When you learn that someone owns a Swiss bank account, your first thought may be that they’re a rich tycoon who is using that account to hide away their millions. While the factor of privacy is important to a bank that’s located in Switzerland, stories regarding people who use Swiss Bank accounts for hiding vast fortunes is more of a myth than reality. If you have the ability to provide the appropriate paperwork, you can open a Swiss Bank account.
Swiss banks are just like any other bank around the world that takes on risk. They’ll need to verify your identity to protect themselves from any type of fraud and make sure that the account you open is not used for illegal purposes. The main documents that you will be required to provide include the following:
Proof of Your Identity – You will need a passport.
Proof of Residence – A visa or work/residence permit will be required.
Proof of Address – Utility bills or official government correspondence usually work.
There are a few different ways to open a Swiss Bank account if you are unable to personally visit a Swiss Bank. One option is to send notarized documentation through the mail to the bank of your choice. A second option is to visit a local bank in your country that has a reciprocal agreement with your chosen bank in Switzerland. The reciprocal agreement allows the local bank to verify your documents. Be aware that opening an account at a local bank that’s affiliated with a Swiss Bank is not the same as opening an account at a local bank that has a reciprocal agreement. You won’t receive the same privacy standards at an affiliated bank as regulations are dictated by the country where the account exists.
If you aren’t a Swiss resident, you may be required to provide additional documentation. This usually includes items such as proof of income or proof of employment. In addition, the bank that you choose may require you to deposit a substantial amount of funds into your account. They’ll need to verify where these funds came from and may require you to sign a form that indicates your willingness to comply with regulations in your country.
What To Expect
After opening an account with a Swiss Bank, you’ll be assigned and work with a single account manager. Let the bank know if you require an account manager who speaks English. Otherwise, you’ll conduct your banking business with a representative who is fluent in one of the four official languages in Switzerland — French, German, Italian or Romansh.
Swiss Banking Charges
If you choose to open a Swiss Bank account that’s numbered, you’ll have the most privacy as this type of account does not divulge personal information when conducting day-to-day transactions. However, the benefit of having this type of privacy does come with a higher cost. Some Swiss banks charge as much as 2000 Swiss Francs per year.
You can also choose to open a regular account that costs substantially less — 30 Swiss Francs per year. There may also be an annual fee for debit or credit cards as well as a minimum balance. Fees and charges differ between banks. Each individual bank will be able to inform you of their fees when you contact them.
As you can see, if you’re interested in opening a Swiss Bank account, it just takes a little research and the proper documentation on your part.