The Liechtenstein banking system is acknowledged globally for its reliability and customer loyalty. It has much in common with the Swiss model of financial services, but in some respects even surpasses it, especially in matters relating to banking secrecy and privacy guarantees to its customers.
Banks in Liechtenstein are licensed, and their compliance with the law is monitored at the highest state authority level. This is not surprising, as almost a quarter of the GDP of the Principality is generated through banking activities. To be trusted as reliable banks, they have to demonstrate that they are highly capital intensive.
Most importantly, the Principality does not provide any assistance to any state in terms of information about clients served in banks. Liechtenstein does not release any banking data and taxes, except for the United States, with which it has signed a Mutual Legal Assistance agreement. The Principality has adopted several amendments to the rules on financial services and tax transparency so that to distance itself from the so-called blacklist of low-tax havens.
On the other hand, banking institutions will not reveal any information if it is just a matter of tax discipline violations involving no criminal issues. The main requirement for the bank managers deciding whether or not to cooperate with some company is to make sure that its business is clear and legal.
Banks of Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). It is a partner of Switzerland in the Customs Union Treaty , but is not an EU member. This gives the country several advantages. For example, the national currency of Liechtenstein is Swiss franc (CHF). However, financial institutions also work with other currencies: euros (EUR), dollars (USD), pounds (GBP).
Speaking of the non-residents’ benefits of opening an account with Liechtenstein banks, we should mention first of all the following aspects.
- It is risk-free, because the Liechtenstein banking institutions are completely reliable.
- Safety of confidential information is guaranteed in Liechtenstein.
- Liechtenstein is an economically sustainable low-tax area, thereby minimizing the risks to investment and savings.
Banks in Liechtenstein offer different types of services:
- capital saving
- account maintenance
- internet and mobile banking
- investment services
- transactions with shares, bonds
- purchase and sale of precious metals
- fiduciary management.
Customers appreciate the convenience of remote authentication by means of telephone or video interviews with the banks.
However, each banking institution provides an individual approach, so it is important to consider the products and services offered by each of the banks before making the right choice. Please keep in mind that, like in any private business, there may be special offers for VIP clients.
How can a non-resident benefit from opening a personal account in Liechtenstein?
There are more than 15 licensed banks in Liechtenstein, the largest of which are among the top 50 most reliable in the world. There is the country-wide Deposit Guarantee Scheme: deposits of individual private or corporate clients of all banking institutions in Liechtenstein are guaranteed up to a maximum of CHF 100,000 or the equivalent of this amount in another currency. Besides, the Liechtenstein State Bank guarantees to all private individuals their unlimited coverage of deposits in the national currency.
An account at a Liechtenstein bank allows a foreigner to take care of the safety of his assets and to increase them through competent investments. Bank employees will provide asset management and investment services and will act as representatives in other jurisdictions. Taking into account both the personal needs of the client, and the compliance with the anti-money laundering legislation and taxation rules, the Liechtenstein banks will offer a range of sound investment options
Who is allowed to open an account, and who is prohibited to do so in Liechtenstein?
To become a customer of a bank in Liechtenstein, several conditions must be met.
First, make sure that you have at least 300,000 EUR/CHF/USD on your deposit within six months of opening or collect a portfolio of securities for the same amount.
With this investment, it is possible to execute up to 250 payments per year. If their number increases during the year, the bank will require more guarantees. The company will be required to replenish the deposit or increase the securities portfolio proportionally to the number of increased payments.
To open a non-resident bank account in Liechtenstein, the client does not have to come to the bank in person. Everything can also be done remotely, including the online interview. Documents can be sent to the bank by mail or courier, but need to be properly certified. Information about this can be found below.
Our professional experts are ready to advise you and offer services in setting up the account you need in Liechtenstein. Please contact us at email@example.com
Limitations by country
Despite the fact that Liechtenstein banks are generally loyal, there are a number of restrictions that should be taken into account. These can be explained by the foreign policy orientation of the Principality and the rules established for banking institutions.
Let’s find out which nationals are going to be denied:
- Taxpayers or tax residents of the USA (this rule is connected with the international Mutual Legal Assistance agreement stipulating that any undisclosed information is shared on a formal request. This clause of the agreement is inconsistent with the banking secrecy principles that are thoroughly observed by Liechtenstein in respect of all other nationals.)
- Residents of such states as Iraq, Libya, or North Korea (considered as hotspots of global geopolitical conflicts, insecurity, and combat operations).
On the other hand, banking institutions are very loyal to those who come from countries that are on the list of the main markets. These include citizens from the CIS countries, Europe, Turkey, China, and some of the fast-growing South American countries.
Limitations by activity type
Bankers prefer to cooperate only with businesses and entrepreneurs whose business activities are explained clearly and straightforwardly, so that they could analyze the current state of affairs, predict further development, and calculate risks. Therefore, there are restrictions related to certain types of activities. Cooperation with those involved in the trade of prohibited items is ultimately forbidden. And even if it is legitimate arms trade, the Liechtenstein banks would prefer to avoid such clients.
The banks prefer to open accounts for such companies as commodity trading firms (for example, retail), IT-companies, and other businesses and holdings with goals that are clear to bankers. Please note that to maintain the loyal attitude of the bank, companies should ensure the annual turnover of about USD 3-5 million.
Here is a list of activities that are considered by banks not eligible for banking:
- any illegal or prohibited activities
- financial services
- online marketing
- online gambling (betting, casino, lotteries, etc.)
- trade in art objects and precious metals in large quantities
- cryptocurrency trade (though this restriction seems to have become irrelevant recently)
Types of non-resident corporate accounts in Liechtenstein for foreigners
A non-resident corporate bank account in Liechtenstein can be opened by companies of most legal forms (Ltd Company, IBC, LLC), foundations, and trust partnerships.
- other currencies – on request.
Customers can conduct payments, make deposits, transfers, investments. other banking transactions in any chosen currency.
- corporate multi-currency
- credit (VISA, Mastercard);
- debit — Swiss Travel Cash.
Banks in Liechtenstein do not emit payment cards themselves. However, they do issue cards to their customers through cooperation with the Swiss Cards Services provider – the Viseca company.
It is easy to obtain the bank cards:
- To get a credit card, the client needs to submit an application with an order for the issuance of the bank guarantee and sign the Deed of Pledge. The bank will deposit 110% of the requested limit on the client’s separate account as collateral (including the 10% processing commission). Your access to this deposit will be blocked by the bank for the duration of the card use.
- Fill in your application for a credit card and submit it to the bank.
The bank will pay from your account the monthly credit card bill according to the Swiss provider’s statement of the transactions of the previous period. It is in your own interest to examine the credit card statement regularly. Please note that your credit card application can only be approved if you keep a minimum balance agreed with the bank in Liechtenstein on your account with it.
Debit cards from Liechtenstein banks are fee-based.
Here are all the card rates and charges:
- Processing fee – CHF 300.00
- Guarantee Issuing fee – CHF 500.00
- Annual fee – CHF 200.00
- ATM transaction fee – CHF/EUR/USD 5.00
- Direct deposit fee -1.5%
- Cashless payment fee – CHF/EUR/USD 1.00.
You can top up the card from your account, and the bank will charge a fee not only for the card replenishment, but also for executing the transfer.
Internet banking is very popular, as the remote management of funds and settlement of payments without a need to visit the bank is very convenient for companies. To use this service, the client pays the annual fee of CHF 500. The fee will be deducted quarterly in installments.
Schedule of rates and fees
- Opening fee is reasonable — from CHF 500
- The remaining balance on the account must be at least CHF/USD/EUR 5,000
- Account closure — CHF 1 000
- Account maintenance and service — CHF 500 / year
- Transaction cancellation and retrieval — CHF 50 deducted quarterly in installments
- Payment (incoming/outbound) — 0.125% of the payment amount (min CHF 125; max CHF 1 250)
- SWIFT payment transaction — 0.25% of the payment amount (min CHF 250; max CHF 2 500)
- Capital flows fee for intangible transactions — 0.125% of the payment amount (min CHF 250, unlimited maximum)
- Custody and management of client assets – 2.5% for Swiss securities and 3.5% for others (min CHF 100)
- Storage of precious metals and coins – 5% per year
- Transactions with precious metals – 1%.
Commission fees for securities transactions depend on the type of securities, and the amounts vary from 0.2% to 1%. Fees for trade services, sales taxes for the issue, and other state charges are applied separately.
The value of exchange transactions, asset management operations varies for each bank.
Besides, the client is provided with many other useful services:
- Mail storage – annual fee CHF 400 (payable quarterly).
- POA administration – annual payment in CHF
- Anonymous account – annual payment of CHF 200 (payable quarterly).
- Withdrawal of funds – 1%, deposit in foreign currencies – 2%.
- Processing special requests received by e-mail/fax/telephone – CHF 30 for each.
- SWIFT confirmation on the day of execution – CHF
- SWIFT confirmation requested later than the execution day – CHF
- Bank reference – CHF
- The fee for guarantees, bond certificates, letters of credit, shares and other documentary processing costs in the absence of a Due Diligence is 0.1%-1% (minimum CHF 500).
How to open a non-resident corporate account in Liechtenstein?
If you need to open a non-resident corporate account in Liechtenstein seamlessly and with no unnecessary trouble, you should contact a company specializing in such services. Professionals will advise you on the requirements of a particular bank and provide you with the bank forms and a list of papers. You will only need to send us scans of the required documents, and the consultant will check your application before the submission, to spare you of further concerns and efforts.
Procedure for opening a corporate account in Liechtenstein:
First, you should contact us for a bank account opening service in this jurisdiction by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then, pay for our services. We will accept payment in any form: bank transfer or Western Union, payment card, PayPal, WebMoney. The cost of our services starts at 3999 EUR. For companies with a nominee director – from 4999 EUR.
Thereafter, we will guide you in your preparation of the required set of documents. If you plan to open a personal account in Liechtenstein remotely, please, be sure to certify and notarize the documents.
Documents required to open a corporate account with a bank in Liechtenstein
You will need to fill out the forms provided by the bank. We will check and scan them, then send them directly to the bank. After receiving a preliminary confirmation from the bank, we will consult you about sending the package of documents by mail.
The set of documents:
- Copies of passports of all beneficiaries and persons authorized to manage the account. If you act remotely, submit to the bank their notarized copies. If you visit in person, submit the originals to the bank and they will be copied on-site.
Originals or the following corporate papers:
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Memorandum and Articles of Association
- Certificate of Good Standing, if the company is older than 1 year
- Certificate of Incumbency
- Trust declaration, if the shareholder is a legal entity/nominal
- Power of attorney to open and manage an account, unless the Charter stipulates the right of a person to do so
- Certificate of shares
- Subscribers appointment of the company’s directors/s
- Business plan or detailed description of the company’s activity (a document needs to be in English on 1-2 pages of legal paper).
Note: The Bank may also request other documents.
How long will it take you to open a corporate account in Liechtenstein?
Liechtenstein banks usually make a decision and inform non-resident applicants about opening a non-resident corporate account within two to three weeks after the application. Banks first considered the scanned copies submitted by email, then the notarized original copies need to be submitted by mail or in person to the bank.
If you are interested in our service of helping you to seamlessly apply remotely, please contact us today by e-mail email@example.com