Transferring Money from Switzerland to the UK

By 
Russell Gous
Last Edited Oct 16, 2023

Money transfers from Switzerland to the UK are almost as popular as transfers from Spain to the UK or France to the UK.

This is despite there only being around 43,000 Brits in Switzerland (compared to 200,000 in France and close to 100,000 in Spain).

Why is this?

  • Swiss banking is very popular for UK nationals, especially post brexit.
  • Both the UK and Switzerland are financial hubs. Many businesses have dual bank accounts in both countries (not necessarily even British or Swiss companies).
  • Switzerland-UK trade is more significant than ever following a new UK Switzerland trade agreement in recent years, with annual trade totalling £57.6 billion in the four quarters ending Q1 2023.

Currency Exchange Rates

CHF to GBP

Current Rate: 0.8889 GBP

Estimated Bank Rate (2.5% markup): 0.8666 GBP

Provider Rate (0.6%): 0.8835 GBP

Indicative rates only. 2.5% was applied as the bank margin and 0.6% as the provider rates, but we don’t guarantee either.

GBP to CHF

Current Rate: 1.1250 CHF

Estimated Bank Rate (2.5% markup): 1.0969 CHF

Provider Rate (0.6%): 1.1183 CHF

Indicative rates only. 2.5% was applied as the bank margin and 0.6% as the provider rates, but we don’t guarantee either.

Cheap Transfers from Switzerland to the UK?

The cost of international money transfers from Switzerland to the UK is specifically important in this corridor because of the average transfer size.

As we’ve mentioned, many of those sending money from Switzerland to the UK are either businesses or high net-worth individuals who are sending large sums of money.

Swiss banks are not very transparent when it comes to disclosing their international transfer fees and the exchange rates they offer.

However, later in this article, we compare an average size transfer between Zürcher Kantonalbank and one of our recommended providers.

Getting the best exchange rates for CHFGBP transfers can lead to monumental savings and it is not difficult to achieve considering all leading currency brokers in the UK accept Swiss customers and support CHF transfers.

⭐ The 4 Best Ways to Transfer Money from Switzerland to the UK ⭐

#1
UK Switzerland USA EU Currencies Direct: Best Overall for International Money Transfers
Headquarters:
1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AA, UK
97.8% Editorial rating
7,500 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • 96% Positive Feedback from Customers, Since 1996
  • Service Oriented - Specialising in Large Transfers - Friendly Dealers
  • Very Competitive Rates, No Wire Fees
+Read more
1
Currencies Direct
Currencies Direct: Best Overall for International Money Transfers
97.8%
Editorial rating
#2
UK Australia EU Switzerland TorFX: Strong Guidance and Staff
Offices in:
Editorial rating
5,500 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • Headequarters Outside of London - Lower Staff Costs Rolled Over to the Client
  • Quick Onboarding Process and Highly Professional
  • Trading Desk with 100+ Years of Experience
+Read more
2
Torfx
TorFX: Strong Guidance and Staff
Editorial rating
#3
UK EU Australia USA UAE Switzerland moneycorp: Oldest and Most Reputable Foreign Exchange Service
Offices In:
UK, USA, HK, Brazil and multiple offices in multiple countries in the EU. Are Able to onboard clients from Switzerland, which is in the Single Market, through their EU license.
93.2% Editorial rating
7,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£50 / €50 / $50 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • Providing FX Services since 1979
  • Very Recognisable Brand with Excellent Reputation - £36.9in Transfers Annually with Offices in Every Continent
  • Business Specialists
+Read more
3
Moneycorp
moneycorp: Oldest and Most Reputable Foreign Exchange Service
93.2%
Editorial rating
#4
UK EU Canada Switzerland Corpay: 99% Positive Client Feedback
Headquarters:
20 Wood St, London EC2V 7AF
90.6% Editorial rating
4,400 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£1,000/€1,000 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • 99% of its Past Clients Gave the Firm a Positive Review
  • Strong Global Reach with Offices in UK, Europe, and Canada
  • More than Two Decades of Experience
+Read more
4
Corpay
Corpay: 99% Positive Client Feedback
90.6%
Editorial rating

If you need to choose a provider fast, we can recommend using any of the top rated providers listed above.

These providers are consistently cheaper for international money transfers than Swiss banks.

They also have various value-adding services that can provide you with peace of mind that you’re securing the best deal.

Currencies Direct is a global leader in international money transfers, with an annual turnover of £10bn.

They specialise in larger transfers, so your dedicated account manager will be able to provide guidance on correctly timing your transfer to secure the best rate.

Currencies Direct do not have a maximum transfer limit, making it a great choice for Switzerland-UK transfers given the large average transaction size that many customers are looking to transfer.

Which currencies are supported?

While the focus of this article is money transfers from Switzerland to the UK , it’s worth mentioning that currency brokerages are able to handle as many currencies as banks.

UBS advertises it can handle international payments in 120 different currencies and most brokerages are up to par with them.

You can transfer money from Switzerland to the USA, Germany, Italy, Australia, and Japan but also to more exotic destinations like transferring money from Switzerland to the UAE, Israel, South Africa or New Zealand.

How does it work? Is it safe?

Security around banking and safe money transfers is a particularly prominent factor for transfers from Switzerland.

Swiss people know that they can trust their banks but many are less familiar with non-bank services for transferring money from Switzerland to the UK.

It should help you to know that all the best money transfer companies recommended on this page are authorised by the FCA.

Meaning their customer accounts are segregated and they have to comply with international money transfer regulations.

It’s also reassuring to know the background story of these companies – all of which handle billions in currency each year.

They’ve been operating for decades and have helped thousands of individuals transfer large sums overseas.

How and Why Switzerland to UK Transfers Bolstered Since Brexit

The Switzerland-UK trade deal was a “big deal” after Brexit, as the UK-EU trade deal was extremely rocky during negotiations and ended somewhat unfinished, putting a dent on UK-EU trade.

With the current energy crisis in Europe and in the UK, the flaws of that deal are more visible than ever.

As UK-EU trade declined since Brexit, the UK has been making sizable efforts to find itself new trading partners, and found a strong and deep partnership with Switzerland.

The Switzerland-UK trade agreement stipulates there are bilaterally low tariffs on both ends (with most goods and services exempt from tariffs).

Additionally, the agreement enables financial service providers in both countries to onboard customers with ease and with no regulatory hurdles (known as “comprehensive mutual recognition”).

This has bolstered trade between UK and Switzerland since Brexit, with more than twice as much trade in 2021 compared to the previous year. 

Part of that relates to Brits finding a banking safe haven in Switzerland, as well as certain sectors such as British farmers who have pretty much shifted export from the EU (prior to brexit) into Switzerland (post brexit).

This has all resulted in more, and higher-value, money transfers between Switzerland and the UK.

Should You Consider Using a Remittance Provider When Sending Money From Switzerland to the UK?

Whilst there are many well established names in the remittance space, their services are best suited for delivering cash to more remote destinations.

Using one of the more recognised remittance providers such as Moneygram or Western Union for your Switzerland to UK money transfer will work out much more expensive than a currency broker or money transfer company.

Even some of the cheaper remittance alternatives such as Remitly will still be more expensive than the providers recommended in this article.

For this reason, we suggest against using a remittance provider for bank to bank transfers..

Transferring Money from Switzerland to the UK With Different Providers

A bank has two ways of making money when transferring Swiss francs to pounds.

Firstly, there’s a payment fee, which is typically a fixed cost.

Banks are renowned for charging high payment fees, which can amount to, or sometimes exceed 25 CHF per international transfer.

To arrange the transfer with a bank over the phone, you normally have to pay even more.

With Switzerland to UK transfers averaging a higher amount than other popular corridors, it’s likely you’ll want to complete your transfer with the added peace of speaking to a currency expert on the phone.

There are no payment fees with providers like Currencies Direct, Key Currency, or moneycorp.

This ‘zero payment fee’ policy applies regardless of whether payments are made online or over the phone.

Much more important than these payment fees is the FX spread.

This is a variable fee that is calculated as a % of the total transfer.

More specifically, it’s the difference between the interbank exchange rate versus the rate you’re offered by your provider.

Big Swiss banks like UBS and Credit Suisse do not disclose the foreign exchange rates they are offering, so we will use Zürcher Kantonalbank exchange rates as an example.

BankCurrent FX margin for 50,000 CHFGBP transfer
Zürcher Kantonalbank5.06%

As of October 13, 2023, the current markup charged by the bank is ~5% on a medium size transfer (50,000 CHF) from Switzerland to UK, which is somewhat of an average size transfer for this corridor

Meaning an individual or business using this Swiss bank (and supposedly any Swiss bank) would leave more than 5% of each transfer on the table due to a poor FX spread, amounting to 2,500 CHF.

In contrast, popular money transfer service ‘Wise’ runs a very different payment structure.

They do not add an FX spread for CHF to GBP transfers and offer the FX exchange at the mid market rate.

Instead, Wise makes money by charging a variable fee, which for the equivalent 50,000 CHF to GBP transfer, totals just 244.40 CHF (markup of just 0.49%).

Therefore, by choosing Wise over a Swiss bank, you could pocket 2,255 CHF. A huge saving!

This may make a provider like ‘Wise’ the preferred choice for those making smaller transfers.

However, as an online only platform, you would not benefit from a dedicated account manager.

This is why our top 3 recommended providers for Switzerland to UK transfers are all currency brokers.

In addition to charging no fees, and offering very competitive exchange rates, you’ll receive first class service from their expert teams.

They can help you best time your transfer in an effort to protect yourself from large currency swings, which in the worst cases, can have a cost impact that dwarfs that of FX spreads.

By choosing one of our recommended currency brokers, you’ll also have access to a number of additional tools to give you even more security around your transfer.

Step 2: Register With Your Chosen Provider

Regardless of which financial service you choose, you will have to complete what’s known as a ‘Know Your Customer’ ID and verification check.

Payment companies are required to put all new customers through this process, in order to adhere to anti-money laundering regulations, as per money transfer regulations in Europe.

We provide more details on the KYC documents required to sign up with a money transfer service here.

Fintechs typically offer a slicker solution than banks, using purpose built solutions where customers can simply take a ‘selfie’ with their ID held next to their face.

Step 3: Format the Details of Your Bank Transfer from Switzerland to the UK

As a newly registered customer with your chosen provider, you’re now authorised to trade and ready to format the details of your transfer.

This can either be completed online, or over the phone if you’ve chosen to use a currency broker.

As we mentioned previously, providers like ‘Wise’ offer an online only solution.

Either way, it’s very important to input the beneficiary details correctly and double check these are accurate.

Not only will this help prevent delays, it also avoids the worst case scenario of transferring your money to the wrong UK account.

All UK bank accounts have an International Bank Account Number (IBAN).

You’ll need to enter this IBAN when completing your transfer.

If you’re paying an invoice, the IBAN should be listed under the payment details.

If transferring money between your own accounts, an IBAN generator can help you find the correct details.

UK IBANs are formatted as follows:

IBAN Format for Transferring Money From a Swiss to a UK Bank Account

A wire transfer to a GBP account from Switzerland is formatted with an IBAN that looks as follows:

22 Alphanumeric characters

GBkk BBBB SSSS SSCC CCCC CC

GB = Country Code

kk = Check Digits

B = First four of BIC

S = Sort Code

C = Account No

There may also be a requirement to provide a SWIFT code.

Each bank has a unique code, we’ve compiled a list of UK SWIFT codes here.

Now you’ve confirmed the beneficiary details, simply enter the amount of CHF you wish to convert, alternatively you can enter the amount of GBP you want the beneficiary to receive.

With this figure confirmed you can now lock-in the exchange rate.

By doing so, your request to convert Swiss francs to pounds now becomes a legal contract.

Step 4: Settle Your Deal so your funds can soon hit your UK Account

In order to settle your trade, your chosen provider will supply their account number as well as any payment reference details to include

Inputting the correct payment reference can help speed up your Switzerland to UK money transfer.

Transfers are generally completed within a matter of hours, often faster with Instant SEPA credit transfers.

However, on some occasions transfers can take up to 1-2 working days.

⭐ Best Way to Transfer Money From Switzerland – UK⭐ [For Each Use-Case]

Below we have recommended the most suitable payment provider for the two most prominent reasons for transferring money from Switzerland to the UK.

Overseas Property Purchase / Paying Overseas Mortgage

Currencies Direct have a great range of FX hedging tools that can be very beneficial for buying a property overseas.

Their team of currency experts can talk you through some of the most suitable of these products, like a forward contract, which you can use to secure today’s exchange rate for a set period of up to two years.

Currencies Direct also offers forward contracts on regular automated payments.

Meaning you can benefit in a similar way if you already own a property in the UK and are needing to regularly make overseas mortgage payments.

Supplier Payments (B2B)

Switzerland-UK trade is on the rise.

moneycorp is MTC’s no.1 rated business money transfer provider.

They offer a market-leading online platform, supported by an expert team of dedicated relationship managers, and FX options for corporate customers.

Whether you’re an SME or larger organisation, moneycorp are extremely experienced and well positioned to help reduce your foreign currency risk.

Cheapest Way to Send Money to the UK

The total amount you are looking to transfer is usually the determining factor in identifying the cheapest method.

  • Transfers Under 20,000 CHF: Based on purely cost alone for smaller transfers in this range, we’d recommend Wise as they’ll often prove to be the cheapest.
  • Transfers Over 20,000 CHF: Currencies Direct and TorFX. You will make huge savings versus using a bank by choosing one of these two providers for larger transfers. You’ll also have access to expert staff to guide you through the entire process. You may even be able to negotiate the FX spread to secure a better rate.

Final Thoughts: International Bank Transfer From Switzerland to the UK

From our research, we can confidently state that Swiss and UK banks provide some of the most expensive international payment solutions in the world.

Thankfully, there are a number of specialist currency brokers and online money transfer companies that offer far more cost effective options.

Our recommended providers are all very well regulated and have extensive experience in supporting transfers within the Switzerland-UK corridor.

Do not be put off by having to register with a new international payment provider.

This is a one off, pain free process, that will set you up to make significant savings on both your first Switzerland to UK transfer, and for any further international transfers in the future.