Opening a Swiss Bank Account - Open Swiss Banking Account

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Opening a Swiss Bank Account

Swiss Bank Account

Opening and Using Swiss Bank Accounts Online

According to Swiss law, nonresidents of Switzerland who would like to open a Swiss bank account must be at least 18 years old. Other than that, there aren't a lot of restrictions. Your account can be in almost any currency, although most choose the Swiss franc, U.S. dollar, Euro or Sterling, and there is often no minimum balance required to open an account. Once you've started making deposits, however, there is a minimum balance you have to maintain that varies from bank to bank and by type of account.

Opening an account
While it's usually better to open your account in person, there are many Swiss banks that will allow you to open an account by mail or fax. There are also many firms that exist to assist people in setting up offshore accounts.
Because Swiss anti-money-laundering law requires you prove where your money is coming from, many certified documents are required in order to open an account. These include authenticated copies of your passport; documents explaining what you do for a living such as tax returns, company documents, professional licenses, etc.; proof of where the money you are depositing is coming from such as a contract from the sale of a business or house; and all of the typical personal information about yourself such as your birth date, a utility bill to prove your residence, all contact information, and, of course, your name. They'll also want to know what you want to do with the money once you have the account.
If you're opening your account by mail, you'll need to have the bank applications sent to you to complete and sign along with the rest of the documents mentioned above.
One difference between opening an account in person and doing it by mail is the requirement of an apostille on the authenticated copy of your passport (and no, a driver's license won't be accepted as proof of your identity).
An apostille is a seal used to certify that an official document is an authentic copy. In most countries, you can get it from a notary public but sometimes notaries aren't familiar with them. If this happens you must either find another notary who is, or find out what other authority in your country can issue apostilles. Any country that participated in the Hague Convention designates an authority that can issue apostilles (e.g., in the United States, the office of the state's secretary is authorized to do this). The most important thing is to always make sure the seal says APOSTILLES.

Major banks

UBS is one of the largest banks in the world (offices in New York City)
As of 2008, there are 327 authorized banks and securities dealers in Switzerland,[25] ranging from the "Two Big Banks" down to small banks serving the needs of a single community or a few special clients.

UBS and Credit Suisse are respectively the largest and second largest Swiss banks and account for over 50% of all deposits in Switzerland; each has extensive branch networks throughout the country and most international centres.
Due to their size and complexity, UBS and Credit Suisse are subject to an extra degree of supervision from the Federal Banking Commission

UBS

UBS came into existence in June 1998, when Union Bank of Switzerland, founded in 1862, and Swiss Bank Corporation, founded in 1872, merged. Headquartered in Zurich and Basel, it is Switzerland's largest bank. It maintains seven main offices around the world (four in the United States and one each in London, Tokyo, and Hong Kong) and branches on five continents.
Credit Suisse
Main article: Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse is the second-largest Swiss bank. Based in Zurich, it was founded in 1856; its market capitalization (as of 2007) is US$95.2 billion, and the company has about 40,000 employees. Credit Suisse Group offers private banking, investment banking and asset management services. It acquired The First Boston Corporation in 1988 and merged with the Winterthur insurance company in 1997; the latter was sold to AXA in 2006. The asset management services were sold to Aberdeen Asset Management in 2008 during the GFC.

Opening a numbered account
Numbered accounts are usually not as easy to open. They typically require that you physically go to the bank in Switzerland. They also typically require an initial deposit of at least $100,000 and cost about $300 per year or more to maintain. And remember, they're still not anonymous since there has to be a connection at some level between who you actually are and your account.
Minimum deposits/balances and fees

Minimum balances vary greatly by type of account (i.e., a few thousand dollars to one million dollars or more). And, banks charge differing fees based on the types of transactions and the account type you have. For example, on a basic account, international bank transfers (outgoing) might cost $3 or $4 each. They may also charge $5 to $10 when you deposit international checks to your account. Annual account maintenance costs are charged based on the number of entries in your account statement and are sometimes in the neighborhood of 0.5 Swiss Francs (i.e., $0.41) per entry.

 
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