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Opening an account in a Swiss bank 2021

How to improve the chances of opening an account in a Swiss bank

2021-01-06
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Swiss banks are a symbol of reliability. The country is politically neutral and has not been involved in any uprisings since 1815. Additionaly, its banks have never been robbed. People who open an account here are sure that their money is in safe hands. Swiss banks value this reputation and take an active part in the fight against money laundering, so they do not open an account for everyone. To find out how to increase the chances of opening an account in Switzerland, read our article.

Requirements of Swiss banks to the clients

Each Swiss bank may independently establish requirements for individuals and legal entities who want to become their customers. At the same time they must not violate the country's laws aimed at combating money laundering (AML rules).

Companies that apply for opening an account are implicitly divided into passive and active clients:

  • Passive: this group includes companies that are owned by foreigners, do not have Swiss employees, and do not have a physical office in the country. The category includes legal entities that do not conduct commercial activities. Small private banks in Switzerland do not work with passive companies, as they do not have the ability to thoroughly verify customers;
  • Active: in this group, there are companies that are owned by the Swiss. They have an office in one of the cantons where locals work. It is easier to open an account for such companies; even small Swiss banks are very accommodating.

The fight against money laundering

Switzerland has signed an anti-money laundering agreement, so it carefully checks the shareholders and owners of companies, requiring documents, photos, and videos. Data on the beneficiary must be specified in a special questionnaire.

Other AML/KYC rules in Swiss banks:

  • Customers must describe details of transactions and reasons for using domiciliary companies;
  • The bank can block the account if the Money Laundering Reporting Service files a report on the customer's transactions with the prosecutor's office. At the same time, the bank is not obliged to warn the client about it.

Therefore, to avoid problems, the company must operate legally and transparently. Its owners must not be involved in scams or frauds. Swiss banks necessarily check the reliability of the client, and will not work with a millionaire, if s/he will not prove the legality of money.

How to open an account in a Swiss bank

Non-residents who live in Switzerland or sometimes visit it for work can open an account without depositing a minimum amount. Foreigners who do not live and work here and do not have a residence permit must contribute 200 to 500 thousand euros (other currencies are allowed in that equivalent).

To open a corporate account in Switzerland, you must prepare the following:

  • constituent documents of the company;
  • ID card of the head of the company;
  • certificate from the foreign registry about the work of the organization for the last 6 months, if the company exists more than a year;
  • other papers on request.

It is better to submit the documents in person to the bank or to its representative working in your country. Currently, there are remote methods of identification of the client, but they are not widespread.

How quickly the account will be opened in Switzerland

Opening an account takes from 1 to 5 weeks after submitting documents and talking to the banker. Without expert support, the procedure can take months due to mistakes in paperwork, an incomplete set of documents, etc. If you want to quickly open a bank account in Switzerland in 2021, contact the experts at IT-OFFSHORE.

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