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How to Open a Swiss Bank Account

Updated on September 16, 2015

How to Open a Swiss Bank Account

Want to learn how to open a Swiss bank account? You’ve seen it happen in the movies and now want to have one – movies make it so fascinating, don’t they? What happens in those movies that make it so fascinating to have a Swiss account? Those types of movie plots generally revolve around a group or an individual who gets their hands on a large amount of money (generally in an illegal fashion) and have the funds placed to an offshore account. Movies are action packed and have an awe to them that makes having a Swiss bank account look glamorous. In real life, people generally want to know how to open a Swiss bank account for privacy and security reasons. With the global and national banking crisis situations that have happened in recent times, having a backup offshore bank account might make very good sense. Opening a Swiss bank account before a marriage also may be beneficial to protect assets in case of divorce. Here’s how to open a Swiss bank account the proper way.

Opening a Swiss Bank Requirements

Understand that if you are looking into how to open a Swiss bank account and you are fewer than 18 years in age that you will not be able to do so. Switzerland states that for non-country residents, that Swiss bank account holders must be 18 years of age or older. Keep in mind also that there are much tougher money laundering laws that Switzerland has begun to follow per other country requests. If you cannot prove sources of money then an offshore bank may disallow you from opening account. High deposits of money are generally what trigger an investigation; however, if you can prove your source when making larger deposits then you shouldn’t have any problems.

How to Open a Swiss Bank Account Steps

Step 1. Determine what your reasoning is for opening a Swiss bank account. If you want privacy then choose a bank that does not have bank branches in your country or other countries. Bank branches in your country will be able to retrieve information from another branch in Switzerland, if formed under the same corporation.

Step 2. Find a bank in Switzerland that suits your needs. To find a list of bank branches go to and type in “list of banks in Switzerland.” There are piles of listings. Wikipedia has a pretty straightforward list of all banks and even breaks them down into types. As stated before, stay away from International banks if privacy is your main concern. Those types are literally in every country.

Step 3. Make contact from the list of banks in Switzerland by telephone. Ask what the procedure is for opening an account. Some banks will allow foreign individuals to open accounts via online, mail or fax; while others will require that the person visit the actual bank itself. If you are having difficulties choosing a bank then contact a local bank in your area for a referral of a firm that specializes in setting up offshore bank accounts.

How to Open a Swiss Bank Account: Tips

Understand that you may be subject to carry a certain amount of money at all times in your account. 

A lot of Swiss banks offer individuals the option of having a safety deposit box if interest in not a concern; therefore, consider that if it fits your needs. 

Some types of accounts, such as a “Numbers account,” will require you to have a large sum of money to even open one. We’re not talking a grand but more like a hundred grand or more. These types accounts also charge hefty fees for maintenance and “care” of your funds.


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