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Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland

Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland

Updated on Monday 21st September 2015

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Opening-a-Bank-Account-in-SwitzerlandSwiss bank accounts

Switzerland has an extensive network of banks ranging from small regional ones to large banks that are spread worldwide and each one of them has its own requirements when someone wants to open a bank account. Swiss banks are famous for their privacy and stability and fall under the regulations of the Federal Banking Commission.

Types of bank accounts in Switzerland

Banks provide different types of Swiss bank accounts depending on whether the customer is an individual or a legal entity, or if the customer is a resident or non-resident. Residents can opt for current accounts that are used for daily transactions such as shopping or bill payments, salary accounts and savings accounts that usually offer higher interests that the other two types of bank accounts.

Other types of accounts usually employed by non-residents that want their assets protected are the famous numbered accounts and dormant accounts:

  • -        the numbered account is the type of Swiss bank account that has numbers or a code associated with it instead of the owner’s name. However, part of the bank’s personnel will know who the account owner is;
  • -        the dormant account is the type of secret account that becomes “dormant” when the account owner passes away and no one else knows about it being unable to claim its content. If after 10 years no one claims the account, the bank will report the account to the banking ombudsman that will investigate who the account might belong to.

 The procedure for opening a bank account in Switzerland

Swiss bank accounts can only be opened by personally going to the chosen bank or by postal services or e-mail because certain documents will be required, thus making an online application impossible. It is important to know that each bank in Switzerland has its own procedures, but these are some of the usual documentation and questions clients will be required:

  • -       notarized copies after the client’s passport;
  • -       proof of the money to be deposited in the Swiss bank account, such as company documents, contract after selling a property or a business or any other financial document that could prove the provenience of the money according to the anti-money-laundering provisions;
  • -       a recent utility bill  as proof of the client’s residency;
  • -       contact information;
  • -       the client could be also asked what he or she wants to do with the money.

Another important aspect is that each Swiss bank will require a minimum amount of money to be deposited in the account.

The advantages of Swiss bank accounts

Swiss bank accounts are among the safest in the world due to the secure banking system the country has. Swiss banks are also known for their privacy policy as the law prohibits banks to reveal certain information about a client’s account without his or her consent. Switzerland also has enabled the Depositor Protection Agreement which means that all types of money deposits including securities are protected in case a bank goes bankrupt. Swiss banks are also required by law to have sufficient capital.

If you want to start a business and need a bank account you can contact our Swiss lawyers for information.



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