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Old 09.02.2013, 14:17
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Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

Recently, I was denied a bank account because I am from states.
I've read the news, and am familiar with the crumbling relationship between Swiss Banks and the U.S., however, I would like to open an account before I start working here in Switzerland.

I have a B visa, allowing me to legally live and work here, and I am married to a Swiss national. (The bank wouldn't even allow us to have a joint account).

I won't be making a large deposit. I just need a deposit/checking acount for part-time work.
Any recommendations?
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Old 09.02.2013, 14:47
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

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Recently, I was denied a bank account because I am from states.
I've read the news, and am familiar with the crumbling relationship between Swiss Banks and the U.S., however, I would like to open an account before I start working here in Switzerland.

I have a B visa, allowing me to legally live and work here, and I am married to a Swiss national. (The bank wouldn't even allow us to have a joint account).

I won't be making a large deposit. I just need a deposit/checking acount for part-time work.
Any recommendations?
Credit Suisse, Post Finance, maybe UBS
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Old 09.02.2013, 15:12
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

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Recently, I was denied a bank account because I am from states.
I've read the news, and am familiar with the crumbling relationship between Swiss Banks and the U.S., however, I would like to open an account before I start working here in Switzerland.

I have a B visa, allowing me to legally live and work here, and I am married to a Swiss national. (The bank wouldn't even allow us to have a joint account).

I won't be making a large deposit. I just need a deposit/checking acount for part-time work.
Any recommendations?
Which bank(s) did you try?

Some Cantonal Banks are still open to Americans, especially if you reside in Switzerland. I am with Banque Cantonale Vaudoise and haven't had issues (was even offered to open a stock trading account a few weeks ago).
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Old 09.02.2013, 15:29
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

As an American, I guess it's a good thing that I arrived in Switzerland soooo many years ago. It's hard to believe that it is legal for them to deny a married couple an account! I'd be tempted to just stash my cash under the mattress!! It will be far more convenient for you when you want to make a withdrawal. You do realize the Swiss don't have drive through banking. Welcome to the land of inconveniences!!
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Old 09.02.2013, 15:36
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

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I have a B visa, allowing me to legally live and work here, and I am married to a Swiss national. (The bank wouldn't even allow us to have a joint account).
Same situation as you, with my husband being Swiss (I'm American) and we just opened a joint account through Kantonal (Basel). They were hesitant, but relented I had to sign some paperwork wrt the US Government being a royal pain in their ass and that I may be booted off the account if "issues" come up.

Since I won't be using the account for anything more than work deposits and the occasional withdrawal, I'm not terribly concerned.
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Old 09.02.2013, 15:46
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

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Credit Suisse, Post Finance, maybe UBS
When we arrived and opened an account with UBS in 2011, we were asked explicitly what, if any US connections we had. You know, had we ever lived or worked there, were we US citizens, born there etc..

We asked what would happen if we had said yes and the answer was that we should not let the door hit us on the way out.
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Old 09.02.2013, 16:49
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

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When we arrived and opened an account with UBS in 2011, we were asked explicitly what, if any US connections we had. You know, had we ever lived or worked there, were we US citizens, born there etc..

We asked what would happen if we had said yes and the answer was that we should not let the door hit us on the way out.
In the middle of 2011 we commenced banking with UBS for the explicit purpose of getting a mortgage (my wife is US citizen, I am a green card holder). We now have our normal banking (pay goes in, pay bills, take cash out) and a mortgage with UBS.

Prior to that we (or I) were with Zuger Kantonal Bank who would`t allow my wife any banking and only allowed me to open the account based on my Australian passport.

So that may be one experience with UBS but we bank with them and they know exactly our ties to the US. We were told as US persons we would not have access to UBS investment products which is fine for us.
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Old 09.02.2013, 16:57
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

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In the middle of 2011 we commenced banking with UBS for the explicit purpose of getting a mortgage (my wife is US citizen, I am a green card holder). We now have our normal banking (pay goes in, pay bills, take cash out) and a mortgage with UBS.

So that may be one experience with UBS but we bank with them and they know exactly our ties to the US.
We opened our account in Nov 11, no mortgage, regular bank account.
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Old 09.02.2013, 17:08
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

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As an American, I guess it's a good thing that I arrived in Switzerland soooo many years ago. It's hard to believe that it is legal for them to deny a married couple an account! I'd be tempted to just stash my cash under the mattress!! It will be far more convenient for you when you want to make a withdrawal. You do realize the Swiss don't have drive through banking. Welcome to the land of inconveniences!!
I think you may be a bit confused. Most of the 'inconveniences' are coming from US legislation, in particular FATCA. My bank told me that I couldn't have any new accounts beyond my salary one. Also after having lived here many years I prefer to run my errands on foot and don't feel like we need drive throughs. In the US people still you checks ! This I consider inconvenient.
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Old 09.02.2013, 18:31
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

We went with UBS. I'm US Citizen and wife is German (Albiet she was born and raised in CH). We had to have our B Permits "in-hand" before opening an account. She couldn't open an individual account as a German Citizen/Passport holder (of which she never lived and worked there), because, wait for it, she has a US Green Card.

Finally we had to sign off a bunch of extra paperwork. Good times. I'm only dreading tax time.
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Old 09.02.2013, 18:44
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

I received no problems with Post Bank
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Old 09.02.2013, 19:34
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance are most likely to accept you, but - at least with UBS - it seems to depend on the branch. We've banked with UBS for 14 years now and recently got a mortgage, even though I'm US/British, but other Americans have tried their UBS branch and been refused. These are probably the best 3 to try though.
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Old 09.02.2013, 20:23
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

The Kantonal bank would not open an account for us because they said they did not have the staff to handle the required paperwork for US citizens. The small UBS branch said that we had to go to the larger bank in Basel Stadt and they would be able to open an account for us. So, we did with no problems.
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Old 09.02.2013, 21:35
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

[QUOTE=Dual US/Swiss Citizen;1793579]I think you may be a bit confused. Most of the 'inconveniences' are coming from US legislation, in particular FATCA. My bank told me that I couldn't have any new accounts beyond my salary one. Also after having lived here many years I prefer to run my errands on foot and don't feel like we need drive throughs. In the US people still you checks ! This I consider inconvenient.[/QUOTe

When I speak of inconveniences in Switzerland I am not referring to the FATCA. Please accept that I am not one of those confused Americans, O.K.? So pleased to know that you prefer walking to the bank. Perhaps I am on a tighter schedule than you and would prefer the convenience of a drive through. Either way, so sorry that in the U.S. people "still" your checks. Not exactly sure what that means but have the feeling it makes you feel superior in making your statement. Inconveniences: paying for a shopping cart in my local grocery, having to recycle everything I dispose of, paying a 200. CHF fine for parking in the Besucher zone of my own apartment building, not being able to grocery shop after 6-8 p.m., sharing public wash rooms in apt. complexes, the list goes on forever!!
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Old 09.02.2013, 21:43
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

I highly recommend that couples where one is a US citizen and one is not, should keep their accounts separate. Remember, any account that a US Citizen has an interest in MUST be reported on the FBAR.
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Old 10.02.2013, 08:11
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

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I think you may be a bit confused. Most of the 'inconveniences' are coming from US legislation, in particular FATCA. My bank told me that I couldn't have any new accounts beyond my salary one. Also after having lived here many years I prefer to run my errands on foot and don't feel like we need drive throughs. In the US people still you checks ! This I consider inconvenient.[/QUOTe

When I speak of inconveniences in Switzerland I am not referring to the FATCA. Please accept that I am not one of those confused Americans, O.K.? So pleased to know that you prefer walking to the bank. Perhaps I am on a tighter schedule than you and would prefer the convenience of a drive through. Either way, so sorry that in the U.S. people "still" your checks. Not exactly sure what that means but have the feeling it makes you feel superior in making your statement. Inconveniences: paying for a shopping cart in my local grocery, having to recycle everything I dispose of, paying a 200. CHF fine for parking in the Besucher zone of my own apartment building, not being able to grocery shop after 6-8 p.m., sharing public wash rooms in apt. complexes, the list goes on forever!!
Sorry if I said anything upsetting. I don't feel superior and in the end I'm in the same boat as you also being rear ended. I am a frustrated with all the problems resulting of being subject to this citizenship based taxation. The reason these old fashioned checks came to mind is that my tax preparer in the US asked if I could send a check. This since the US taxes are so complicated that I can't do them myself. I've never even used these checks in the over 20 years here in CH. You never know if a check will arrive or get lost; whereas, a bank transfer can be tracked. As for drive-throughs a lot of additional landscape would have to be bulldozed to accomodate this request. Maybe the lake of Zurich could be drained to create more parking space, etc...
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Old 10.02.2013, 09:13
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

For the Swiss spouse with USA spouse situation, will the following work:

Swiss spouse opens a simple account. Gives all access PIN, password and cards to USA spouse. USA spouse has salary paid into this account, and withdraws cash from this account at ATM. Swiss spouse can also transfer the US spouse's money to the USA spouse's own account in the US.

If US tax authorities, & the FBAR need information, then USA spouse can send them the account information, declare the income and pay the taxation.

If USA spouse can trust the Swiss spouse, where is the problem?
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Old 10.02.2013, 10:19
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

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For the Swiss spouse with USA spouse situation, will the following work:

Swiss spouse opens a simple account. Gives all access PIN, password and cards to USA spouse. USA spouse has salary paid into this account, and withdraws cash from this account at ATM. Swiss spouse can also transfer the US spouse's money to the USA spouse's own account in the US.

If US tax authorities, & the FBAR need information, then USA spouse can send them the account information, declare the income and pay the taxation.

If USA spouse can trust the Swiss spouse, where is the problem?
That's an awful lot of trouble. Just go get a PostFinance account. As long as USA spouse is a Swiss resident, they should be able to open an account. If not, contact the embassy as they say they can provide a list of banks that will open accounts for US citizens living in Switzerland.
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Old 10.02.2013, 12:08
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

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For the Swiss spouse with USA spouse situation, will the following work:

Swiss spouse opens a simple account. Gives all access PIN, password and cards to USA spouse. USA spouse has salary paid into this account, and withdraws cash from this account at ATM. Swiss spouse can also transfer the US spouse's money to the USA spouse's own account in the US.

If US tax authorities, & the FBAR need information, then USA spouse can send them the account information, declare the income and pay the taxation.

If USA spouse can trust the Swiss spouse, where is the problem?
This is what we did first 2 years here with Zugerkantonal. We have been told it is not supposed to be possible to put one person`s salary into an account of a different person`s name, but it was never an issue for us. It was no more problematic than normal banking, we both had a debit card just wife`s had my name as account holder and hers underneath as card holder. She couldn't go into bank and get anything done but that was always going to be my task anyway.
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Old 10.02.2013, 12:09
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Re: Opening an account for a U.S. citizen.

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As an American, I guess it's a good thing that I arrived in Switzerland soooo many years ago. It's hard to believe that it is legal for them to deny a married couple an account! I'd be tempted to just stash my cash under the mattress!! It will be far more convenient for you when you want to make a withdrawal. You do realize the Swiss don't have drive through banking. Welcome to the land of inconveniences!!
Stashing under the mattress is an option, but where/how would you get paid your salary? In my eyes that is the biggest problem. Companies nowadays don't hand out cash or cheques...
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