Useful Tips

How to open an account in a Swiss bank: step by step


Do not confuse a Swiss bank account with a personal Swiss bank account. Swiss private bank accounts offer high quality offshore banking services. For a variety of reasons, corporations, firms, or even individuals choose a Swiss personal bank account. The Swiss banking system is the most prestigious in the world. Private bankers build serious relationships with their customers, helping them to get the best financial conditions. Private banks in Switzerland usually offer their services to customers who are able to deposit at least $ 300,000 USD or have a regular income in the business sector.

Who can open an account in a Swiss bank?

This is really available to everyone.

But nevertheless, certain reasons why bank representatives may refuse do exist. For example:

Swiss banks carefully monitor their reputation.

Not for nothing that they all over the world have earned the title of the most reliable banking system!

Therefore, if a depositor is involved in any political scandal, he may be denied service.

The same can be said about the source of the client’s money.

If the bank representatives have doubts that they were received honestly, most likely they will not deal with you.

  • In addition to the previous paragraph: if there is reason to believe or even evidence that the money has been stolen, the Swiss bank will refuse to open an account.
  • Can persons permanently residing outside Switzerland open an account with a Swiss bank?

    Yes, but not at all banks. In case the credit institution nevertheless accepts non-residents into its customers, there are some peculiarities in comparison with the procedure for opening an account in a Swiss bank by persons who have a residence permit in Switzerland. Before opening an account, Swiss banks are required to verify the identity of the client and the source of origin of the capital.

    How to choose a Swiss bank in which to open an account?

    In the minds of many, a “Swiss bank” is a specific institution.

    Of course, this is not so.

    There are more than 300 banks in the country.

    What is worth knowing to choose the one with which to cooperate?

    UBSAG and CreditSuisseGroup are the choice for those who value stability.

    These banks are considered the best in the industry.

    They are the largest, which means they give more guarantees.

    An analogue of the regions in Switzerland is called the cantons (only 26 pieces).

    There are 24 cantonal banks in the country.

    Each is tied to a specific area and acts according to its legislation.

    There is a category of banks in Switzerland that does not resort to the use of the media.

    These are private banks recognized by the oldest financial organizations of the system.

    There are 13 of them in the country.

    They focus on customer deposit management.

    While ordinary banks pay more attention to loans and deposits.

    Can I open an account in Switzerland to pay for property costs?

    Buying a property in Switzerland by a non-resident is not a self-sufficient basis for opening a bank account. Therefore, this point should be thought in advance. If opening an account is not an end in itself, ongoing real estate expenses can be paid by a Swiss management company or lawyer, with whom you have an agreement.

    What account can I open with a Swiss bank?

    • personal - allows you to use any bank services and personal funds in the account,
    • savings - recognized as a particularly safe version of the account, and used for the usual accumulation and accrual of interest on the deposit amount,
    • investment - it is worth opening to those involved in investing and buying securities.

    Can I open an account using the Internet?

    It is not possible to open an account in a bank using the Internet independently.

    At least because of the security policy.

    To become a customer of a bank, you need to accurately identify your personality.

    And the Internet does not provide such an opportunity, both from the legal side of the issue, and for banal technical reasons.

    However, this does not mean that you cannot personify the client in absentia.

    This is possible due to the receipt by the bank representatives of a certified copy of any suitable identification card.

    You can transfer documents to the destination through intermediaries: a branch of a banking institution, a representative office, a financial specialist, a consul, a notary public.

    In the future, in addition to the document, you will need to confirm the address through correspondence.

    How can I open an account while in my country?

    For remote opening, as mentioned above, it will be necessary to confirm the identity using an official document (passport, driver's license).

    You should not hope that they will not be treated so strictly and it will be easier to act only because you are a resident of another country.

    In order to activate the process of opening an account with a Swiss bank, the client must contact his subsidiary “point”.

    This includes issuing banks, subsidiaries, representative offices and, of course, branches.

    If none of the above is available in your country, and you want to open an account in a particular bank of your choice, you will have to contact it directly.

    At the same time, keep in mind that each specific financial institution will have its own account registration system, rules for its use and the minimum amount for the contribution.

    What documents are needed at the bank to open an account?

    In addition to your personal reliability, the bank is also interested in the fate of the money that you will deposit into your account.

    So it’s worth being prepared that you will need documents that indicate the source of the money’s origin.

    For example, a contract for a real estate transaction, information about the sale of shares or other securities, a certificate of inheritance by you.

    In addition to confirming directly the person, the bank will need documents with other basic information: date of birth, occupation, contacts, data on the place of residence.

    The specific list of required documents is different for each individual bank.

    One thing is certain: all submitted documents will need to be certified.

    Any notary from your city of residence can act as a witness.

    What questions can a Swiss bank ask?

    In this case, they may be more “deep” than the usual questions from the state banks of your country.

    However, taking them too seriously is also not worth it.

    Rather, this is a conversation from the category of “compulsory routine”.

    Among the questions asked may include:

    1. Do you open a deposit for yourself?
    2. What way did you get the money that you plan to put in the bank?
    3. How do you characterize the current monetary situation?
    4. What kind of business do you do?
    5. Have you encountered problems transferring money?

    Can I open an anonymous account in Switzerland?

    One of the constant accompanying cinematic accounts at Swiss banks is their supposedly complete anonymity.

    However, any more or less legally savvy person understands that this is impossible.

    Becoming a client is real, only by confirming your identity. And this already contradicts the concept of anonymity.

    Nevertheless, there is a close concept - a numbered deposit account.

    Its essence is that in addition to “opening” your person to the bank, in the future you will not have to advertise it.

    Instead of using the name, any operations with your money will occur under the “heading” from the personal assigned number.

    This, in its way, is maximum anonymity.

    But here there is a pitfall.

    Do not use a deposit number account for international transfers.
    Indeed, when making this operation, you must provide personal information.

    Is it safe to open accounts in Swiss banks?

    Where did the rumors about the absolute reliability and security of Swiss banks come from?

    The fact is that any such organization in Sweden undergoes a licensing procedure without fail.

    And all this according to the highest quality standards of the Basel Commission.

    They regulate the issue of liquidity, the size of the authorized capital and many other banking issues.

    This is already an indicator of high quality.

    But for Switzerland, these rules and requirements are tightened twice - thanks to the categorization of legislation.

    That is why using banks in this country means entrusting money to the most reliable depository.

    What other advantages exist in choosing a Swiss bank,

    look in the video:

    Popular misconceptions about Swiss banks

    We dealt with some misconceptions, but a few more remained.

    Consider the most popular:

    Putting money on a deposit in Switzerland is very profitable and reliable.

    The issue of reliability was considered above.

    As for the interest rate, there is nothing to please here.

    For the national currency, it is 18-24%, that is, as in most other state banks of other countries.

    But for the dollar the figure is very sad - 6-8%.

    For many, it becomes an unpleasant surprise to have such an unusual item for a Russian person as the “minimum balance”.

    For banks in Switzerland, it is quite large - from $ 200,000.

    Although some organizations lowered the threshold to $ 5-10,000.

    Information about the contributor may be disclosed.

    This is true, but if you are a citizen of the United States of America.

    For legal and legislative reasons, banks do not have the right to hide information requested by official structures about residents of this country.

    How to open a bank account it’s still better to find out in a particular organization.

    After all, each has its own characteristics and requirements.

    7 advantages of opening an account in Switzerland

    The word "Switzerland" for many people is almost a synonym for the word "Reliability". As a rule, the task is to open an account in Switzerland, at least independently, at least with professional help, appears at the same time with an understanding of why this is necessary. If the latter is not yet, then our article will help you. Key facts about jurisdiction are summarized in the video:

    It is an amazing fact that, being between large and powerful states, and with virtually no natural resources of its own, the country was able to become one of the most successful in the world. This was made possible thanks to competent public administration and investment in the following sectors of the economy:

    • Engineering,
    • Watch industry
    • Agriculture
    • Energy
    • Education and the labor market,
    We will not dwell on each in detail, we note only the fact that, it would seem, even such a trifle as chocolate or watches make a significant contribution to the development of the country. And this is no coincidence, because 95% of all watches produced are exported outside the country, and chocolate is valued all over the world.

    The banking sector is also a hallmark of jurisdiction. Having decided to open a deposit, get a bank card or open another product, you can count on 7 of the following advantages:

    • Banking system stability,
    • High level of service,
    • Very strict banking secrecy,
    • Minimum financial risks
    • The ability to open multicurrency accounts, including in rubles,
    • An individual approach to each client of the bank,
    • A wide selection of banking institutions with a long history and high status in the international arena.
    Behind all this beautiful picture lies one depressing fact - if you are a foreigner who does not have a residence permit in Europe, or you own a foreign company in an offshore, for example, in the UAE, then not all banks will open doors for you.

    Criteria for choosing a Swiss bank

    There are 261 banks in the jurisdiction. TOP 5 largest assets:

    • Credit Suisse AG,
    • UBS AG,
    • UBS Switzerland AG,
    • Raiffeisen-Gruppe exkl. Notenstein Privatbank AG,
    • Credit Suisse (Schweiz).
    Some organizations, such as UBS, divide their business into domestic and international, creating specialized units for this. But far from all banks in Switzerland, opening an account will be profitable. In addition to reliability, when choosing, focus on the following parameters:
    • Works with foreigners
    • Support in English or another foreign language,
    • Serves onshore and offshore companies,
    • Does not show or has low minimum deposit requirements,
    • Perhaps remote or urgent opening,
    • It works with various currencies, including rubles,
    • Provides remote access
    • It is controlled by state bodies and is included in the main associations.
    If you do not live in Switzerland or in Europe, the number of branches and ATMs is not an important criterion for selection. It is enough for the bank to have a branch in a large city, preferably in Geneva. As well as the opportunity to issue an international card that works in the country you need.

    Participation in associations is one of the indicators of development of an organization. Successful companies are controlled by state FINMA and are included in:

    • Swiss Bankers Association (SBA),
    • Swiss Exchange
    And if the bank is a member of the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Telecommunication) system, then customers can count on a full range of services for international activities, including currency payments.

    In the country, 4 languages ​​are officially used, but in many banks oriented to foreign customers, employees with knowledge of various foreign languages ​​work. Sometimes even Russian-speaking. Their task is to make banking services and products as convenient and affordable as possible for any client, including a foreigner.

    Absolutely universal offers do not exist, but it is ideal if a banking organization offers services in the following areas:

    • Accounts for individuals and legal entities,
    • Debit and credit cards,
    • Investment products,
    • Professional advice
    • Lending.
    In this case, you will receive a full range of services in one place.

    Can I open an account remotely or online

    Only some major players in the banking sector have such an opportunity. If we are talking about CIM, then yes, such an opportunity exists.

    Despite the apparent simplicity of filling out an application for opening an account, in fact, the process without qualified assistance threatens to turn into a complex one. Firstly, the bank may have transparent service conditions (relevant for February 2019, download this link), but even before submitting an application, you need to thoroughly understand them. Secondly, remote opening is not accessible to everyone and not always. Thirdly, the correct filling of the application affects not only the positive / negative decision of the bank, but also the further fate of your money.

    For remote opening, you will need Internet access and a webcam. The bank manager will call you without fail to complete the registration procedure. Thanks to this, you can access banking services without leaving your homeland.

    In addition to remote opening, a personal visit is also available. Ideally, if before the visit you make an appointment in one of the offices, which are located in three cities: Geneva, Vollerau and Lugano.

    What is an activation payment?

    This is only found in jurisdictions with increased customer interest and tight control. In this case, this means that for opening you will be required to deposit a certain amount into the account. For example 5000 (at a private expense) or 10000 (account at a company) Swiss francs. After opening an account, the deposit is only 1000 francs, you can use the rest of the amount at your discretion.

    In practice, it looks like this:

    • The bank approves the customer,
    • Issues a temporary or permanent IBAN,
    • The client transfers the initial (activation) payment,
    • The client gets access to all products and services.
    If you want to avoid this, then consider Latvia, which is often called "Eastern Switzerland" because of the reliability of the banking system.

    Opening an account in Switzerland is not as difficult as it might seem. Justification of the goals of the discovery, initial payments and other features - all this is inextricably linked with the reliability of the system, as it ensures its stability. Ultimately, this is good for you.

    Our company will help you become the owner of a Swiss account. Contact us for an initial consultation, and together we will find the best solution for you personally. For communication, use any convenient method from the "Contact Us" page or the form below.

    Will I need to make any minimum deposit to the account? If so, what are the sizes of such a minimum contribution?

    Again, depending on the selected bank, the size of the minimum deposit or minimum balance may vary.

    Persons having place of residence in switzerland, as well as persons crossing the Swiss border with certain regularity for business purposes - “Grenzgänger”, can open an account with most banks in Switzerland without obligation to make any minimum deposit (for example, UBS, Credit Suisse, Raiffeisen, Postfinance and cantonal banks) .

    Persons Residing outside Switzerland (with the exception of the already mentioned category of constantly crossing the border for business purposes - “Grenzgänger”), are entitled to open an account with a Swiss bank by depositing a minimum amount in the range of 500'000 to 700'000 Swiss francs (a specific amount is negotiated in each individual case ) Поскольку в связи с кризисом в России многие стремятся открыть счет в швейцарском банке с целью сохранения своих активов, финансовые дома Швейцарии склонны к повышению минимального порога для открытия депозита. At the beginning of 2017, the minimum amount for opening an account with a Swiss bank rose in many cases to 1 million francs.

    Can I open an account with a Swiss bank via the Internet, mail, phone, email or fax?

    Many banks have the opportunity to apply through electronic means of communication. Nevertheless, the bank will always ask for the originals of the documents necessary for opening an account (for more details on the so-called “opening an account via the Internet” read here).

    If any intermediary promises you to open an account without having to provide the original documents, we advise you to refuse its services.

    What documents will be required when opening an account with a Swiss bank?

    In any case, you will need a passport, an identification card (ID) or other official document that allows you to establish your identity. The Bank may also request a document on the origin of the funds that will be deposited into the account, as well as on the fact that tax has been paid on the money deposited. At the same time, the Bank does not carry out a full verification of the information in the document, but only confirms the fact of its authenticity.

    It is important to note that from year to year credit institutions impose increasingly stringent requirements on the specifics of documents and their composition.

    Is it possible to open an account in a Swiss bank in euros or US dollars?

    • Read also: In what currency should savings be stored?
    You can open an account with a Swiss bank in francs, euros and US dollars. By the end of 2015, it is planned to make available the opening of an account in Switzerland in RMB. Graphics:

    All Swiss banks provide services for opening accounts in Swiss francs (CHF), as well as the most commonly used world currencies - Euro (EUR), US dollar (USD) and British pound sterling (GBP). An account with some banks in Switzerland may be opened in RMB.

    Many ATMs (especially those located at airports and train stations) issue cash in Swiss francs and euros. However, if the account is opened in Swiss francs, a fee is charged for withdrawing the euro, the amount of which depends on the formula set forth in the agreement on opening a bank account.

    How confidential is the information on opening an account with a bank in Switzerland?

    In Switzerland, there is a legislatively secured banking secrecy. Thus, Articles 3 (2) (c) and 47 of the Federal Law on Banks and Savings Banks dated 8.11.1934 (Bundesgesetz ueber die Banken und Sparkassen) impose on banks the obligation to keep confidential information about their customers. Current and former employees of banking institutions, in case of violation of these requirements, are subject to criminal liability (art. 47 of the Law on banks and savings banks, art. 305ter of the Swiss Penal Code).

    Currently, there are no trends regarding the weakening of banking secrets of Switzerland in relation to the CIS countries (read more here).

    How safe are the funds in the account at a Swiss bank?

    Switzerland has one of the most stringent legislation regarding the stability of the banking system. Swiss banks, in comparison with their counterparts from the USA and the EU, have withstood the international financial crisis. The reform to implement the “too big to fail” rules put Switzerland in first place in the world in terms of the requirements for the level of its own reserves of large banks.

    Paradeplatz in Zurich. Graphics: public domain

    Swiss banking law also provides for other guarantees of the safety of funds in the account. In the event bank bankruptcy proceedings begin, deposits of up to 100'000 (until December 22, 2008 - up to 30'000) Swiss francs per person fall into the privileged 2nd group. This means that payments under these requirements precede most of the others; accordingly, the probability that the funds of account holders will be paid in full increases sharply.

    Values ​​(precious metals, cash, works of art, etc.) stored in bank safes do not fall into the bankruptcy estate during bankruptcy, remain owned by their owners and are returned upon request.

    Is it possible to use a credit card associated with an open account?

    All Swiss banks provide Mastercard, Visa, and American Express credit card services denominated in Swiss francs, euros, or US dollars. For persons permanently residing outside Switzerland, the obligation to keep a minimum amount on the account is often provided (usually equal to the monthly withdrawal limit from the card). As an alternative to credit cards, a Maestro debit card can be offered to the customer.

    How much does a Swiss bank account service cost?

    There is no charge for opening an account with a Swiss bank. Account management, various banking operations (bank transfers, credit card servicing, etc.), as well as administrative expenses (e.g. correspondence) are subject to payment of fees, the amount of which varies from bank to bank and is ultimately determined in an individual contract basis. For a comparison of the costs of servicing the account of persons residing in Switzerland, see here.

    Depending on the deposit amount due interest (see below) may be less than the cost of maintaining a bank account.

    Are interest payable on deposit amount?

    Theoretically * all Swiss banks should pay interest on the deposit amount. Interest on Savings Deposit (Sparkonto) higher than private contribution (Girokonto) - read more about comparing interest on deposits. Since a foreigner is also entitled to open an account with a Swiss bank for investment purposes, the percentage of return may be higher than the usual deposit. At the same time, the risk of an investment account is higher.

    * It is important to emphasize that at present, Swiss banks practically do not pay any interest on customer accounts. This is due to the general situation in the financial markets, which strengthens the Swiss franc. However, since such a strengthening is not beneficial for local exporters, the National Bank of Switzerland introduced negative interest on balances on correspondent accounts that exceed a certain threshold. Accordingly, private banks, being forced to pay negative interest themselves, cannot offer significant interest to customers (at the moment, even + 0.5% is considered a rather high percentage on deposits in Switzerland).

    Since banking secrecy is in effect in Switzerland (see above), interest (not the amount of the invoice, but only interest!) Is taxed at 35%. The deposit holder is entitled to a refund of this amount when filling out a tax return in Switzerland. In a situation of negative interest, this tax is not levied, since there is no taxable item.

    Can I close an account with a Swiss bank at any time?

    A private deposit (Girokonto) can be closed immediately after receiving the corresponding application from the account holder. In the case of a savings deposit (Sparkonto), an agreement with the bank may provide for a waiting period of 3, 6 or 12 months from the moment of receipt of the application for account closure. How you can close an investment account in a Swiss bank is prescribed in the contract on an individual basis.

    What tips does the Switzerland Business Portal give at the choice of a Swiss bank to open an account?

    Since much depends on the individual needs of the client, the choice of bank should be made in each individual case. However, there are several general rules that can be followed in any situation.

    Firstly, since in most cases the opening of an account in a Swiss bank is carried out with the help of specialized companies, you should carefully approach the choice of such a company in order to avoid scammers and non-professionals. In general, you can advise companies registered in Switzerland, whose leaders have a Swiss education and speak local languages ​​(German, French and / or Italian).

    Secondly, choose a bank in Switzerland that has a good credit rating from well-known agencies (for example, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s). Theoretically, any bank registered in Switzerland has a significant margin of financial stability due to the requirements of banking legislation. So that you do not spend too much time, Switzerland Business Portal maintains a list of banks that do not open accounts for non-residents.

    Thirdly, in most cases, for reasons of economy, it is not recommended to break down the account / deposit amount into smaller ones and place them in different banks in Switzerland.

    Fourth, think about whether you want to have access to absolutely all financial instruments that are in the modern financial world (for example, the ability to buy shares on the stock exchange), or if you need a standard set (for example, account / deposit + credit / debit map). In the first case, you should look at the Swiss banking giants - UBS or Credit Suisse, in the second - at regional or local banks, which, nevertheless, provide their services to foreigners who do not live in Switzerland. The fewer additional services included in the proposed package, the lower the expected cost of maintaining the account.