I'm going to Zurich for a weekend and planning to go to one or two restaurants, buy basic groceries in a supermarket and possible do a little bit of downtown shopping, but not extravagant stuff. I will also need to pay for local public transport tickets, including travel from the airport to downtown and back.

Can I get by with my German Maestro Card, a credit card and Euros, or should I carry cash CHF with me?

When paying with EUR, which I'm sure will work in some places, do I get change in CHF?

  • 4
    When paying with any type cash, and assuming they accept it, you will get change in CHF.
    – Aganju
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 15:50
  • @Aganju that's also what I have experienced in other Euro-zone bordering countries like Denmark and the Czech republic, so I assumed it would be the case. Thanks for confirming.
    – simbabque
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 15:53
  • I've expanded your question to be a bit more broad.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 17:55
  • The meastro card is not a Credit card and it might be more accepted in some shops.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 17:56
  • @JonathanReez your edit changes the scope of the question. I don't want to know specifically if my CC is accepted. In fact, I would prefer the Maestro over the CC because the CC has a higher non-Euro payment fee than the Maestro. But what I really want to know is if I have to change money at some point, or if I can do without. I also think a mayor city will have a different answer than a whole country, and the timeframe matters, which is why I was specific. I'll roll back your edit. If you think it's too localized, please explain it and we'll try to find a consensus. :)
    – simbabque
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 18:34

2 Answers 2


You will be able to get by with credit card + Euros. However, you may run into situations where Swiss cash may be needed, so when in doubt, ask. Note that you'll be able to pull CHF out of ATMs with the Maestro card/credit card if needed. Most of my recent experiences are from living in a different Swiss city, but I have been in exactly your situation myself when visiting Switzerland while living abroad. I cannot speak for Maestro, as I've never used that.

  • Public transport: No problem, you can pay with credit card at the ticket machines. Note that return public transport tickets within the canton of Zurich are valid for 24h, so you may only ever have to buy two tickets for a week-end.
  • Taxis: Ask before you get on. Nowadays most taxis will take credit card, but not all of them.
  • Restaurants: Most restaurants, especially fancier ones, take credit card, but there are some smaller/alternative places that don't. Check for the credit card sticker when you go in. Don't expect to be able to pay by card at a food stall.
  • Shops: Supermarkets and fancier shops will all take credit cards, and they will usually take Euros at 1:1 at least (returning change in CHF). Again, some smaller/alternative stores may not be equipped for credit cards, and there may be a minimum charge before they accept credit cards.
  • This is exactly the kind of answer I wanted. Thank you. I'll accept your answer when I get back and know if it was correct. If I experience something else, I will self-answer.
    – simbabque
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 13:00
  • @simbabque: You're welcome. Switzerland is a surprisingly cash-based country, but fortunately, plastic is getting more and more common. Thus, you can expect to be able to pay even large sums in cash without anybody batting an eye.
    – Jonas
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 11:02
  • This is pretty much what we encountered. We changed about 100 Euros to CHF in Germany and the Reisebank gave us coins as well, which were useful for the public transport ticket machines. Our hotel asked if we want to charge our credit card in CHF or in EUR, and we went to two restaurants that accepted cash Euros.
    – simbabque
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 18:59

You should be able to get by with a credit card. That being said, it is always a good idea to have some local currency on hand for emergency use.

See here for more details directly from the Swiss tourism website. It does mention taxis, specifically, as requiring cash.

  • 2
    Do you have a source for the should be able claim?
    – simbabque
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 17:52

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