Switzerland Banking and Financial Services: Ultimate Guide

Switzerland banking and financial services primarily cater to the needs of high-net-worth individuals seeking private banking and wealth management services.

In this article, we’re exploring the banking and financial services that individuals and companies can access when banking in one of Europe’s top banking jurisdictions, Switzerland.

This will include an overview of the available services offered by Swiss banks, the services Swiss banks do not offer, and a comparison of Switzerland and other banking jurisdictions.

The insights shared below are based on our team’s experience banking in Switzerland as well as helping our premium members successfully open (and benefit from) Swiss bank accounts 100% remotely.

If you would like access to our free country guide and complete series on banking in Switzerland, use the link above to unlock access now.

Alternatively, keep reading to learn more about the banking and financial services that you can access as a foreign non-resident when banking in one of Europe’s most popular banking jurisdictions.

Table of Contents

  1. Switzerland Banking Services
  2. What Banking Services Are Available in Switzerland?
  3. What Banking Services Are Not Available in Switzerland?
  4. How Does Switzerland Compare to Other Jurisdictions?
  5. Benefits of Switzerland Banks
  6. Frequently Asked Switzerland Banking Questions
  7. Ready to Open an Offshore Bank Account?

Switzerland Banking and Financial Services

Switzerland banking and financial services span retail banking, business banking, offshore banking for individuals and entities, as well as private banking & wealth management services.

In other words, depending on your client profile, you can get access to everything from tailored banking services to personal banking in Switzerland. That said, depending on which of the 243 banks in Switzerland you decide to open an account with, the specific services you’ll be able to access will vary.

Not surprisingly, those banks that cater to foreign clients will offer services tailored to non-residents looking for international financial services and offshore banking in Switzerland, while other banks are more likely to serve Swiss residents, citizens, and local businesses.

In the following sections, we will take a closer look at the specific services foreigners, non-residents, and foreign entities can access in Switzerland. We will also discuss the bank’s rate schedule and costs of banking in Switzerland for various account types.

But first, as a quick recap, here is a list of the Swiss banking and financial services that most customers can unlock when banking in the country.

Switzerland Banking and Financial Services

  • Switzerland retail banking
  • Local Swiss business banking
  • Offshore banking for non-resident individuals
  • Offshore banking for foreign and offshore entities
  • Payment cards tied to Swiss bank accounts
  • Banking for Swiss and foreign trusts and foundations
  • Private banking and wealth management
  • Investment banking

What Banking Services Are Available in Switzerland?

Banks in Switzerland offer a full range of banking and financial services, from basic retail banking to sophisticated wealth management solutions. That said, most foreign non-residents will not be eligible for basic banking and instead will only be able to access offshore and private banking in Switzerland.

With this in mind, the Swiss banks that open for foreign non-resident individuals and entities are often suited to high-net-worth individuals and individuals seeking investment services.

That said, Switzerland banks may also be a suitable option for anyone with Swiss financial obligations, a requirement to transact in Swiss Francs, the official currency of Switzerland, or who owns property in Switzerland.

That said, the specific services that each Swiss bank offers will vary widely. So, if you are looking to bank in Switzerland in order to access specific services, you should confirm whether these services will be available to you before applying for an account. This is especially important if you are looking for commercial account services through business banking in Switzerland, as the available services and costs can vary widely.

To help you better understand which banking services you can access in Switzerland, we’ll break down the services that non-resident individuals, businesses, and entities can unlock in Switzerland below.

We’ll also review a few of the non-banking and financial services that Switzerland has to offer, which are important for anyone considering Swiss residency, Switzerland real estate investments, or starting a business in Switzerland.

Foreign Non-Resident Banking Services in Switzerland

The banking and financial services that foreign non-resident individuals can access in Switzerland include:

  • Private banking services
  • Investment accounts
  • Wealth management solutions
  • Tax advisory services
  • Fixed deposit accounts
  • And more

If you would like to access these personal banking services, you can start by reviewing our guide on opening a personal bank account in Switzerland. Alternatively, you can dig into the application conditions and Switzerland’s banking requirements by clicking here.

Switzerland Business Banking Services

The banking and financial services that qualifying foreign non-resident businesses can access in Switzerland include:

  • Transactional accounts to support business activities
  • Payment cards to complete business transactions
  • Merchant and treasury services
  • Commercial banking services
  • And more

If you would like to access these business banking services, you can start by reviewing our guide on opening a business bank account in Switzerland.

Switzerland Private Banking Services

If you’re looking for tailored premium services through private banking in Switzerland, you will be able to access the following financial services:

  • Accounts for high-net-worth individuals
  • Accounts for wealth management entities
  • A wide range of private banking services
  • Investment accounts
  • Wealth management solutions
  • Tax advisory services
  • Fixed deposit accounts
  • And more

If you would like to access these private banking services, you can start by reviewing our guide on opening a private bank account in Switzerland.

Switzerland Non-Banking and Financial Services

Today, Switzerland is synonymous with offshore banking, private banking, and wealth management. And, while banking secrecy and numbered accounts may have laid the foundation for the jurisdiction’s banking activities, an entire ecosystem of highly sophisticated private banking and wealth management services now exists.

Not surprisingly, many of these services are outside of the scope of traditional banking. Instead, they exist to support the banking activities of high-net-worth individuals and their wealth management entities.

Here is a look at the non-banking and financial services that you can access through Swiss service providers.

  • Investment and asset management services
  • Tax advisory services
  • Structuring of corporate and wealth management entities
  • Registered agent and nominee director services
  • Accounting and related professional services
  • Switzerland residency and citizenship services
  • And much more

Importantly, the level of service, communication, and competency can vary widely in Switzerland when it comes to Swiss service providers. So, it’s important to seek out Swiss firms that specialize in your area of interest and have reviews from trusted sources.

How Does Switzerland Compare to Other Jurisdictions?

Compared to other private banking jurisdictions, Switzerland is best suited to individuals willing and able to support high-six-figure and seven-figure deposits. Additionally, account openers should be prepared to invest a portion of the deposit with the bank.

Of course, depending on your profile, Swiss banks may not be the best fit for you and there could be better-suited banking jurisdictions elsewhere. And, like all jurisdictions, there are specific regulation concerns and risks to banking in Switzerland that you should consider.

How Does Switzerland Compare Regionally?

Switzerland is significantly better placed to serve foreign non-resident individuals and entities than several other offshore jurisdictions in Europe. This is especially true when you consider the safety of Switzerland banks and the stability of Switzerland’s correspondent bank relationships.

Support for Cross-Border Transactions

Importantly, the ability of banks in Switzerland to support cross-border transaction activity will depend on where you plan to send money. Likewise, if you are looking to wire a payment or send money to Switzerland, the country of origin will impact your options.

Additionally, like elsewhere, Swiss banks are required to conduct due diligence on transactions being sent to and from certain jurisdictions. So, if you are planning on sending money to jurisdictions listed by FATF, EU, or UK as requiring increased monitoring, non-cooperative, or high-risk, you should prepare to submit additional documents.

While this does not necessarily impact opening Swiss bank accounts, it does mean that you should confirm whether banking in Switzerland meets your transaction needs before opening accounts.

Which Services Should You Consider in Switzerland?

Needless to say, Switzerland is well-positioned to offer banking and financial services to individuals from most nationalities and residencies. But also, businesses with complex international structures or cross-border clients that are looking for private banking and are willing and able to support high deposit levels.

Here is a closer look at the sophisticated banking and financial services you can expect in Switzerland.

Sophisticated Banking and Financial Services

As mentioned, Switzerland typically caters to high-net-worth individuals. Accounts can be opened with USD 500,000 to USD 1,000,000 and even less when a longer-term financial commitment is being made that will increase over time. In most cases, individuals and entities looking to bank in Switzerland are seeking a private bank account.

Of course, it is possible to open accounts that require higher deposits. However, if you plan on making higher deposits to access these services, you should compare all of the banking options available to you around the world.

Which Banking Services Are Not Available in Switzerland?

While Switzerland is one of the most established offshore banking hubs, there are limits to the services that you can access in the country. Also, as mentioned above, Switzerland is best placed to serve anyone willing and able to support high deposit balances.

With this in mind, Swiss banks and the services they offer, are aimed at high-net-worth individuals. So, anyone seeking basic offshore banking services like foreign currency accounts, transactional banking, and basic savings accounts should bank elsewhere instead.

Benefits of Switzerland Banks?

In short, the exclusive loyalties and benefits of banking in Switzerland will depend on your client profile, desired deposit, expected transactions, your reasons for banking in Switzerland, and the Swiss bank you decide to open with.

That said, there are general benefits that most people can expect when banking in Switzerland, which include the following.

Benefits of Opening With Switzerland Banks?

  • Access to sophisticated private banking services
  • A wide range of wealth management services to choose from
  • An ecosystem of non-banking services to complement banks
  • Support from experienced and competent bankers
  • Remote account opening for all clients
  • Accepting of most citizenships and residencies

Benefits of Banking in Switzerland?

  • Strong correspondent bank relationships
  • Stable political and economic environment
  • Strong national reputation and banking credibility

These are just a few of the general benefits that you can access when banking with some of the top-rated firms and best banks in Switzerland. Of course, if you would like to start exploring your options you can use the free Switzerland banking guides linked above.

Alternatively, if you would like to explore an archive of institutions or a list of the banks in Switzerland that might be worth considering, you can click here now. This list includes some of the biggest banking firms and largest banks in Switzerland, including both domestic and international financial institutions.

Frequently Asked Switzerland Banking Questions

Below are a few questions we receive from people exploring banking and financial services in Switzerland. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Why Is a Swiss Bank Account So Special?

A Swiss bank account is so special because banking in Switzerland offers access to world-class banks, sophisticated banking and financial services, a stable political economic and political environment, and much more. That said, banking in Switzerland can be expensive and challenging, especially if you don’t know which bank will accept your client profile.

What Is Switzerland Know for in Banking?

Switzerland is known for private banking. However, the country was once known for the availability of numbered bank accounts and its banking secrecy laws, however, Swiss banking secrecy does not exist anymore. Swiss banks do offer a high level of privacy, there is no such thing as an anonymous bank account anymore. Instead, banks around the world share account holders’ personal and financial information with tax authorities directly.

Why Is Switzerland a Banking Hub?

Switzerland is a banking hub because of its sophisticated banks, experienced bankers, pragmatic bank regulations, and attractive banking services. In fact, many people look to Switzerland to open private bank accounts and to unlock unique private banking services, including international investments, asset management, tax planning, and more.

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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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