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Opening a new bank account is nothing like what we had in the past, including the long lines and tons of paperwork. Instead, most Swiss banks, like many other banks, allow you to open an account online.
Before we go any deeper, it would help to point out that this also works best for non-residents as it saves you the time and money incurred when traveling.
Here’s how to open a Swiss bank account:
- Consider your eligibility.
- Find a suitable Swiss bank.
- Choose your preferred type of bank account.
- Prepare your documents.
- Contact your desired bank.
- Submit the application forms.
This article guides you step by step on opening a Swiss bank account.
1. Consider Your Eligibility
The first step is to consider your eligibility to open a Swiss bank account. For non-residents, you must be 18 years and above. Some banks also restrict foreigners from opening accounts based on political situations.
Additionally, you will need a valid residence permit to open a bank account in Switzerland as a foreigner.
2. Find a Suitable Swiss Bank
Different banks charge differently for account opening and maintenance, along with the varying minimum deposits. Carry out detailed research, and understand the different Swiss banks and how they operate.
There are many banks in Switzerland, but not all offer accounts to foreigners. Lastly, you might want to find out if the desired bank has a local branch in your country or is in partnership with any banks in your country.
3. Choose Your Preferred Type of Bank Account
After doing your research, and are familiar with how the various Swiss banks work, you’ll want to select a manageable bank account.
The most common types of Swiss bank accounts include:
- Current accounts: Like regular accounts, you can receive payments and pay your bills.
- Joint accounts: These types of accounts are owned by two parties who have full access to the funds unless they decide otherwise.
- Savings accounts: These are used for savings.
- Investment accounts: As the name suggests, they are used for investing.
Others include numbered Swiss bank accounts and dormant accounts. When choosing a bank, ensure the bank you choose provides services in a language you are familiar with, which makes it easier to do business with the bank.
4. Prepare Your Documents
When applying for a Swiss bank account, you’ll need to provide your personal information, including your name, date of birth, address, and citizenship.
Documentation is an essential step, and the bank needs to verify your identity, source of finances, and employment details. Here are documents needed for opening a Swiss bank account:
- Passport/National identity card: For non-residents or ex-pats, you'll need to show your identity using a passport. National ID card if you're a Swiss resident.
- Bank statement from your previous/current bank: Any Swiss bank needs to verify your income source to ensure it is crime-free. They may request previous bank statements or a letter from your employer as solvency proof.
- Proof of address: You need to provide utility bills, bank statements, or official communication documents within an issued time frame to prove your address.
For residents, a residency card will be issued as proof. For non-residents, ensure that you provide notarized documents or an apostille stamped document to prove they are authentic and can be trusted.
5. Contact Your Desired Bank
The real process now begins after you get everything ready. It's always good to be familiar with the process before contacting the bank, which reduces the amount of time you must wait, and hastens the opening process.
It's easier to carry your documents and visit the bank if you are in Switzerland. That makes the process a whole lot easier. If you are doing this online and are miles away, you can contact the bank online.
Reach out to them and request an application pack. The bank will provide someone to assist you and guide you through the process. This step is crucial, so ask anything you didn't understand during your research.
The bank will give you more information on the requirements and the limitations if any exist. Some banks will need you to appear at the bank to finalize the process physically.
If that is the case, they will let you know, which can give you time to make travel arrangements. However, most banks will require you to send the documents online, and that's it.
If your home country has a local branch, the bank will direct you there to finalize the process.
6. Submit the Application Forms
Once you receive the application pack, fill out the details as accurately as possible. Then send the application forms and other required documents to the bank.
There are various ways to submit your documents to the bank based on your location.
- You can send them to the bank.
- Drop them in person.
- Send them online via given official means, mostly emails.
Once your application has been approved, you will receive your bank card and account number. You can then start banking in Switzerland.
If your application went through successfully, the bank should give you feedback on how long the processing will take. The average processing time takes between 7-30 days.
You might need to contact the bank in case this time elapses and you still don't have an active bank account.
Benefits of Swiss Bank Accounts
There are many reasons to open a Swiss bank account, but chief among them is the unparalleled privacy and security that Swiss banks offer.
Here are some of the other benefits you can enjoy by banking with a Swiss institution:
- Confidentiality: Swiss banks are famous for their strict secrecy laws, which protect your financial information from prying eyes. Even the bank's employees are not allowed to disclose any information about your account without your permission.
- Stability: Switzerland has a long history of political and economic stability, which makes it a safe place to store your money. Bankruptcies and financial crises are rare in Switzerland, so your savings are likely to be safe even in turbulent times.
- Asset protection: Swiss banks are not subject to the same regulations as banks in other countries, which means they can offer you more protection for your assets. For example, Swiss banks are not required to report your assets to the government so that you can keep your wealth hidden from prying eyes.
- Tax benefits: Swiss bank accounts offer a number of tax benefits, such as reduced rates on capital gains and no withholding taxes on interest payments. This can save you a lot of money on your tax bill.
- Convenience: Swiss banks offer a wide range of account options, including both personal and corporate accounts. You can also choose from a variety of currencies, so you can easily access your money no matter where you are in the world.
As you can see, there are many reasons to open a Swiss bank account. If you're looking for a safe and secure place to store your money, a Swiss bank is a perfect choice.
Talk to your local banker today to learn more about the benefits of banking with a Swiss institution.
Should You Open a Swiss Bank Account?
Swiss banking has made it easy when it comes to opening bank accounts remotely. If you are planning to visit or relocate to Switzerland, consider starting your application online.
This will make your life easier, as you can make transactions using your bank card.