opening a swiss bank account

How To Open a Bank Account in Switzerland

Find useful information about opening a Swiss bank account in this guide.

Swiss law allows any person, legal entity or company can open a bank account in Switzerland – regardless of where they are domiciled.

However, Swiss banks are not legally obligated to accept account applications. Many Swiss banks only accept customers who are resident in Switzerland or even within a specific region (in the case of regional banks).

Banks may also deny service to applicants whom they consider to be incapable of good judgement or who are politically exposed persons (PEP). Applications will also be rejected if there is reason to believe that applicants are involved in money laundering.

Applying for a Swiss bank account

In keeping with know your customer regulations, Swiss banks require you to either visit a branch office in person or to provide certified copies of your identity documents. Some Swiss banks offer fully-online account opening for individuals who are resident in Switzerland.

Signatures are required

In addition to the application form, individuals opening personal accounts must complete and sign a signature card. A list of authorized signatures must be signed when opening company accounts. This form lists the first and last name, signature, nationality and date of birth of the prospective account holder. It also lists the account type and account number.

Customer identification

The identity of a customer must be verified in accordance with know your customer (KYC) procedures. This can be done through a personal interview or remotely via mail. If you cannot attend a personal interview, a certified copy of a personal identity document (your passport or national identity card, for example) must be sent to the bank to complete the identification process. You can have your identity certified at the branch office at which you apply for your account or by a correspondent bank, a different financial services provider or a notary office.

Opening a Swiss bank account online

There is currently no broadly accepted procedure for online identity verification in Switzerland. The majority of Swiss banks generally require that you either visit a branch office in person or send a certified copy of an identification document by mail. However, a few banks (like UBS) provide fully-online account opening for residents of Switzerland.

The banking service comparisons provide a quick and free way to find the best account for your needs and to place contact requests. Simply use the comparison tools to find the right account, click on the "Free quote" button and enter your contact details in the request form. You will be contacted by the relevant bank with an unbinding offer shortly after.

More on this topic:
Private accounts in Switzerland compared
Savings accounts compared
Swiss securities brokerage accounts compared
Banking packages compared
Swiss numbered accounts explained
Swiss bank safe deposit boxes explained
Swiss non-bank safe deposit boxes explained

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