The majority of Swiss banks charge higher account fees to customers residing outside of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. In most cases these higher fees also apply to the approximately 750,000 Swiss citizens who live abroad.
Banks cite higher administrative and regulatory costs as the reason for imposing these additional fees for customers living outside of the country.
On average, Swiss banks charge non-resident customers around 300 francs in additional fees every year. At most banks, this works on a “per-relationship” basis rather than on a “per-account” basis.
However, there are major differences in the non-resident fees charged by different Swiss banks. Annual non-resident fees may be as low as 72 francs, or as high as 720 francs, depending on which bank you work with. Comparing non-resident fees and moving to the most affordable bank ahead of leaving Switzerland can save you thousands of francs over several years.
A good first step is to perform a bank account comparison to find out which banks charge the lowest basic account fees for your user profile. You can then compare these with the non-resident fee comparison available below to determine the most affordable option.
Fees vary depending on the country you reside in
Some Swiss banks charge lower non-resident fees to customers residing in Germany, France, Italy or Austria. Some banks charge higher non-resident fees to customers living in specific countries.
Non-resident fees primarily apply to former residents
It is important to note that non-resident fees primarily apply to accounts you opened by former residents of Switzerland while they were still residents.
Opening a Swiss bank account when you are not a resident of Switzerland has become very difficult. Many Swiss banks do not accept applications from non-residents at all, or only accept non-residents as wealth management customers with high minimum asset requirements.
However, there are exceptions. The Zürcher and Graubündner cantonal banks accept customers from most European countries when certain criteria are met. The Thurgauer Kantonalbank limits its non-resident customer base to residents of Austria and Germany. The St. Galler Kantonalbank only provides services to residents of some European countries and to Swiss citizens residing outside of Europe.
Exemptions from non-resident fees
Many Swiss banks waive non-resident fees for customers who hold certain (high) minimum amounts of assets with them or mortgage property with them. Exemptions often apply to wealth management clients as well. The exact exemptions available differ from one bank to another.
A handful of Swiss banks do not charge non-resident fees at all.
Crédit Agricole next bank does not charge non-resident fees but only accepts residents of France, Germany and Liechtenstein who have direct economic connections with Switzerland (cross-border workers or individuals receiving Swiss pensions may fall under this category).
PostFinance does not charge non-resident fees for customers who only hold savings accounts.
You have to visit Switzerland in order to open an account
The majority of Swiss banks who accept non-resident customers require that you open your account at a branch office in Switzerland in order to confirm your identity. At this point in time, no Swiss banks allow non-residents to open accounts entirely online.
Non-resident fees at Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse charges an additional 120 Swiss francs per quarter, or 480 francs per year, to non-resident customers. Exceptions include customers with numbered bank accounts, mortgage-only customers, interest growth savings account holders and customers with investable assets of 1 million Swiss francs or more.
Non-resident fees at UBS
UBS account holders above the age of 20 who reside outside of Switzerland or Liechtenstein are charged 360 francs in non-resident fees every year. Students and youths are exempt from these additional fees. UBS mortgage and wealth management customers are exempt, as are customers with deposits totaling at least 250,000 francs. Customers in Germany, France, Italy and Austria are exempt from non-resident fees as long as at least 500 francs are deposited into their accounts every month.
Non-resident fees at Raiffeisen
Different branches of the Raiffeisen Bank charge different non-resident fees, but markups typically come to between 120 and 600 francs per year. Ask around at different Raiffeisen branches to find the best offer or compare the fee schedules available online.
Non-resident fees at the ZKB
The Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB) charges a basic non-resident fee of 90 francs per quarter, which adds up to 360 francs per year.
Non-resident fees at PostFinance
PostFinance charges non-resident customers 300 francs per year on a per-account basis, regardless of customers' assets or place of residence. That comes to 25 francs per month per private account or business account. Important: Non-resident fees at PostFinance are charged on a “per-account” basis, and not on a “per relationship” basis as they are at most other Swiss banks.
Non-resident fees at Migros Bank and Bank Cler
At Migros Bank, non-resident fees for customers in countries bordering Switzerland come to 300 francs per year. These are reduced to 60 francs per year if deposits of 7500 francs or more are maintained. Residents of all other countries pay 360 francs per year.
Bank Cler charges 20 francs per month, or a total of 240 francs per year, in non-resident fees. Non-resident fees are waived for customers with a Bank Cler mortgage and those with at least 100,000 francs in assets at the bank.