How to Open a Personal Bank Account in Switzerland

You can open a personal bank account in Switzerland as a foreign non-resident by meeting account opening requirements and making a qualifying opening deposit.

In this article, we’ll share how to open a personal bank account in Switzerland. However, it’s important to note that successfully establishing an account relationship in Switzerland largely depends on your client profile and a few key factors.

In this article, we’re going to help you navigate each of these factors and start the process of opening your Swiss bank account 100% remotely.

This article is part of our free series on how to open a bank account in Switzerland, which you can access using the link above.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. How to Open a Personal Bank Account in Switzerland
  2. Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland as a Non-Resident
  3. Benefits of a Switzerland Bank Account
  4. Frequently Asked Swiss Banking Questions
  5. Ready to Open an Offshore Bank Account?

How to Open a Personal Bank Account in Switzerland

Opening a personal bank account in Switzerland involves overcoming strict onboarding procedures, meeting specific requirements, and depositing a significant amount of money.

Most non-resident applicants will be expected to deposit anywhere from CHF $500,000 to CHF $3,000,000. Of course, the deposit required will vary between Swiss banks, account types, required Swiss banking services, and other factors.

Accessing personal banking, corporate finance options, or business banking in Switzerland as a foreign non-resident requires preparation and careful selection. This is true as finding the right institution and the best bank in Switzerland that accepts your client profile can be extremely challenging. In fact, depending on your client profile, there are some potential hazards and risks to banking in Switzerland that you should be aware of, which you can learn more about by clicking here and accessing our free guide

Of course, each bank has different deposit requirements, onboarding processes, and Swiss banking requirements. This will impact the types of client profiles that can realistically open at each bank.

In the next section of the article, we’ll share how to approach opening a personal bank account in Switzerland as a foreign non-resident in order to increase your chances of successfully opening accounts.

Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland as a Non-Resident

While Switzerland is widely seen as a popular financial hub and offshore banking jurisdiction where all of the banks cater to wealthy foreigners, this is not the case. In fact, only a small number of institutions registered and a list of banks in Switzerland actually accept non-resident applicants. And, certain nationalities, such as Americans will face considerable difficulties trying to open here. With this in mind, to successfully open Swiss bank accounts, applicants need to choose the right bank to apply to. Likewise, they need to select a Swiss bank that has the specific services they require and opening requirements they can meet.

When it comes to requirements, most major financial institutions and the largest banks in Switzerland will request reference letters, source of wealth documents, source of income documents, proof of address, and in many cases personal financial statements. That said, every bank is different and may accept alternative documentation for various opening requirements.

Here’s a closer look at the specific requirements you can expect when opening a bank account in Switzerland.

Requirements for Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland

  • Qualifying deposit
  • Government-issued identification
  • Proof of residency (if applicable)
  • Tax ID (from the country of residence)
  • Bank statements (from current bank accounts)
  • Bank reference letter (not always required)
  • Professional reference letter (not always required)
  • Personal financial statements (not always required)
  • Professional Resume or CV (not always required)

After deciding which banks you want to apply to, it’s important to review their requirements before contacting the bank. Otherwise, you could end up red-flagging yourself or identifying that you are unable to meet their requirements before you even start the application process.

With this in mind, bank selection is an important step in successfully opening an account and accessing the services you need, especially if you’re looking for exclusive client banking services, like private banking in Switzerland, as a non-resident. However, so is knowing how to approach the bank to make sure you have the best chance of opening an account. This is especially true if you require an account to remit funds online to send money to Switzerland since some banks may have restrictions on how money can be received.

Of course, the banks and financial institutions available to each client will depend on residency status, the type of bank account they require, the jurisdictions that they plan to send and receive money to and from, the banking services they need, and more. That said, if you are looking to open a bank account in Swiss Franc, the currency of Switzerland, Switzerland could be an option worth considering. However, it’s important to consider the fee structure and the banking costs in Switzerland before applying to open an account since Switzerland is a relatively expensive banking jurisdiction.

In the following sections, we will share the specific benefits that you can unlock when opening a personal account in Switzerland. But if you want to consider all of the available options in the offshore world, consider downloading our free guide.

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Benefits of a Swiss Bank Account

The benefits of opening a Swiss bank account ultimately depend on the person looking to bank in the country and the account they open. The reason for this is that certain banks offer different account types, fee structures, and interest rates, and accept different client profiles.

In other words, depending on the type of account and client profile you have, you may be able to access certain incentives and banking benefits in Switzerland that are not available to others. That said, in certain instances, you may find that banks elsewhere offer services that are more tailored to your specific needs.

With this in mind, it’s important to consider which banks offer the exact benefits you’re looking for prior to applying for accounts. You can do this by using the information in the GlobalBanks IQ Database or by accessing bank-specific information from our advanced international banking reports.

Here’s a look at a few of the benefits you can expect when opening a bank account in Switzerland.

Benefits of a Switzerland Bank Account

  • Sophisticated private banking and wealth management services
  • Comfortable with complex and high-risk client profiles
  • Access to CHF, EUR, GBP, USD, and most major currencies
  • Wide range of international investment products
  • A stable banking sector, economy, country, and currency
  • And much more

Frequently Asked Swiss Banking Questions

Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people exploring how to open a personal bank account in Switzerland. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

How Much Money Do You Need to Open a Swiss Bank Account?

How much money you need to open a Swiss bank account will ultimately depend on your residency, the bank, and the banking services you’re seeking. Generally speaking, Switzerland is often reserved for high-net-worth individuals with deposits for non-residents ranging between CHF 500,000 and CHF 2,000,000.

Can a US Citizen Open a Bank Account in Switzerland?

Yes, a US citizen can open a bank account in Switzerland. However, only a very small number of Swiss banks have the ability to onboard US citizens. Likewise, those banks that do accept US citizens typically have very specific account opening requirements, deposit requirements, and investment mandates that are required when opening accounts.

How Hard Is It to Open a Bank Account in Switzerland?

Opening a bank account in Switzerland can be very difficult if you do not have the resources to navigate the account opening process. That said, the main challenge of opening a bank account in Switzerland comes down to navigating the onboarding process and requirements, including the documentation and qualifying deposit.

Do Swiss Banks Report to IRS?

Yes, Swiss Banks report to the IRS through the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). That said, most banks around the world in reputable banking jurisdictions also report US citizen financial accounts to US government authorities. Likewise, US citizens themselves have a legal obligation to report all of their foreign financial accounts each year after certain (relatively low) thresholds are crossed. So, reporting to the US is not unique to Switzerland, nor is it only the responsibility of the bank.

Ready to Open an Offshore Bank Account?

If so, you can access GlobalBanks Insider and start the process of applying for an offshore account in a few clicks.

GlobalBanks Insider is a dedicated account opening solution that involves direct support from our team and direct introductions to the banks of your choosing. It gives you instant access to the…

+ Direct support from a team of banking experts

+ Direct introductions to your desired banks

+ Answers to your most pressing questions and challenges

+ Expert insights on which banks to choose & why

+ Plus, FULL access to our entire suite of account opening tools and intelligence!

And “yes!” GlobalBanks Insider is designed to help foreign and non-resident individuals and companies open bank accounts.

Use this link to see how GlobalBanks Insider can help you successfully open accounts.

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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