If you are planning to move to Switzerland to work or study, it is best you open a Swiss bank account online for non-resident. You can also open an offshore account in Switzerland if you are not moving to the country, or even use Swiss private banking as a foreigner.
In this article, we will take you through the process on how to open a Swiss bank account and provide you with a list of the best Swiss banks for foreigners and non-residents.
Swiss Bank Account Opening
- The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has strict reporting requirements for American citizens who hold foreign bank accounts. These requirements make it difficult for many Swiss banks to serve American clients.
- Among the traditional banks that provide bank accounts to non residents include UBS, PostFinance and Credit Suisse and virtual banks such as Revolut that offers a Wise Multicurrency Account or https://fififinance.com/us/dukascopy-bank”>Dukascopy that’s available to many citizens in the world. Fo buying stock, you can use Interactive Brokers.
- While Swiss bank secrecy has been significantly eroded in recent years, it has not been completely eliminated. If you want a high level of privacy, you can also open a numbered Swiss bank account catering to high-net-worth individuals.
- 1 How to Open a Bank Account in Switzerland
- 2 How to Open a Swiss Bank Account for Non Resident
- 3 How to Open Bank Account in Switzerland from Abroad
- 4 Best Swiss Banks for Foreigners
- 5 How to Open Swiss Bank Account Online Non Resident
- 6 Banking Charges
- 7 Swiss Bank Accounts and Taxes
- 8 Opening a Swiss Bank Account for Foreigners
How to Open a Bank Account in Switzerland
Before you can open a Swiss bank account, it is worth noting that ordinary Swiss banks tend to charge high fees for non-residents. The process is very simple for residents, but non-residents can encounter some limitations.
Documents Needed to Open a Swiss Bank Account
You can usually open a bank account in Switzerland with a B-permit application receipt. However, some banks, such as Neon, require you to have the physical B-permit, which can take up to two months to obtain. Other banks, such as Credit Suisse and Post, do regularly accept customers with an application receipt.
Regardless of your nationality or residency status, there are some general documents that all bank account applicants in Switzerland will need to provide:
- Proof of Identity: A valid passport or other government-issued ID with a photo.
- Proof of Residence: If you are a resident of Switzerland, you will need to provide proof of residence, such as a utility bill or a lease agreement. If you are not a resident, you will need to provide proof of your residency status, such as a visa, residence permit, or work permit.
- Proof of Income: You will need to provide documentation of your income source, such as bank statements, paystubs, or tax returns.
In addition to the general requirements, foreign nationals opening a bank account in Switzerland may be asked to provide additional documentation, such as:
- Bank Reference Letter: A letter from your previous bank confirming your good banking history.
- Proof of Employment: If you are employed, you may need to provide your employment contract or a letter from your employer.
- Proof of Address: A recent utility bill or other official document showing your current address in Switzerland.
How to Open a Swiss Bank Account for Non Resident
You can open Swiss bank account as a non resident, but you will need to provide more documents than a resident. For example, you can open a Credit Suisse non resident account. You also need to provide proof that you can pay your bills by providing proof of employment or income. You also need to make an initial deposit to activate your account and provide a letter of the correspondent from your home bank. You also need to authorize the bank to notify your home country about your banking activities for taxation.
- Most Swiss banks charge higher fees to customers residing outside of Switzerland and Liechtenstein who want to open a bank account in Switzerland for non residents.
- Some banks waive fees for a Swiss bank account for non residents for customers who hold large number of assets.
How to Open Bank Account in Switzerland from Abroad
It is possible to open a bank account in Switzerland remotely. Some banks will require you to post the documents via post while others will require you to do personal identification through a video call. If you opt to open Swiss bank account from abroad, it is advisable to have a local representative who can present the documents to the bank on your behalf.
You can open a Swiss bank account online before arriving in Switzerland. It is because it is challenging to open a bank account in Switzerland without a permanent address. Also, landlords can fail to offer you a lease if you don’t have a local bank account.
Switzerland prohibits publicizing banking information. Numbered accounts are legal in Switzerland. Only when Swiss banks are performing international transactions on your behalf, you will need to provide personal information. This makes it safe place for people who are seeking privacy. Among the people who visit Switzerland include students, expats, workers and investors.
Best Swiss Banks for Foreigners
Choosing the right Swiss bank is crucial before opening an account for foreigners. Several reputable Swiss banks welcome foreign applicants who reside in Switzerland, while others cater to non-residents. The following are some of the best Swiss banks you can open an account with.
You can easily open Swiss bank account with Post Finance Bank that is operated by the national post office. With an EU passport, you will be able to open your PostFinance account for non residents and foreigners. Generally, the bank has relaxed requirements compared to other major banks.
Post Finance has a wide variety of accounts in 10 different currencies, including the Euro. It also offers online and mobile banking while some accounts come with free cash withdrawals. It supports Apple Pay, Google Pay, Twint, and Samsung Pay. The bank has many branches and ATMs across the country.
UBS is among the oldest and best banks that offer account for foreigners in Switzerland. UBS offers a wide variety of banking products like business banking, personal banking and corporate accounts. They provide a credit card in euro, a prepaid card in CHF (either Maestro or Visa), and both checking and saving accounts in both currencies. All UBS cards work with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Twint, a Swiss mobile payment app.
UBS offers a limited number of Swiss bank accounts for foreigners and non-residents. To be eligible for a UBS account for non-residents, you must be an individual over the age of 20 who is domiciled outside of Switzerland. You must also have a specific reason or need for opening a Swiss account. If you are a foreigner residing in Switzerland, you will need to provide a Swiss address to open a UBS account. Even if you do not have a rental agreement, you can use an Airbnb address to meet this requirement.
Customers domiciled outside of Switzerland will be charged an additional fee of CHF 25.00 per month per private account, regardless of their assets. Non-Swiss residents are also required to complete a declaration to certify compliance with tax obligations.
3. Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse is a global bank and is best suited for foreigners to open bank account in Switzerland. Although, the bank was recently acquired by UBS, it will continue to operate under its brand for the time being. You can use it to open Swiss bank account for expats or Credit Suisse student account. Credit Suisse offers a wide variety of banking solutions like mortgages and pensions. It has a wide network of branches and ATMs across the country.
The bank supports Google Pay and Apple Pay to pay with your smartphone or smartwatch without having your bank card with you.
Why People Use Swiss Bank Accounts
- Swiss bank privacy is of utmost importance. Sharing information about bank client data is a criminal offense in Switzerland. However, your bank does share account details with other governments for tax purposes.
- Swiss banks are considered among the safest in the world. The Swiss franc also is a stronger currency than the US Dollar, Pound Sterling or Euro.
- It is possible to open a Swiss bank account for UK citizens, as well as from almost all countries in the world.
How to Open Swiss Bank Account Online Non Resident
Swiss bank account opening is easy with virtual bank accounts as an alternative. You can open and manage an account online and abroad. You can use virtual bank account like Wise and N26 that come with a personal IBAN. The following are some of the best onlinr banks for foreigners in Switzerland.
Dukascopy is a digital bank that mainly deals with trading but you can use it to open a Swiss bank account online. It offers a multicurrency account with IBAN and forex trading through Swiss FX Marketplace. Moreover, Dukascopy is is a crypto friendly bank providing services such as cryptocurrency CFDs trading, trading and payments with Dukascoin (first regulated and licenced crypto in Switzerland), and crypto investment.
With Dukascopy you can open an account with only 100 USD or less. Dukascopy offers plastic cards while you can create virtual credit cards in 4 currencies. You can also manage over 23 different currencies like GBP, USD, AUD, PLN and CNH in your account. Dukascopy has cheaper and better access to most of the world’s markets. It does come with some minimal fees for transfer (even in the SEPA zone), but it is one of the easiest ways to open a Swiss Bank Account online.
2. Wise (formerly TransferWise)
You can open Wise Multicurrency account before relocating to Switzerland. It is easy to open an account online and abroad and will help you hold multiple currencies including Swiss francs. You are able to open Wise personal account as well as Wise business account.
Although you can open a bank account online for foreigners in Switzerland with Wise, formerly Transferwise, the account does not come with a Swiss bank-account itself, but it is a Multicurrency account. While Wise doesn’t offer a dedicated CHF account with its own IBAN, it llows you to receive Swiss francs (CHF) for free.
Wise multicurrency account supports local accounts in British pounds, Australian dollars, Euros, Hungarian forints, New Zealand Dollars, Singapore dollars, US dollars, Turkish Lira and Romanian leu. In addition, you can use Wise account to hold over 50 currencies and transfer money to bank accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere. You can exchange currencies using real exchange rates in the market and it does not have hidden fees. It has one of the best CHF to EUR exchange rate.
N26 is a virtual bank you can use to open Swiss bank account for non residents. It also offers euro accounts to residents of Switzerland since 2019. N26 comes with IBAN for personal account and business account in the SEPA zone. This is a German IBAN, but can be used in the same way as any other European IBAN account. N26 gives control of your finances. You can start spending your finances via the mobile app as you wait for your physical card to arrive. You also get real-time push notifications for transactions in your account.
Revolut serves as an online banking option in Switzerland catering to individuals residing in or holding passports from the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Revolut extends multi-currency account offers 28 different currencies, complete with IBAN functionality for both personal and business accounts. They also provide unlimited and disposable virtual debit cards, facilitate money transfers, and offer investment opportunities. Recognized as a crypto-friendly bank, Revolut enables you to engage in the buying, selling, and holding of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
Revolut features a Lithuanian-based IBAN account number that can be used in Switzerland like any other Swiss-based bank account, thanks to recent EU regulations. Please be aware of certain cash usage restrictions as Revolut imposes fees for withdrawals exceeding €200 per month or for more than 5 monthly cash withdrawals, with varying fee structures for premium account holders. A notable advantage is Revolut’s provision of a Maestro card in Switzerland, widely accepted compared to Visa or Mastercard.
It’s worth noting that Revolut offers a Lithuanian IBAN, which is generally not an issue. However, if you intend to receive your salary, it’s advisable to consult with your employer, as some employers may be hesitant to transfer funds to a non-Swiss IBAN.
Yuh Finance App
Yuh, a collaboration between SwissQuote and PostFinance, offers a free multicurrency bank account with a Swiss IBAN to non-residents and cross-border workers. The account supports CHF, USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, AUD, CAD, SEK, HKD, NOK, DKK, AED, and SGD, making it a convenient option for those who manage finances in multiple currencies or those who live in neighboring countries and work in Switzerland. You can also invest in ETFs and fractional shares with Yuh app.
Yuh Bank aims to compete with other Swiss neobanks, as well as international players like N26 and Revolut. To open a Yuh bank account, you must be a resident of Switzerland or one of the following countries: France, Germany, Austria, Italy, or Liechtenstein. No proof of revenue is required, and there are no minimum deposit or minimum balance requirements.
While Yuh is not a traditional bank but rather a fintech company, it provides the same level of legal protection as a regulated Swiss bank. This includes a guaranteed CHF 100,000 in the event of bankruptcy. Additionally, Yuh operates under the supervision of FINMA, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.
Note that to open a bank account in Switzerland as a non-resident, you must be at least 18 years old. For virtual bank accounts you will need to enter a videocall in which you have to supply your official identification. Official proof of address on the other hand is not needed
Switzerland became part of SEPA in 2006. Therefore, all the Swiss payments must respect the set standards by the member states. You should expect to be charged normal banking fees. Some of these charges include a monthly fee for using the bank account. The other fees include ATM charges while the credit and debit cards can attract annual fees.
Swiss Bank Accounts and Taxes
In the past, many people used Swiss bank accounts as well as other off-shore bank accounts to prevent paying taxes in their own countries. More and more this is becoming more difficult to do. In order to prevent tax evasion, a Swiss bank is supposed to share your tax data with any of these countries. If your country is listed, then your Swiss bank will inform your national tax authorities about your bank account and the following information.
Disclosure of information to member countries
- The full name, address, tax identification number and date of birth/incorporation of all persons and legal entities linked to the account as an account holder or/and beneficial owner if they have tax residence in at least one Partner State.
- In addition, your bank will transmit to FTA the account number, the account balance as at the last day of the year, the total profit or loss resulting from investments on the account, if any, for the past year, and your personal name/identifier of your account.
- According to this tax-evasion agreement, the information may only be used for handling or supervising taxation in the Partner States which receive it. Partner States must keep the information confidential and shall not forward it to any other states.
Opening a Swiss Bank Account for Foreigners
Opening a bank account in Switzerland for foreigners can be a more complex process compared to residents. However, it is certainly possible, and there are several options available.
Virtual banks, such as Wise, N26, and Dukascopy, offer an alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar banks. These banks often have lower fees and more flexible account options, making them an attractive choice for foreigners. However, it’s important to note that virtual banks may have limited customer service options and may not offer all the same services as traditional banks.
Traditional banks, such as PostFinance, Credit Suisse, and UBS, also offer bank accounts for foreigners. These banks may have more stringent requirements and higher fees than virtual banks, but they typically offer a wider range of services and more comprehensive customer support.