English is not an official language of the Swiss Confederation. This translation is provided for information purposes only and has no legal force.
Federal Act on Currency and Payment Instruments
of 22 December 1999 (Status as of 1 January 2016)
The Swiss currency unit is the Swiss franc. It is divided into 100 centimes.
The following payment instruments are considered to be legal tender:
- the coins issued by the Confederation;
- the banknotes issued by the Swiss National Bank;
- Swiss franc sight deposits at the Swiss National Bank.
1 Everyone is obliged to accept up to 100 Swiss regular issue coins in payment. Regular issue coins, commemorative coins and bullion coins are accepted at nominal value without restriction by the Swiss National Bank and the public cash offices of the Confederation.
2 Everyone must accept Swiss banknotes in payment without restriction.
3 Swiss franc sight deposits at the Swiss National Bank must be accepted in payment without restriction by any person holding an account there.
1 The Confederation may operate a federal mint.
2 The Confederation shall mint and issue regular issue coins in order to meet demand for payment transactions.
3 The Federal Council shall decide which regular issue coins are to be minted, put into circulation or withdrawn from circulation.
4 The Federal Council shall decide on the design and the features of regular issue coins. It shall determine the denominations in agreement with the Swiss National Bank.
5 It shall regulate the exchange of coins by public cash offices of the Confederation and the elimination of damaged, unsightly and counterfeit coins.
1 The Federal Mint may provide commercial services to third parties provided these services:
- are closely connected with its main tasks;
- do not impede fulfilment of the main tasks; and
- do not require any significant additional material or human resources.
2 Commercial services shall be provided on the basis of a cost and performance accounting system at cost-covering prices as a minimum. The department responsible may authorise exceptions for certain services where there is no private sector competition.
1 The National Bank shall provide the required quantities of regular issue coins for payment transactions and shall take back without restriction the coins no longer needed against reimbursement of the nominal value.
2 In order to guarantee the supply of cash, the National Bank may issue regulations on the manner, place and time for the receipt and delivery of coins.
3 Destroyed, lost and counterfeit coins shall not be replaced.
1 For numismatic requirements and investment purposes, the Confederation may mint special quality regular issue coins, as well as commemorative coins and bullion coins. These coins may be issued above nominal value.
2 The responsible government department1 shall decide on the nominal values, designs and features of commemorative coins and bullion coins. It shall also decide what commemorative coins and bullion coins are to be minted, issued and taken out of circulation.
1 Currently the Federal Department of Finance
1 The National Bank shall issue banknotes commensurate with the demand for payment transactions. It shall determine their denominations and design.
2 It shall take back without restriction the banknotes no longer needed against reimbursement of the nominal value.
3 The National Bank shall withdraw worn and damaged banknotes from circulation.
4 In order to ensure cash distribution, the National Bank may issue regulations on the manner, place and time for the receipt and delivery of banknotes.
1 The National Bank shall provide compensation for a damaged note, provided that its series and number are recognisable and the holder presents a part that is larger than half or proves that the missing part of the note has been destroyed.
2 The National Bank shall not provide any compensation for destroyed, lost or counterfeit notes.
1 The National Bank may recall note denominations, types and series.
2 The public cash offices of the Confederation shall accept the recalled notes in payment at their nominal value for a period of six months following the first notice of recall.
3 The National Bank is required to exchange the recalled notes at their nominal value for a period of 20 years following the first notice of recall.
4 The equivalent value of notes not presented for exchange within this period shall accrue to the Swiss Fund for Aid in cases of Uninsurable Damage by Natural Forces.
In accordance with the National Bank Act (NBA) of 23 December 19531, the National Bank shall specify the conditions under which institutions offering payment transaction services may maintain Swiss franc sight deposits.
1 Anyone who issues or puts into circulation coins or banknotes denominated in Swiss francs in contravention of the provisions contained in Article 99 of the Federal Constitution and in this Act shall be liable to a custodial sentence of up to three years or to a monetary penalty.1
2 Offences shall be subject to federal jurisdiction/.
Commencement date: 1 May 20003