Where I can sell old currency

What to do with foreign currencies and old banknotes?

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They lurk in many a drawer: exotic banknotes from past holidays or maybe even a bundle of old Swiss necessities under the mattress. We'll tell you what to do with it.

Moderation: Dani Fohrler, editor: Maria Kressbach

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Leaving useless banknotes lying around at home doesn't do much good. In certain cases you can exchange such “useless” money for Swiss francs. You can find out whether and how this works, or what else you can do with it, here.

Current foreign currencies: spend during the holidays!

  • You need euros again and again. You can safely keep such banknotes at home and save them for the next trip abroad.
  • It gets difficult with exotic currencies. If you want to exchange these back in Swiss francs from the bank, high fees are charged. In addition, some banks do not change exotic currencies back because the demand is too low.
  • Tip: The SBB money exchange service is the most straightforward in this regard. SBB pays out over 50 currencies and can also buy them back on request. However, fees are also charged here.
  • Switching back is therefore usually not worthwhile. It is best to spend the foreign currency during the holidays. Tip: Always change small amounts in the holiday region so that there is not too much left in the end.
  • If you still have foreign currency with you before you go home, you can spend it at the airport, for example for souvenirs for loved ones. So you can still make someone happy with it.
  • Or you donate the rest of the holiday money. At the airports there are collection boxes where you can throw in excess notes and coins. The proceeds from the boxes at Zurich Airport, for example, go to the Red Cross, WWF and the SOS Children's Village.
  • If you missed the donation boxes, you can donate the notes and coins directly to the organization.

Lire, D-Mark and Co: some old foreign currencies are still exchangeable

  • After the introduction of the euro, the respective old national currencies lost their validity. However, some old notes and coins can still be exchanged for euros. For others, the deadline has expired, this money is definitely no longer worth anything. A corresponding list can be found in the table below (picture gallery).
  • The disadvantage: the old currencies can only be exchanged at the respective national bank. So you have to combine the currency exchange with a trip to the relevant country. A list with the national banks of the various euro countries can be found here.

Old Swiss banknotes

  • If Swiss banknotes are recalled, they can be exchanged for their full face value for a period of 20 years from the recall date.
  • A whole series of Swiss banknotes was recalled on May 1, 2000 (see picture gallery below). This series can still be converted into valid money until April 30, 2020.
  • However, this expiration date could soon be abolished. That is definitely the wish of the Federal Council. SRF News reported about it.
  • Old notes can only be exchanged directly at the Swiss National Bank (SNB). You can find out how this works in this information sheet from the SNB.
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