Best Banks For Expats In Switzerland part 2 – Part one is here.
Best Banks for Expats in Switzerland
Switzerland is well known as a home for the rich and powerful. With its scenic mountains, fresh air, and pristine lakes, it is easy to see why people make such a big deal about Switzerland’s outward appearance.
However, what most outsiders do not know about this small country is that it has a bigger reputation for its financial institutions. While most people know that Switzerland is famous for its banks, not everyone knows which bank is the best. This list will show some of the top banks in Switzerland and their services.
Santander Bank Polska
This Polish bank is the sixth-largest bank in Poland by assets and has operations worldwide, including Brazil, Germany, Luxembourg, and of course, Switzerland. In addition to top-notch customer service, the bank offers a free checking account for all customers, including a free MasterCard debit card and no transaction fees abroad.
One drawback is that this bank does not have an online or mobile banking function yet, but they offer a wide range of perks, including special rates at hotels, discounts from retailers, and access to over 1400 VIP airport lounges worldwide. The bank also offers dedicated customer service representatives that can be contacted 24/7 in different languages for all your banking needs.
HSBC is another multinational bank with a presence all across the globe, including several countries in Europe. In Switzerland, HSBC offers a full range of products to expats and their families, including a fully functional online banking system with features such as live chat and voice recognition options.
HSBC also has a wide network of branches all across the country, which is especially helpful if you plan on opening an account back home while you’re still living in Switzerland.
UBS, Union Bank of Switzerland
The largest Swiss bank by market share and total assets is also one of the best banks globally and offers a full range of products to expatriates with different account options depending on how long they plan on staying in the country.
UBS is currently rolling out a new digital platform that will allow customers to do all their banking on the go, regardless of whether they are using a computer or their mobile device. Customers will also have access to cash machines without paying any fees, which are great for expats who plan on banking in other countries while still living in Switzerland.
Bank Coop is a joint cooperative bank with branches all across the country. In addition to low-cost accounts and loans, the bank offers a free MasterCard debit card and access to cash machines from other banks, which can be especially helpful if you’re still living abroad or traveling extensively.
Raiffeisen is another Swiss bank with an extensive network of branches all over the country. This bank offers accounts specifically designed for expatriates, including low-cost accounts with free cash withdrawals at other banks’ ATMs. They also offer a number of other products at competitive interest rates, including mortgages and investments.
Migros Bank is the fifth-largest bank in Switzerland based on market share and has several branches. If you already have an account with this bank, converting it to a Migros Bank account while living in Switzerland is straightforward. For the account to be opened, you will need a valid ID document and two passport photos.
As for perks, Migros offers a free MasterCard debit card with no monthly fees regardless of the balance in your account. In addition, all transactions are free worldwide except for cash withdrawals from non-Migros ATMs. After completing 60 days of residency in Switzerland, customers are eligible for discounts on Migros Bank mortgage loans.
BKB (Bank J. Safra Sarasin)
BKB is one of the most reputable banks in Switzerland and has over 100 branches throughout the country. The bank offers a wide range of products for both private and commercial customers, as well as online banking with an app that can be used on your smartphone.
One of the things BKB is known for is its excellent customer service, but some expats complain about unhelpful employees. Also, some say there are language barriers when communicating with English-speaking staff members.
However, this issue seems to be resolved when allowing the Swiss Franc to act as a natural translator. One thing to note is that BKB’s best products are for customers with assets over 1 million CHF. Customers with less than this amount will face extra fees and should look at other banks instead.
Julius Baer Bank & Trust
Based in Zurich, Julius Baer Bank & Trust has several locations throughout Switzerland as well as an online platform for customers to manage. One of the perks that make this bank stand out is its reward system, where clients receive yearly cash bonuses just for using the account. Like most other Swiss banks, Julius Baer offers a free MasterCard debit card with no fees, but they charge between 5%-20% on withdrawals made at non-Swiss ATMs. For expats that want to open a bank account in Switzerland, you need a permit of residence and a valid ID document from your country of origin.
Many Swiss banks also require two passport photos and written proof showing the source of any assets deposited. When applying for an account, make sure you find out which perks are included in deciding which product is the best fit for your needs.
Requirements to Open a Bank in Switzerland
In Switzerland, there is no such thing as an anonymous account. A client of the major Swiss banks can be considered anonymous if he uses an offshore company. The bank is obligated to register the real identity of the person owning said company within a maximum period of five years after acceptance of the business.
However, this does not mean that you cannot open an anonymous bank account in Switzerland. You won’t get the full package: no free credit cards, no checks, and so on. All of these services come at a cost – and it will be quite expensive to maintain an anonymous bank account in Switzerland. Therefore, the following conditions must be met to open a Swiss bank account:
- You don’t live within 50 km from any Swiss border or within 100 km of the Swiss border during a calendar year
- You must provide an official document indicating your identity and legal status;
- You must provide proof of your residence (a house rental agreement would suffice)
- The bank has to be notified of your residential address, and this address cannot differ from the one mentioned in step
- You must maintain an average balance of at least 500,000 CHF
Why Moving to Switzerland in 2022
Why wait? Make a move to Switzerland, one of the world’s most vibrant, economically stable nations. As a small country, surrounded by some of Europe’s largest economies such as Germany and France, as well as culturally significant countries like Italy and Austria, Switzerland also offers its own unique cultural experiences for those looking to escape.
One thing that is certain about the future is that it cannot be predicted. No one can tell what will happen in six months, let alone six years from now. However, there have been many positive indicators as to where life for those looking to live abroad could look like in 2022 and beyond.
The European Union has been a strong supporter of further political integration between its member states and continues to push for more harmonization of law and greater cross-border integration. As such, here are five reasons why you should consider making a move to Switzerland in 2022.
The European Union
The EU is a major player in international politics and trade. Anywhere with a strong presence in world affairs will be a desirable location for those looking to leave their country of origin and embrace new cultures. The future of the EU is highly contested at present, but it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
Switzerland has the highest GDP per capita in all of Europe. As such, there is no better place if you’re looking to find work and get your financial footing. The Swiss economy not only offers an excellent standard of living but job opportunities that may be unavailable in other countries.
It also helps that the cost of living is lower than most locations in North America and Europe, making it a desirable location for anyone looking to boost their income and save money.
Besides the cold winters, Switzerland is a country with many positive aspects in terms of the health of its citizens. The Swiss diet is excellent and contributes to a lack of obesity-related health problems among Swiss residents, who enjoy an average life expectancy one year longer than Americans and three years longer than the British.
Besides, health insurance is excellent and subsidized by the government, allowing citizens more money to save and invest.
Excellent Education System
Switzerland’s education system ranks highly on many international lists and offers a wide variety of opportunities for anyone looking to get ahead in life through continuing their studies or learning new skills. With over 20 universities that rank within the top 100 in Europe, Switzerland is a European leader in higher education.
Whether you’re looking for a country with international nightlife or somewhere that offers career advancement opportunities, Switzerland has something for everyone. The Swiss government makes it easy for foreigners who want to live and work there or become part of society.
Frequently Asked Questions about Switzerland
What is Switzerland famous for?
Switzerland is known throughout the world for its neutrality, precise watches, high-quality chocolate, and delicious cheese, tasty chocolate milk, beautiful green landscapes, delicious food in general (including fondue), great public transport infrastructure, efficient railways, which are used by millions of passengers daily. But did you know that it is also the world’s largest producer of false teeth?
What languages are spoken in Switzerland?
Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Residents of Ticino speak Italian. People living near the French border speak French.
Most people living in Zurich, Basel, or Geneva are native speakers of Swiss German (Schwyzerdütsch), but they also use German for official matters. There are some regions where three or four languages are spoken by locals, though the most common one is German.
What does CH stand for?
The Swiss Confederation is abbreviated to “CH” in English and French. To avoid confusion between the Swiss / English adjective ‘cheap’ and the abbreviation for the Confederation, the definite article ‘the’ is commonly included in English writing about Switzerland.
Is it customary to tip in Switzerland?
Tipping is not customary, even in restaurants. If you decide to leave any tip, the total amount will become part of your bill, and no change will be given back. However, waiters are paid a living wage by their employers, so most Swiss people do not feel obliged to leave a tip if they receive quality service.
Is Switzerland a part of the European Union?
No. It has never been because it is a much older democracy than all other countries in Europe. But don’t worry – it isn’t an isolated island either. There are excellent transport links to Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and even tiny Monaco.
When it comes to banking in Switzerland, there are nearly as many choices available as there are banks in the country. We have compiled some of the most popular options for checking and savings accounts, along with a little information about rates and fees. Refer to this guide if you want to know more about Switzerland banks.