In this guide, you will learn about the benefits of Swiss
banking. You will also discover how to open a Swiss bank
account, and how to use it for investment and savings purposes.
Introduction Swiss bank accounts provide strict privacy, total
confidentiality and are also tax-free.
With a Swiss bank account you can also earn interest in the
currency you wish to hold your account in (USD, CHF and EUR).
You can also receive an international credit card and a numbered
account if you choose.
Typical Swiss bank account clients
Typical Swiss bank account clients come from all walks of life,
from international consultants and sales representatives to
expatriates and computer programmers. In fact, anyone seeking to
gain financially (possibly through trading in the capital
markets, the sale of real estate, inheritance, or an insurance
policy), or who wants to protect their estate in the event of
divorce or inheritance, can take advantage of the benefits of
Does it cost anything to open my Swiss bank account?
Opening a Swiss bank account is often free of charge.
Which documents do I need to open a Swiss account?
Opening a Swiss bank account has never been easier.
Before you arrive in Switzerland, you will be asked you to bring
with you some of the following documents:
You might also be asked to send an authenticated copy of your
passport's photo page, showing your passport number, before you
These documents show what you do for a living, for example a
copy of a current bank statement, contract of employment or tax
return. The exact documents required depend on the nature of
your professional life.
Origin of deposits
These documents show the financial origin of your deposit. For
example if you are depositing funds from the sale of a house,
you might be asked to send proof of the sale, a copy of the real
estate agent's listing, or similar.
You are usually requested to provide only basic
information. This information is required in compliance with
Swiss anti-money-laundering laws and to understand your banking
needs. All your information should be held in strict confidence.
Swiss bank accounts for US residents
If you live in the US you can still open a Swiss bank account.
However, there are some considerations. You should not invest in
any US securities from your Swiss bank account if you want to
keep this account private. Also, you cannot invest in most
investment funds such as mutual funds.
To obtain a credit card for your Swiss bank account, you will be
required to make a security deposit. Depending on the bank you
choose, this deposit can be as much as 1.5 to 2 times your
monthly credit limit. For example, if you have a maximum monthly
limit of USD 5,000, you will be asked to deposit anything from
USD 7,500 to USD 10,000. This security is held in another
account at the bank and invested in a fund. Your deposit will be
returned to you when you cancel your credit card and pay any
Question 1: Can I get a credit card without a security deposit?
No. No bank will agree to issue a card without a security
Question 2: Can the security deposit be used to pay credit card
No. Bills are sent to you, and you must pay them separately. If
this is inconvenient, you can always authorise your bank to
debit the amount from your account and they will hold the bill
until the next time you visit the branch.
In the next installment, we deal with making deposits to and
withdrawals from your Swiss bank account.