restaurants (if the restaurant is not expensive) and filling stations (for them, this is most of time not accepted for security reasons).

But you can use your 1000 notes in supermarket, like Migros or Coop, even to buy something cheap. I worked for a while there and it was OK to get the money back to someone who buy for 50.- with a 1000.- note.

If you are traveling in Switzerland, then you are likely to travel by trains. You can certainly pay with 1000 notes for this too.


In many places, changing 1000 CHF can be an issue. I recommend having some smaller money. 200 CHF notes should not be a problem for example.

If you arrive on a weekday, you can break down the note on any of the many banks. There is at least one in Zurich at the airport (and others). Otherwise, there are also plenty of banks downtown anywhere.

If you arrive on the weekends or after hours, I would recommend you to take some small change of Euros with you, that is accepted in most places already and is good for emergencies.

  • Of course, it depends what you're paying for, but unless it's the hire car or a week's hotel, you're effectively better off getting smaller notes.
    – Benjol
    Jul 29, 2013 at 13:59
  • @Benjol I would think that people accept 1000' notes for bills above 1000, but I do not think that this is the question here.
    – uncovery
    Jul 30, 2013 at 1:17
  • 1
    Even for less: I think that you could pay for anything about 700.- without anyone raising an eyebrow.
    – Benjol
    Jul 31, 2013 at 5:45

As in many other European countries you do not really need to have a lot of cash on you when you arrive. A debit or credit card compatible with European ATMs is all you really need. There are plenty of ATMs at the airport, and using a credit card to get local currency usually gives you a better rate than going through a Bureau De Change. Ticket vending machines for public transit accept cards, as do most shops. I often go days without paying anything in Cash.

You thus actually can land at Zürich airport without any Swiss Francs on you without any problem.

  • The other side of the coin is: if you already have cash on you, you can avoid any charges that maybe incurred, when using ATMs, restaurants etc
    – Simon
    May 9, 2013 at 14:26
  • 2
    I know, but I have found out that getting money locally from an ATM is in almost all cases cheaper than getting it before leaving. So I nowadays land at foreign airport without any local currency on me, and then just head for the first ATM... May 9, 2013 at 15:29
  • @KristvanBeslan Ok fine. I usually do it the other way, get all the cash before i leave. Preference I guess :)
    – Simon
    May 9, 2013 at 15:52
  • Exception (from this weekend): if you turn up with strictly no change, you won't be able to unplug the baggage trolley at the airport :)
    – Benjol
    Jul 31, 2013 at 5:47
  • You're right. However, I've never needed a luggage trolley myself. Jul 31, 2013 at 14:59

Switzerland is the banking capitol of the world: it's the only country I've visited where withdrawing 1000 CHF from an ATM gives you one bill*; were the smallest denomination available at ATMs is often 50 CHF. There are two sides to this:

  1. In a supermarket the catcher won't blink at the sight of a 1000 CHF note. The Swiss are more accustomed to huge bills than just about anyone, so you'll probably be able to change bills easily.

  2. ATMs are everywhere, why not use them? Also, you shouldn't show up in a tiny village anywhere and expect them to change a 1000 CHF note, including Switzerland.

So it's a mixed bag. My personal advice is to use the ATMs to avoid carrying so much cash.

*ok, it's true that no other country will give you CHF, I'm talking about bills of equivalent value

  • I think "won't blink" is an exaggeration. I live in Switzerland and I have never held a 1000 CHF note in my hand as far as I can remember. Possibly 200 CHF, but even those are rare. 100, 50, 20 and 10 are the common notes. For expensive stuff, it's the norm to pay by card. I can remember several times when I think cashiers were surprised I was paying hundreds of francs in cash (in 100CHF notes). There are some annoying ATMs that don't give anything smaller than 50, but most have twenties too.
    – Nobody
    Dec 14, 2018 at 15:16

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