Swiss numbered bank accounts – sometimes jokingly referred to as Goldfinger accounts – enjoy nearly mythical status in pop culture and in the banking world. The roles of Swiss numbered accounts in many Hollywood movies and in numerous crime novels have fed the myths surrounding this type of account. Misinformation posted on the Internet indicates that Swiss banks have long ceased to offer numbered accounts.
In fact, numbered accounts are offered by many Swiss banks. Unlike standard bank accounts, numbered accounts are not attached to the name of an individual or entity, but to a number. This number is used in place of your name, and appears wherever your name would appear in transaction records.
However, numbered accounts are not anonymous accounts by any means. Swiss banks must accurately identify customers in keeping with know your customer (KYC) regulations. But instead of sharing your bank information with all third parties involved in transactions and with low-level employees, your name as the account holder is only known to select bank employees.
Numbered accounts are fully legal in Switzerland and the Swiss banking system is set up to manage transactions between numbered bank accounts. However, sharing your sensitive personal information may be required when your Swiss bank performs international transactions on your behalf.
It is also important to consider that numbered accounts are considerably more expensive than regular private accounts. The annual fees for numbered accounts at Swiss banks can be as high as 1000 Swiss francs per year.
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