A:

Surprisingly, opening a Swiss bank account is not that much different from opening a standard bank account because you have to fill out forms and provide documentation that proves who you are and what you do. However, due to some special circumstance regarding privacy, the level of scrutiny over providing official documentation of your identity is more strict. For example, you may need to show your official passport to provide your identity, whereas a driver's license would probably suffice in the U.S. There are also different minimum balance requirements depending on the type of account you want. These can range from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars.

The main benefits of Swiss bank accounts include the low levels of financial risk and high levels of privacy they offer. The Swiss economy is one of the most stable economies in the world and has not been involved in any conflicts in hundreds of years. Furthermore, Swiss law requires that banks have high capital requirements and strong depositor protection, which practically ensures that any deposits will be safe from financial crisis and conflict. In terms of privacy, Swiss law prevents the bank from disclosing any information regarding your account (even its existence) without the depositor's permission. The only caveat is that the information will be revealed if a government agency makes the claim that a depositor is involved in a serious criminal act or is involved in some other financial issue (such as bankruptcies, divorces and inheritances). Furthermore, Swiss anti money-laundering regulations also require depositors to provide proof regarding the origin of where the money being deposited came from.

For related reading, see Pros And Cons Of Offshore Investing.

RELATED FAQS
  1. Why would you keep funds in a money market account and not a savings account?

    Read about the differences between money market accounts and savings accounts, and see why a depositor would elect a money ... Read Answer >>
  2. What should you bring to a bank to open a checking account?

    Learn which documents you need to bring to the bank to open a new checking account. Having the right documents saves time ... Read Answer >>
  3. What are the requirements for opening a savings account in the United States?

    Understand what information and documentation is necessary to open a savings account within the United States, and learn ... Read Answer >>
  4. Why is the capital adequacy ratio important to shareholders?

    Understand what the capital adequacy ratio is and why it is a very important metric of financial soundness for evaluating ... Read Answer >>
  5. What factors are the primary drivers of banks' share prices?

    Find out which factors are most important when determining the share price of banks and other lending institutions in the ... Read Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between a demand deposit and a term deposit?

    Understand the meaning of demand deposits and term deposits, and learn about the major differences between these two types ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Forex

    Is The Swiss Franc A Good Investment?

    Individual investors, businesses, financial institutes and even countries have been keeping their money in Swiss francs.
  2. Forex

    Is The Swiss Franc A Safe Haven?

    We examine when and why there are runs on Swiss francs.
  3. Forex

    Why Switzerland Scrapped the Euro

    Why did the Swiss scrap its peg to the Euro and what impact will it have globally?
  4. Taxes

    Switzerland's Declining Tax Haven Appeal

    Switzerland's tax haven allure is being threatened by efforts by the US and other governments to make Swiss banks give up their much-vaunted secrecy.
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    How To Invest In The Swiss Franc

    The Swiss franc is one of the safe havens of the investing world. Learn how invest through ETFs, forex, futures, and binary options.
  6. Savings

    Understanding Savings Accounts

    A deposit account held at a bank or other financial institution that provides principal security and a modest interest rate.
  7. Investing Basics

    What is a Bank?

    A bank is a financial institution licensed to receive deposits or issue new securities to the public.
  8. Insurance

    Bag The Best Bank Account

    Take advantage of the deals banks offer, and find the right account for your financial situation.
  9. Savings

    How To Open And Access An Offshore Bank Account

    You don't have to be a master criminal or billionaire to open an offshore bank account. This article will walk you through the process.
  10. Savings

    Explaining Term Deposits

    A term deposit (more often called a certificate of deposit or CD) is a deposit account that is made for a specific period of time.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Swiss National Bank

    The Swiss National Bank is the bank that is responsible for setting ...
  2. CHF

    In currencies, this is the abbreviation for the Swiss franc. ...
  3. USD/CHF (U.S. Dollar/Swiss Franc)

    The abbreviation for the U.S. dollar and Swiss franc (USD/CHF) ...
  4. Bank Deposits

    Money placed into a banking institution for safekeeping. Bank ...
  5. Financial Privacy

    A term used to encompass a wide variety of privacy issues. It ...
  6. Advance Dividend

    An estimate of the present value of an asset being liquidated ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Physical Capital

    Physical capital is one of the three main factors of production in economic theory. It consists of manmade goods that assist ...
  2. Labor Market

    The labor market refers to the supply and demand for labor, in which employees provide the supply and employers the demand. ...
  3. Demand Curve

    The demand curve is a graphical representation of the relationship between the price of a good or service and the quantity ...
  4. Goldilocks Economy

    An economy that is not so hot that it causes inflation, and not so cold that it causes a recession. This term is used to ...
  5. White Squire

    Very similar to a "white knight", but instead of purchasing a majority interest, the squire purchases a lesser interest in ...
Trading Center