How to Open a Swiss Bank Account Online for Non Residents?

Last Updated on April, 2024

If you’re here, you should be a non-resident looking to open an online Swiss Bank Account. If so, I know what your fears will be.

There are so many ways to handle your money in Swiss Francs and switch to other currencies like Euro and USD. However, it’s in your hands to find the services Swiss banks offer to non-residents. This way, you can open a Swiss Bank Account without having a second thought.

Understood?

But if you want something with low fees and flexibility in handling different currencies, check out OPTIONS like Wise or Revolut.

Because these online platforms, unlike other online banks, usually give you more currency options, lower costs for online payments, and often, no monthly fees or minimum balances.

However, if you’re still looking for more details – DON’T WORRY!

All you have to do is keep reading.

Quick Summary

It is important to carefully research and choose a Swiss bank that suits your needs and intended use, whether it’s for day-to-day transactions, cross-border commuting, multi-currency management, or high-wealth investments.

Opening a Swiss bank account as a non-resident is possible and convenient, but it may come with higher fees and limited features compared to resident accounts.

Alternative online solutions like Wise and Revolut offer cost-effective and flexible options for managing money in different currencies, but it is important to thoroughly review their features and fees before making a decision.

Opening a Swiss Bank Account Online for Non-Residents

a picture of the swiss bank in switzerland

GUESS WHAT? Opening a bank account in Switzerland online as a non-resident is a convenient option that eliminates the need to visit a branch in person.

While this method offers EASE, it’s essential to be aware that non-resident accounts often come with higher fees than standard CHF accounts, and some may lack features like multi-currency functionality.

To initiate the process, the first STEP is selecting a Swiss account, and it’s advisable to pick central banks in major cities such as Zurich and Geneva, as they generally provide better support for non-resident applications.

Most Swiss banks are beneficial for business people navigating the account setup.

Once you’ve chosen your bank account in Switzerland, reach out to them to request an application form. Following the bank’s specified procedures, submit the required documents, keeping in mind that the account activation period typically ranges from one week to a month.

Remember! Verifying your IDENTITY is the primary step in the account-opening process.

Note: Swiss IBANs, or international bank account numbers, comprise 21 characters, starting with the country code (CH), followed by digits representing the bank and specific account number.

Plus, it’s crucial to note that non-resident Swiss bank accounts may have higher fees and, in some cases, impose a minimum deposit condition when APPLYING REMOTELY.

For those seeking an alternative with more flexibility, Wise account or Revolut is a great solution that allows account holders to manage multiple currencies in a single account, all with transparent pricing. 

How Do You Choose a Swiss Bank Account As a Non-Resident?

Opening and operating Swiss bank accounts as a non-resident is legally permissible. However, the process may not need to be more familiar due to varying eligibility requirements set by different banks.

To guide you in selecting the correct account, consider your intended use, such as:

  • Day-to-Day Swiss Bank Accounts in Swiss Franc (CHF): This is IDEAL for those planning to move to Switzerland or regular visitors. You can look for features suited for daily transactions in CHF. 
  • Cross-Border Commuters: For the individuals living outside Switzerland, receiving CHF payments but spending in EUR. You can seek accounts with currency flexibility and reasonable fees.
  • Multi-Currency Management: Suitable for those needing to handle CHF and other currencies. And to evaluate exchange rates and fees for managing multiple currencies.
  • High-Wealth Individuals: Designed for tradition and investing in CHF-denominated funds. Note that these accounts may have high minimum balance requirements and substantial fees.

However, when you’re choosing a Swiss bank account for daily use, you should consider the following factors:

  • Monthly Fees: Check for any recurring charges associated with the account.
  • Transaction Fees: Assess ATM withdrawals, payments, and other transaction costs.
  • Exchange Rates: If dealing with multiple currencies, evaluate the rates provided by the bank.
  • Account Closure and Dormancy Fees: Be aware of any charges related to account closure or inactivity.
  • Complex Transactions: Understand fees for intricate transactions like international wire transfers.

Note: Online multi-currency solutions/accounts like Wise and Revolut offer viable options for those exploring alternatives. 

Wise provides accounts with no minimum balance and zero monthly fees, while Revolut offers plans with and without ongoing charges, allowing you to CHOOSE a plan that BEST aligns with your needs.

Remember to THOROUGHLY REVIEW key features and fees before making your decision.

What Are the Requirements to Open a Swiss Bank Account?

a person making an online bank account

Don’t worry! You can create a Swiss bank account online. But remember, each bank has its rules, usually requiring you to be 18 or 20 years old for different account types.

Plus, you need to provide some info and paperwork to get started. However, remember that some bank accounts may ask for a fixed deposit, so make sure you have the funds ready!

Typically, you’ll need:

  • Government ID
  • Opening deposit
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of employment

If you’re UNABLE to open a resident’s bank account in Switzerland and want a non-resident one, be prepared for higher monthly fees and potentially minimum initial deposit requirements.

However, if you’re looking for an alternative, check out Wise or Revolut. Open an account online or in their app using your proof of address before arriving in Switzerland.

The benefit? You’ll instantly access online multi-currency accounts (CHF, EUR, USD, and more). It’s easy, cost-effective, and provides a FLEXIBLE way to manage your money while roaming.

Can I Open a Bank Account in Switzerland Online From the USA As a Non-Residence?

Yes. While non-residents can open bank accounts in Switzerland, it’s important to NOTE that some banks may still need customers to visit a branch to complete the account setup process.

Although initiating the process online is possible, if you have yet to make plans to travel to Switzerland shortly, it is advisable to carefully review the account details before proceeding with your application.

However, Remember! Switzerland has four official languages: French, Italian, German, and Romansh.

If you DECIDE to open your Swiss bank account in a branch and need to be proficient in the local language, you should inquire about English-speaking representatives for assistance.

However, consider exploring online multi-currency solutions/accounts offered by providers such as Wise and Revolut for a more convenient alternative.

How Do You Open a Swiss Bank Account From the USA?

Opening a Swiss bank account from the USA is an EASY process, offering various options to suit your preferences and situation.

Note: When you open a bank account, remember to know how your Swiss bank account number should look as the format differs. 

Whether you go for a traditional Swiss bank account or consider alternatives like Wise or Revolut, you should follow these basic STEPS.

  • Step 1: Choose Your Banking Option

Research different banks and their account offerings to understand their policies and whether they suit your needs. Central Swiss banks often provide non-resident accounts, some of which can be conveniently opened online from the US.

However, be mindful of minimum balance requirements.

  • Step 2: Explore Neobanks:
yuh and neon swiss online banks

There are two prominent neobanks in Switzerland, Yuh and neon. They offer comprehensive digital banking assistance, including online checking and debit cards.

  • Yuh

Yuh, backed by Swissquote and PostFinance, is a Swiss neobank that offers a multi-currency account, including a Swiss franc IBAN, provides a user-friendly banking option, and allows users to hold balances in up to 13 different currencies, including EUR, USD, and GBP (with a Swiss withholding tax).

Apart from its digital banking suite, Yuh features built-in stock and crypto trading. Yuh is considered an excellent CHF account among the available in Switzerland and connecting EU/EEA countries.

Account NameYuh
Annual CostCHF 0
Noteworthy FeaturesFull Swiss bank account with IBAN and eBill, stock and cryptocurrency trading
LicensingBanking services provided by PostFinance and SwissQuote (including deposit insurance) 
AvailabilitySwitzerland, Italy, Austria, France, Liechtenstein, and Germany
  • Neon

Neon is a SOLID option if you want a free Swiss bank account. It operates entirely through a mobile app, offering no fees on its standard account.

Neon suits basic banking needs like deposits, withdrawals, direct debits, and card payments. However, proof of residence in Switzerland is required.

Monthly Feeneon free: CHF 0.00 neon green: CHF 5.00 neon metal: CHF 15.00 
LicensingBanking services provided by Hypothekarbank Lenzburg
FeaturesFull Swiss bank account, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Garmin Pay, and SwatchPAY.

Note: Both Yuh and Neon are legitimate options, but Yuh is available in more countries, while neon is exclusive to Switzerland.

  • Step 3: Consider Multi-Currency Accounts:

EXPLORE Multi-currency accounts offered by Wise or Revolut. These accounts are cost-effective, allowing you to hold and convert money in various currencies, including Swiss francs and US dollars.

This flexibility simplifies transactions between the US and Switzerland.

  • Step 4: Application Process:

Once you’ve selected a banking option, check the eligibility criteria and gather all required documents for the application. 

Whether applying online or in person, follow the bank’s specified procedure.

  • Step 5: Minimum Opening Deposit:

Make the minimum opening deposit as required by the chosen bank. Be aware of any fees associated with the account.

  • Step 6: Verification Process:

Complete the verification process by presenting the necessary documents. This step ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and finalizes the account setup.

By following these steps, you can efficiently open a Swiss bank account from the USA, facilitating seamless financial transactions between the two countries.

Best Accounts in Switzerland for Foreigners

best accounts in switzerland for foreigners
Service WiseRevolutUBSPostFinance
Currencies covered50+ currencies including EUR, CHF, and USD25+ currencies including CHF, EUR, and USDEUR or CHFEUR or CHF
Available non-resident accountsYesYesYesYes
Open an online accountYesYesYesYes
Maintenance FeeFreeUp to $16.99 per month
Note: No opening or monthly fee for standard plan
Starting at CHF 5/month, the total fee varies based on the chosen banking package25 CHF/month
International TransfersTransparent and low fees
Note: Transfer fee will vary by currency
Fees fluctuate by currency and payment valueSPEA transfers start at 0.3 CHF, while other payments begin at 5 CHF + third-party charges
An exchange rate markup is also applicable
Online payment fees vary, starting at 2 CHF
Exchange rate markup applies

However, when opening a Swiss bank account online as a non-resident, consider options like PostFinance Private Account (CHF/EUR) and UBS Personal Account (CHF/EUR).

Because these providers offer various account choices with different fees and features!

Note this. If you lead an international lifestyle, specialized services will be better than the services offered by traditional banks. They often provide more currency options and cheaper solutions for overseas payments.

While banks are SOLID choices, those with global financial needs will find specialized services more specific and cost-effective.

What is the Best Swiss Bank Account for Foreigners From Swiss Banks?

Here are some TOP SWISS BANK accounts for foreigners:

  • USB Non-Resident Bank Account:

USB offers various account options for foreigners. You can check the smart banking online and proceed to the account application stage to get a personalized proposal based on your circumstances, including income.

Personal accounts are free to open and close, but there’s a monthly fee of up to 30 CHF, depending on the package and age.

Card payments abroad have a 2% fee and the USB exchange rate surcharge. International ATM withdrawals value up to 5 CHF each, plus an exchange rate surcharge.

  • PostFinance Account for Non-Residents:

If you live in Switzerland, you can open a PostFinance account online with your smartphone. Non-residents, however, need to start the process online and then complete it with hard-copy documents sent by mail.

Choose the right account package for you. For example, the Smart banking package has a 5 CHF/month fee unless you maintain a balance of 25,000 CHF.

International ATM withdrawals cost around 5 CHF each, depending on the package and card.

  • Migros Bank Accounts for Non-Residents:

Migros Bank has different accounts for foreigners, but their website is in German, French, and Italian.

To open a bank account, you usually need to visit a branch, so having a local friend with you could be helpful.

Reasons to Open a Swiss Bank Account

‘Why is having a Swiss bank account a SMART move?’ Because it gives you a safe place for your money, helps you with daily transactions, and opens doors to worldwide opportunities.

I’ll tell you the benefits, like privacy and stability, that make Swiss banking a great CHOICE for your money. Other benefits are:

  • Everyday Use:

You can open a standard account at PostFinance or other Swiss banks for everyday banking. You need a valid I.D., be 18 years or older, and proof of residence.

  • Investments and Wealth Management:

You can protect your assets with a foreign currency account in Swiss francs (But you should pay Swiss withholding tax)—significant banks like HSBC and Credit Suisse offer such funds. 

However, you need a valid I.D., be 18 or older, and should deposit an initial amount of USD 250,000 to USD 1,000,000 for your wealth management plans.

  • Spending Swiss Francs:

Use Wise or Revolut for holding and spending Swiss francs with better exchange rates. Here, you need to provide a valid I.D. and proof of residence outside Switzerland.

Note: Swiss accounts are no longer anonymous or seizure-proof due to the AEOI since 2017.

However, if you are a U.S. citizen, remember that opening some accounts is more challenging due to FACTA regulations. So, central Swiss banks in cities like Zurich are more suitable for you!

Cost and Tips for Transferring Money

transferring money between online bank accounts

GUESS WHAT? Swiss banks offer a variety of banking products, providing you with options, but it’s crucial to carefully review the details before making any decisions.

Some accounts are designed for everyday spending with low costs. In contrast, others, especially non-resident accounts, target those looking to deposit substantial amounts of money, often having high minimum deposit requirements and usage restrictions.

However, BEFORE PROCEEDING, thoroughly read your account’s terms and conditions, paying attention to the following costs:

  • Foreign transaction payment
  • Minimum deposit requirement
  • International transfer fees
  • Monthly maintenance fee
  • Out-of-network ATM fees
  • Receiving an amount for domestic and international payments

Tip: For cost-effective international transfers, remember these tips:

Benefits:

  • Be aware that third-party fees may be reduced during processing, resulting in your recipient receiving less than expected.
  • Compare the offered exchange rate with the rate found on Google to detect any markup.
  • Review your account’s terms and conditions to know if sending payments online is cheaper.
  • For high-net-worth INDIVIDUALS, Swiss banks provide specialized services for traditional and investment banking.

Please consider using a specialized international money transfer company, as they often provide better exchange rates, lower overall fees, and faster delivery than traditional banks.

It’s advisable to compare OPTIONS before making any payments.

Know These Pros and Cons Before You Open a Bank Account As a Non-Resident in Switzerland

Mm… We all want to open a Swiss bank. But, as per Switzerland’s banking secrecy laws, tax evasion, and internal revenue service, it’s not as easy as you think.

However, whether you’re planning to open a personal or business account, know that you’ll have both benefits and drawbacks. 

Benefits:

  • Swiss banks are stable without any financial risk.
  • They provide a gateway to international banking, making it convenient for those with global economic needs.
  • Some Swiss banks offer multi-currency accounts, allowing you to hold and manage various currencies.
  • For high-net-worth INDIVIDUALS, Swiss banks provide specialized services for traditional and investment banking.
  • Swiss banking laws traditionally emphasize privacy, providing confidentiality for account holders.

Drawbacks:

  • Non-resident accounts lack certain features like multi-currency functionality or advanced online banking services.
  • Switzerland has four official languages, and communication in English may not always be guaranteed, leading to potential challenges, especially for in-person transactions.
  • Some Swiss banks impose minimum deposit conditions, making them less accessible for those with limited funds.

Alternative Online Swiss Accounts for Non-Residents

The following EASY TO USE online Swiss accounts for non-residents. As I mentioned before, they’re simple, flexible, and cost-effective.

Note: You can manage multiple currencies without stress through a multi-currency account.

P.S. Find your IDEAL banking solution effortlessly (and thank me later).

ProviderWiseN26Revolut
FeaturesNo ongoing fees for minimum balance
Multi-currency accounts for personal and business use
Debit card for global spending
Various account plans
Personal and business accounts in euros
Linked debit cards with different features based on the plan
Flexible plans based on your needs
Personal and business accounts with multi currency support
Different debit card options based on the chosen plan
EligibilityWise accounts are available to customers in the US and various other countries, including SwitzerlandResidents in many European countries, including Switzerland, can open an account with N26Available to customers with addresses in various countries, including Switzerland
SafetyWise is registered and licensed global providerN26 is registered and licensed neo-bankRevolut is registered and licensed, providing a trustworthy option

Related guide:

Conclusion

Well, What’s your OPINION now? 

I REPEAT: Whether you open a bank account for everyday transactions or high-wealth investments, choosing the correct account is crucial. 

So, alternatives like ‘Wise’ or ‘Revolut’ provide flexibility – especially for USA residents.

This way, you can be in your safe zone.

However, Remember! Even though Swiss banks offer stability and security, assessing your options is essential to AVOID any financial risk. So, be mindful of fees and documentation requirements.

Tip: Using online multi-currency solutions/accounts will SIMPLIFY the process.

FAQs

The features that set a Swiss bank account apart from others are its strict privacy laws and stability, providing a secure option for protecting funds in uncertain financial times.

Yes, Swiss bank accounts are both safe and legal. It is permissible to have a standard bank account or a business account in Switzerland, but it is important to follow Swiss laws, rules, and regulations to remain compliant. However, if a government agency accuses you of criminal or financial wrongdoing, your account details may be disclosed.

Yes, you can open a Swiss bank account online or in person, but you will need to provide proof of income and essential details. Keep in mind that there may be an additional fee for applying remotely.

No, many Swiss banks no longer provide traditional numbered bank accounts. While some banks may still have existing numbered accounts, new customers generally do not have access to this type of account.”

Swiss banks typically require a minimum deposit for opening an account. However, there are alternative options such as Wise and Revolut that offer no opening fees or ongoing charges.

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Allen Morning
I'm Allen Morning, with a background spanning over 15 years in international finance and education from Harvard and Stanford. I founded Currenciap with a vision to demystify and streamline global financial transactions. My journey in finance has fueled my commitment to creating a platform that is both user-friendly and efficient, making international finance accessible to everyone. You can find more about me here.

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