The Swiss Banking Law in 1934 made it a crime for Swiss banks to reveal the name of a customer’s account since it was considered an invasion of privacy. These protections, which are the key differentiating factor that render Swiss bank accounts extremely popular with customers of banks around the world, are analogous to the privacy safeguards that exist between medical professionals and their patients or between lawyers and their clients.
Establishing a Financial Foothold in Switzerland
Surprisingly, the process of creating an account at a Swiss bank is not all that unlike to the process of opening an account at a regular bank. You are required to present documents and forms that you have filled out that confirms who you are as well as what you do. The level of examination that is applied when you provide official proof of your identification is, however, subject to a higher level of inspection due to several unique situations involving privacy. For instance, in order to prove your identification, you might be required to present your valid passport, whereas in the United States, a driver’s license would most likely do the trick. There are also varied minimum balance requirements based on the type of account that you want to open. These can be as low as a few hundred dollars or as high as several million dollars.
When determining whether or not to conduct business with you, Swiss banks apply a high level of scrutiny to the official papers you present.
A Swiss bank account can only be opened by a person who is at least 18 years old if they are not a resident of Switzerland. This is the only significant age requirement.
The primary advantages of banking with a Swiss financial institution are the low degree of financial risk and the high levels of privacy offered.
The law in Switzerland prohibits a bank from releasing any information about an account, including the account’s very existence, without the approval of the depositor, with the exception of situations in which serious criminal activity is detected.
Accounts in Swiss Banks Held by Individuals Who Do Not Reside in Switzerland
A Swiss bank account can only be opened by a person who is at least 18 years old if they are not a resident of Switzerland. This is the only significant age requirement. Account holders have the ability to select the currency in which they wish to keep their funds; however, the vast majority opt to keep their accounts in either Swiss francs, United States dollars, Euros, or British Pounds Sterling. There is often no requirement for a minimum balance in order to open an account; however, once monies have been deposited into an account, there is typically a minimal balance requirement, the amount of which varies depending on the bank.
In order to comply with the country’s anti-money-laundering legislation, anyone interested in opening a bank account in Switzerland is required to present a number of different pieces of documentation. Authenticated photocopies of your passport and papers that describe your job, such as returns for taxes, company paperwork, professional licenses, etc., as well as verification of the origin of your funds and other customary personal information, are among these requirements.
Advantages of Having a Bank Account in Switzerland
The high level of anonymity and the low level of financial risk that Swiss bank accounts offer are two of the primary advantages of having such accounts. The economy of Switzerland is one of the more stable in the world, and the country hasn’t been involved in a major war for hundreds of years. In addition, Swiss law mandates that banks meet stringent capital standards and provide robust security for depositors, all of which virtually guarantee that all deposits will be immune to the effects of both financial crises and armed conflict.
Accounts that are kept in Swiss Francs will be subject to the Swiss tax on withholding in addition to earning a minuscule amount of interest on their balances. Because of this, the majority of account holders residing outside of Switzerland maintain a Swiss bank account denominated in a different currency.
Without the agreement of the depositor, Swiss law prohibits banks from disclosing any data regarding an account, including the account’s very existence, which protects customers’ personal information. If an agency of the government makes the allegation that the depositor is involved in a significant criminal act or is involved in any other financial difficulty (such as bankruptcy filings, divorces, or inheritances), then that depositor’s information will be given. This is the single exception, and the only method that information will be revealed. In addition, in order to comply with anti-money-laundering legislation, depositors in Switzerland are required to show evidence identifying the place of origin of the funds that they have stored in their accounts.