Besides the Swiss Alps, Swiss watches, and Swiss chocolate, what else comes to mind when someone talks about Switzerland? ‘Swiss banks’ of course. Swiss banks are known for strength, secrecy, professionalism and reliability. The Helvetic Confederation’s robust banking system has long become the very symbol of this alpine country – and a popular destination for international clients for generations.
Why so? The answer lies in Switzerland’s long history of bank client confidentiality. In fact, Zurich is often referred to as the cradle of banking secrecy.
However, Switzerland is not all about stuffy old-fashioned private banks. Swiss bankers have carefully mixed the old and the modern. Today, Zurich and the region is equally well known as a cradle of European fintech. Swiss banks have moved with the times and are generally well ahead of the rest of Europe when it comes to things like crypto custody and escrow, or multi-currency credit cards. In particular (and this is a question we get a lot from our readers) most Swiss banks have no problems sending and receiving funds from crypto exchanges, though of course this is something you need to discuss with your bankers up front if it is important to you.
Banking secrecy laws in Switzerland
For centuries, Switzerland maintained banking laws that forbade the country’s banks to disclose information about account holders to foreign government agencies or any other third party. However, this has changed over recent years: bank secrecy was loosened under growing pressure from various governments eager to unveil account holders who may be suspected of tax evasion.
At the same time, there are efforts to incorporate bank secrecy laws into the Swiss constitution in order to protect banking laws from further erosion.
Swiss laws still stipulate that it is a criminal offence (felony) for a banker to disclose account holders’ information. Swiss banking law also protects bankers from any proceedings, criminal charges, or extradition requests that might be initiated by foreigners for failure to disclose client information.
of personal bank accounts abroad for
persons depositing €5000+. Expert services
based on 7+ years of experience in banking.
of personal bank accounts abroad for persons depositing €5000+. Expert services based on 7+ years of experience in banking.
When secrecy does not apply
Client privacy can be abandoned only when the account holder commits something in violation of Swiss law.
Movies often feature shady characters transferring large sums of money to offshore Swiss accounts. Likewise, in the past, a tiny minority of Swiss banking clients have tried to abuse Swiss banking secrecy laws to protect their assets from law enforcement, tax authorities, and creditors. All such actions would be considered illegal by the Swiss authorities, and the account holder’s information could be disclosed in such cases.
The exposure of information about the bank account holders may also occur in cases when criminal cases, divorce proceedings, or tax investigations are underway against the owner of the bank account. The Swiss Banking Association makes it very clear that Swiss accounts cannot be used as a safe haven for illegally obtained wealth. Moreover, Swiss banks willingly cooperate with foreign governments on issues such as counter-terrorism and fraud investigations.
Rulings by foreign courts (e.g. from the U.S.) in cases involving civil and criminal offenses can also force the Swiss authorities to uncover the defendant’s bank account information. Thus, Swiss banks do not provide protection to their customers who are violators of the law in a particular country and are subject to prosecution. Swiss banks generally cooperate with the foreign authorities bringing charges in such proceedings.
However, none of this makes Swiss banks any less attractive to people who have no problems with the law in their home countries. If you are one of these people, even if you are a staunch believer in the human right of financial privacy, you might be interested in the specifics of Swiss bank accounts and the procedure of opening one for your personal needs.
What is a Swiss bank account?
A Swiss bank account is an account that anyone, assuming they are not subject to sanctions and have enough money, can open in one of the banks in Switzerland (including cantonal banks, i.e. those that operate only in one canton/region of this country).
Swiss banks will also provide their account holders with debit cards, credit cards and normal banking services. However, since most people do not use Swiss accounts for everyday transactions, it’s common practice to use a high limit prepaid debit card that can be loaded from the main account, but is not directly linked to it. An example would be the very popular Swiss Bankers Travel Cash card that is commonly issued by private banks across the country to non-resident clients.
Separating the bank account from a credit card is good advice for people who would like to use an account opened with a Swiss bank as a means of securing their assets, yet would not want this information to leak into the financial system of other countries.
Everyone can open an account with a Swiss bank, regardless of their nationality, with very few exceptions covering countries subject to UN or European sanctions. It does not matter whether you are a Swiss citizen or a foreigner who has never visited Switzerland – you can open an account with a Swiss bank. Previously, the most obvious and widely publicized advantage of opening an account in a Swiss bank was client confidentiality. However, there are many other advantages to opening an account in Switzerland.
- Switzerland is a very peaceful and neutral country with a steady political and economic landscape.Even during the World Wars in Europe, Switzerland stayed neutral.
- Swiss law requires banks to impose high requirements on their own capital. There is also strong protection for depositors of funds. Consequently, any risk of financial crisis or political conflict is very low.
- Switzerland has a strong economy, which is based on the following advantages:
- Power generation industry. In fact, Switzerland is a global power plant.
- High-quality financial management of international capital. The Swiss wealth management companies are world leaders in this industry.
- Value-added services such as the storage of gold and other precious and semi-precious metals also make Swiss bank accounts attractive and economically safe. Some banks operate undisclosed or secret vaults, underground bunkers and vaults for diamonds, precious stones, and other valuable physical assets. In fact, it is believed that a Swiss government agency sold about ten military bunkers in recent years, of which six have been snapped up by Swiss banks. The value of the assets stored in these bunkers is anybody’s guess!
Whatever attracts wealthy people to choose banks in Switzerland can be summed up in one world – RELIABILITY. It refers to the entire Swiss financial system, and specifically its banking sector. With assets deposited here, you do not have to worry that your bank may go bankrupt or be robbed, and you may lose all your savings. This fact is proven by many years of impeccable operation of the Swiss banking system.
However, not everything about Switzerland is perfect. Not all customers will be happy with the Swiss banks.
First, there are requirements for minimum deposits, which are required for opening an account in a Swiss bank.
Minimum deposit amounts vary from several thousand dollars to several million dollars, with the higher level being more widespread. The amount of the minimum deposit in a Swiss bank depends on the type of account to be opened, the source of origin of funds, and the profile of the person who will be the owner of this account. It may also depend on the origin of your wealth and the purpose for which you are opening the account.
One thing many people do not understand is that the terms can be negotiated individually. Everything with Swiss banks is up for negotiation – this surprises some people who are used to haggling in bazaars but not with grey-suited bankers. But the benefits of keeping your accumulated or earned money in a Swiss bank are carved in stone! It’s well worth opening an account in Switzerland if you have more than a few hundred thousand to protect.
How to open an account with a Swiss bank?
A Swiss bank will conduct thorough due diligence on any potential customer who wants to open an account with it.
Before you decide to open an account with a Swiss bank, you need to be prepared to answer questions regarding the origin of your funds. As long as you get this, then the very process of opening an account with a Swiss bank is quite simple. You don’t need to travel to Switzerland, but you should expect a few phone calls or video-conferences, and emails back and forth as the compliance department looks at and verifies every minute detail!
The first thing you need to do before you apply for a Swiss bank account is to analyze banks that work with clients of your background and profile. For example: you might be American or Asian, retired or just starting your career, self-made or from a wealthy family, and you will find Swiss banks that target each of these niches.
Most important for all, though, is the source of funds. Some Swiss banks will be more accustomed, and therefore more flexible and open, to documents from certain industries or different parts of the world. For example, if you made your money in Russia, you need to find a bank that is comfortable with Russian language documents. If you made your money in Bitcoin, you need to find a bank that is comfortable understanding crypto as a source of wealth… etc etc.
This is where our professional services come in handy, as we can quickie analyze your situation and recommend the most appropriate banks for your type of client profile.
Please note that you cannot just fly to Switzerland and come to a bank branch to open your account there. All the above steps must be completed well in advance, negotiations need to be started beforehand, and after everything fits together like pieces of a puzzle, you will get your personal account with a Swiss bank.
Taking advantage of professional advice and assistance
No matter how easy or difficult the process of opening an account with a Swiss bank may seem to you, if you are serious about keeping your funds in Switzerland, it might be a good idea to discuss this step with a suitably qualified professional.
If the above-mentioned provisions and steps do not confuse you, you can start collecting the necessary documents at any time. However, we do recommend that you should do this with professional advisors, because if the papers are insufficient or incorrect, the Swiss bank may reject your application as incomplete and untrustworthy.
You are most welcome to refer to our experts for advice, guidance, and assistance.
Your correspondence with the Swiss bank should be impeccable, fast and efficient in order to maximize your chances of getting your bank account approved.
You can rely on our professional advice on opening accounts in Switzerland. We guarantee you maximum support and privacy if you order the services of our seasoned experts.
Please send a short request to our email: email@example.com, or contact our consultants in WhatsApp, live chat, or on the phone indicated on this page.
We will help secure your assets against any illegal encroachments and economic and political problems in the country where you work and/or live.
Write or call us today, so that you won’t have any regrets and can pat yourself on the back for doing it at the right time. Remember: the best time to protect your assets was years ago. The second best time is today!
How does a private person open a non-resident account in Switzerland?
To open a bank account in Switzerland, one needs to choose a bank, prepare documents and submit an application. The application portfolio should include a copy of passport, proof of residence address, and proof of the legal origin of one’s funds. Other papers may be requested. All documents are supposed to comply with the bank’s requirements. The more scrupulously you prepare your application and the better you prepare for the interview – the more chances you have to succeed. Hiring a professional consultant to help you through the preparations is half the battle.
Why is it worth opening an account in Switzerland?
Switzerland is a reputable, stable, friendly, and very professional country. For centuries, its banking has been recognized unanimously across the world as a perfect model to follow. Kings, entrepreneurs, investors, and pension funds from all over the world keep their money in Switzerland. The Swiss bankers’ top-flight professionalism and the scope of attractive opportunities deserve your ultimate trust.
Does Swiss banking secrecy exist?
Yes, banking secrecy still exists in Switzerland, and bankers are criminally liable for the disclosure of information. Serious clients who are compliant with all their legal obligations, albeit that they consider financial privacy a human right, will fit in very nicely with the Swiss way of doing business. However, of course this does not mean that bankers will cover up criminals and turn a blind eye to money laundering or tax evasion.