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Informative Articles**

A Guide to Swiss Banking - Part 1

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 Swiss banking.

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:

Passport

You might also be asked to send an authenticated copy of your passport's photo page, showing your passport number, before you arrive.

Financial background

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.

Personal Information

You are usually requested to provide only basic

personal 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.

Security deposit

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 outstanding bills.

Question 1: Can I get a credit card without a security deposit?

No. No bank will agree to issue a card without a security deposit.

Question 2: Can the security deposit be used to pay credit card bills?

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.

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