Switzerland is a destination for many investors and expats. It is one of the most sought countries by immigrants due to its flexible banking regulations. If you are an investor seeking to invest in Switzerland, you can consider opening a numbered bank account. A numbered bank account offers extra security to your banking information and finances.
During the 1910s, bankers from Switzerland created numbered bank accounts to add a layer of anonymity for European clients seeking to avoid paying World War I taxes. With the passage of the Swiss Banking Law of 1934, this practice proliferated across the banking industry in Switzerland. – Wikipedia
- 1 What is a Numbered Bank Account?
- 2 How to Open a Numbered Bank Account
- 3 Can I Open a Numbered Bank Account Online?
- 4 Who Can Open a Numbered Bank Account?
- 5 Best Banks Offering Numbered Bank Accounts in Switzerland
- 6 Is Numbered Account an Anonymous Bank Account?
- 7 Numbered Swiss Bank Account Fees
- 8 Why Do People Open Numbered Bank Accounts?
- 9 Limitations of Numbered Bank Accounts
- 10 Summary on Numbered Swiss Bank Account
What is a Numbered Bank Account?
A numbered bank account is an account that keeps the name of the account holder secret and identifies the client using a code. Instead of using your name as the account name, a code is assigned as your account identifier. A numbered bank account is meant to provide extra protection to your account. The code is the one that is used in place of your name in bank statements. This code will be known by you and a restricted number of bank employees.
Due to increased regulation, not many countries allow for the opening of numbered accounts. Even in Switzerland, only private banks are offering numbered bank accounts. Numbered accounts are mainly used by millionaires who want greater banking privacy. Many banks will require you to make a minimum initial deposit after opening a numbered bank account.
How to Open a Numbered Bank Account
In the past, it was possible to use an attorney to open a numbered Swiss bank account for you. To open a numbered bank account, you only need to contact a bank that supports numbered bank accounts. The bank will check your name in the world’s banking database to verify if you are eligible to open a numbered bank account. You cannot open a numbered bank account if you have been convicted of fraud. It is also harder for a “politically exposed person” to open a numbered account.
You will then need to submit the following documents:
- Proof of identity
- A copy of your passport
- A utility bill from your local residence
Do not fall a victim of online scammers who pretend to offer services to clients to open a numbered bank account online. The high chances are that these companies are scams and want to steal money from innocent clients.
Can I Open a Numbered Bank Account Online?
Yes. The process of opening a virtual numbered account is almost the same as that of a physical numbered bank account. The bank will need to verify your identity. A numbered bank account works almost the same way as a standard bank account only that the account name is replaced with a code. A numbered bank account is meant to restrict the knowledge of a customer’s identity to a small group of bank staff.
Who Can Open a Numbered Bank Account?
Numbered bank accounts are common in Switzerland. If you are in Switzerland, you can open a numbered bank account. However, you need to meet the requirements of the bank you intend to open a numbered bank account. For instance, a bank will require you to make a minimum initial deposit after opening a numbered account. However, a bank has the explicit right to decline a customer’s request if the bank has a question about one’s wealth.
Best Banks Offering Numbered Bank Accounts in Switzerland
Not many banks in Switzerland support numbered bank accounts. Currently, only private bank accounts support numbered bank accounts. You can use Credit Suisse Bank to help you open a numbered bank account in Switzerland.
Is Numbered Account an Anonymous Bank Account?
Numbered bank accounts are meant to provide privacy to the account holder. However, numbered bank accounts are no longer anonymous anymore. Due to some international agreements, countries agreed to disclose information they have about account owners to prevent fraud and money laundering. Therefore, numbered bank accounts are no longer anonymous, but they provide limited privacy to the account holder.
Numbered Swiss Bank Account Fees
Fees for numbered bank account in Switzerland are usually high than the normal private bank accounts. The actual fees depend on the bank of your choice. However, the annual fees can run as high as 2,000 CHF per year. You also need to take into account other normal bank fees such as bank transfer fees, foreign currency exchange fees, ATM fees, etc.
Why Do People Open Numbered Bank Accounts?
There are a number of reasons why people open numbered bank accounts. For a long time, people have been moving to Switzerland to open numbered bank accounts. Some of the reasons people open numbered bank accounts include:
- Avoid taxes. In the past, people would open numbered bank accounts to avoid taxes since banks would not send bank information to their home country. However, nowadays, even with a numbered bank account, the bank will send your banking information to your home country.
- Privacy. People open numbered bank accounts to restrict bank employees, bureaucrats and the government from accessing their banking information.
- Freedom. People also open numbered bank accounts to have freedom from oppressive laws in their countries. If the government is against some acts like how much one can hold in a bank account, one can open a numbered bank account to avoid such a law.
Limitations of Numbered Bank Accounts
You cannot use a numbered account to make an international wire transfer. According to international regulations, the recipient’s name, location, address and account number must be provided when making an international wire transfer.
Summary on Numbered Swiss Bank Account
For some reasons like privacy, freedom and tax avoidance, people have been moving to Switzerland to open numbered bank accounts. However, unlike in the past when people would fully conceal their banking information, things have changed and numbered bank accounts are no longer anonymous. However, they still offer some limited privacy.