Daily necessities in Geneva

 

 

Necessities such as information about driving in the city, banking details, and tax information are things that can be easy to miss when you move to a city like Geneva, however, it is quite useful to learn the basics about applying for a Swiss driver's license, types of bank accounts, and even rules about trash disposal in the city.

Driving

You can drive in Switzerland on a valid international driving license for one year, but you will need to apply for a Swiss driving license if you plan to drive for a longer period of time.

It is not necessary to own a car in Geneva if you’re going to use it primarily within the city. Public transport within the city is good and well-connected with trams, bus lines, taxis, and trains. However, a car would be useful if you want to drive to other cities during the weekend. Cars in Switzerland are relatively affordable.

Banking

The official currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc. Banking hours are generally from 8.30am to 4.30pm Mondays to Wednesday, and Fridays. On Thursdays, banks are open till 6pm.

You will need to have a Swiss bank account for many transactions such as rent and salary payments. Opening an account is simple and easy to do – just go to a bank of your choice and tell them you would like to open an account. Note that you can open a foreign currency account in Switzerland, however, these don’t usually pay interest.

With most accounts, you will receive a free account card (Bankkarte - carte bancaire). You can use this card for cash withdrawals from ATMs and other transactions on your bank’s electronic terminals.

International Banks

Local Banks

Trash disposal

Switzerland is one of the top recyclers in the world and people are expected to sort their household refuse before disposal. People discouraged from wasting by being charged for household rubbish disposal and collection. You are supposed to gather rubbish in bags, which have a payment sticker attached. Fines for not paying the disposal fee can now be up to CHF 10,000 in some municipalities. 

Value Added Tax (VAT) / Goods and Services Tax (GST)

The VAT rates in Switzerland are:

  • 7.6% standard rate
  • 2.4% reduced rate (e.g. food, medicine, newspapers, books and feed)
  • 3.6% lodging services