Swiss bank accounts are the most impressive banking systems of the entire world. Not only do they have strict confidentiality, but they also provide the most trust worthy and secure place to keep one’s money. As common a topic of financial news that it has now become, at the face of it one might think it to be a hard nut to crack. However, in reality, it is completely opposite. With advancement in technology and much diverse options available, opening a Swiss bank account can be as easy as opening any other bank account. All that we need to know are these important steps to go about it.
1Identify whether you meet the bank requirements or not-Any individual of age 18 years and above is eligible for opening a Swiss Bank account. However, the banks hold the right to reject a person who is politically condemned of committing or having committed a crime. Many times, residents of several countries such as Russia, are refrained from opening Swiss bank accounts due to political diplomacy.
2Identify the most appropriate bank for your account-Switzerland has more than 350 banks, each providing different policies and investment benefits. There are two principle types of financial institutions- Cantonal banks and National institutions. For a detailed information, you can approach the Swiss Bankers Association to know the in-depth details of the system and its types. However, the top banks are UBS, Credit Suisse and Raiffeisen. For the best choice, compare their policies and their investment perks. You can choose either a big bank, a regional bank or a private bank – depending upon the purpose of opening the account.
3Choose the best account type-There are several account types in Switzerland that you can choose from- depending upon the investment that you’re planning to make and the currency which you would like to deposit, although many banks do accept almost all international currencies. There is another very confidential account type which is known as the numbered account. These accounts are just numbered and the real identity of the account holder lies only with the senior bank officials. The account can either be a personal account or an investment account-depending upon the need.
4Make sure you have all the authentic information about yourself, including the documents-The banks inquire into your identity to their best. For this, they ask for several documents which include authenticated copies of your passport, documents justifying what you do for your living such as your professional licenses, etc.; proof of the source of money you intend to deposit such as a contract from the sale of a business or house and several other private information about yourself such as your birth date, a utility bill to prove your residence and almost all business and domestic contact information. They'll also want to know what you want to do with the money once you have the account.
5Visit the bank branch or its online official consultancy-There are very few banks that allow the customers to communicate through the mail as their authenticity cannot be guaranteed through the online system. Therefore, it is advisable to visit the branch in person in order to make the system hassle free.
6Remember to submit all the documentations they ask for-Due to high security and privacy laws, the banks ask for a range of documents as mentioned above which are a must for opening the bank account. Also, the person who wants to open the account must be present at the bank. Or else, if any representative is doing the work, he/she also needs to provide a list of documents for his/her identity and other official proofs.
7Fill the entire paper work carefully-While Swiss accounts are very beneficial, they require a lengthy and tiring paper work to be filled out before the account can be opened. This paper work can be as lengthy as 100 pages due to the stringent privacy and financial laws.
8Prepare for the cantonal requirements-These are the banks which allow only those residents to open their bank accounts who stay in those areas where these banks have their branches. Thus, for such people, there are different requirements of residential proofs that are required.
9Make the minimum investment deposit-There is a certain amount of money that is to be paid while the opening of a new account. This is the minimum balance which must be maintained in the bank account. Also, there might be several other additional charges which might be asked for against the request of credit cards, debit cards and so on. These can range from 3 to 30 Swiss Francs.
- There are strict money laundering laws in Switzerland. Therefore, make sure that the origin and source of money are identifiable.
- If you are a US citizen, make sure that the bank you're opening your account in, is a Qualified Intermediary (QI), otherwise, it can share the information of the account holder to the government.
- There's also a provision of safe deposit box in Swiss banks that add much more privacy to your deposits.
- Swiss banks have agreed to share the information regarding the European citizens' bank accounts to the EU and therefore, it is advisable to not use these accounts for illegal money deposits.
- Indian government as well, can request and receive information about any bank holder if suspected. Thus, it is not a place to hide black money.
- It is not a place to "hide" money, but is surely the best place to invest and safeguard it.