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I Opened a Swiss Bank Account

15 July, 2011

The GDP of Switzerland is higher than most of the countries in the world and that is why it is counted in one of the most prosperous nations in the world. To open an account there you will see the sign board outside the bank saying ‘Private Banking’, which is always a satisfying to anyone who wants to open a new account, especially at the Swiss Bank.  But actually that private bank is for millionaires, who are mostly from the third world countries and it requires $100,000 as a first deposit. Opening regular account does not need such a big deposit and is relatively the easier one.

In Switzerland, according to the laws and regulations any adult person can open an account. However, the bank holds the right to reject any customer for providing the services. For example, the bank can refuse to provide the services to a politically-exposed person, which can harm the banks reputation if that person becomes the bank client. The bank can also refuse to provide services to a person whose income sources are not reliable for the bank, or that person is generating income from criminal activities.

There are two types of accounts for companies in Switzerland.

  • Companies registered and working in Switzerland.
  • Companies registered and working abroad.

For the company, registered and working in Switzerland, the bank can gather the relevant information about the company.  The information can be collected from the Swizz Commercial Register on the companys relevant website.

For the company, registered and working outside Switzerland than they must provide the relevant information required by the bank and prove its existence.

One of the significant differences between the ordinary people bank and the Swiss bank is that, the regular banks let you pay the bills by sending pink slips in the mails. However, since American’s are used to the power of plastic while paying for the groceries or food at a restaurant, they hardly ever prefer the use of the credit cards. So when both the credit card and the checkbooks aren’t available, then there is no option left. One thing people don’t understand about the Swiss Banking is the monthly cash limit in the ATM machines. It’s quite confusing that why there are limits defined for the cash withdrawal. Different people go and try to persuade the teller to increase the monthly cash limit for the cash machines, and the tellers too, unwillingly, give them an approval.

Swiss accounts, sometimes also put people into trouble by changing their bank card. People often rush to the bank by such complaint and they are asked that they will get a different type of a bank card. Furthermore, the bank sometimes withdraws the PIN privileges. If someone goes and asks the reason, the bankers often sound very lame. For instance, they will tell you that according to your work permit, you work 120 days/year and since you do not work every day you have enough time to come in the bank and draw money. So you do not need PIN number.  It seems more like the bankers are imposing their personal views and authorities because it cannot be the bank policy for sure. It would be helpful if your current work permit is to be expired and the new work permit will reinstate all the previous banking privileges. It settles down everything. Furthermore, it also let you access the money machines (ATMs).

The next big problem that anyone can face while opening a Swiss account is the removal of the withdrawal limit. It is very troublesome for the people since according to bank policy once the limit is removed, no cash machine can be access in the entire world. It is very unusual that you cannot withdraw your own money and they tell you that you have already withdrawn enough money for your needs. If you insist on that you will be told that it is the same in all Swiss banks and it is not like America where you can access your account directly for withdrawals. In Zurich no one actually has the right to withdraw as many amounts of money as they want. This restriction seems worst if you want to go to vacations or want to buy some very expensive thing. All this require more amount of money than usual.

When all the efforts do not work for the Swiss account owners, they ask to increase their cash limit. They want to raise more money for many reasons and for that they have to give many reasons. This leads them to insist the banker once again. After the continued demand to increase the money, the tellers may agree to raise the cash limit. But it does not work always and you might be asked that this is your last time to increase the cash withdraw limit. So, it is quite obvious from the policies of the Swiss Bank that how Switzerland has such a high rate of personal savings and such a low rate of debt.  The people can’t get their money out of the bank to buy anything.

Swiss banks have high rate of personal savings, and low rates of debt. They just don’t let you withdraw excess amount of money than your needs. Swiss bank is just like another mature relationship, which needs compatibility, once it happens. People understand and recognize the boundary to which any bank account would be ready to go.

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by Gemma Maddock

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