When establishing a company in Switzerland one of the most important first steps an entrepreneur must take is opening a Swiss bank account. The Swiss banking system is one of the worlds most impressive with its fabled privacy policies and stability.
Switzerland's banking system is known for its secrecy which makes it a haven for investors to store their investment incomes and other valuables. Although the Swiss banking system is multiple times more private than other countries, it doesn't offer boundless privacy. If illegal activity is suspected, authorities will be handed access to investigate account information. New double taxation treaties also mean that Switzerland shares information with partner states.
In Switzerland, similar to other nations, bank accounts must be linked to a name and a beneficiary and not be anonymous. To add extra privacy, Swiss banks give their customers access to creating a numbered account to safeguard their personal information – so instead of using personal information, a transaction can be completed with a code. These types of accounts are typically more expensive to open and require deposits of over $100,000, as well as ongoing $300 maintenance costs.
There are 26 cantons (similar to states) in Switzerland with 24 of them having cantonal banks. These banks are regulated by cantonal laws.
A 2011 survey by SwissBanking.org revealed that in Switzerland there are 312 active banks, with over 3,000 branches. There are also 13 private banks in Switzerland, which are some of the oldest in the nation and hold and manage assets for private clients.
In Switzerland, one must be over 18 years old to open a bank account. Although if a bank suspects any illegal activity they can refuse to open an account. Banks can also refuse to open an account if the origin of funds destined for the account is questionable or the owner is "politically exposed" as that could affect the bank's reputation. Certified identification information is also required.
To open a Swiss bank it is preferred that the future owner open the bank account in person, but if it is not possible there are other options, which includes correspondence with the bank.
The following bank types are available to clients:
- Personal accounts: A simple standard account which can be used for salary deposits, payments and secure transactions.
- Investment accounts
- Savings accounts: used for saving money and acquiring interest.
Bank accounts can be opened with all major currencies including the Swiss franc, US Dollar, Euro or Sterling. Once a bank account is opened, there are no requirements for a minimum balance, although once the bank holder begins to deposit cash, there are minimum balances which are required to be met depending on the bank.
Closing the account
At any time a Swiss bank account can be liquidated and incurs no costs. All money can be immediately withdrawn.
For further assistance in opening a Swiss bank account or further information, contact our consultants.
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