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Old 23.08.2021, 23:34
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Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

Hi everyone

Anyone knows the best way to collect and store money from abroad before paying out for an expensive surgery in Zürich?
The money will come from abroad, mainly out-EU, partially EU and US. When collected, money need to be transferred to the hospital account in ZRH. The amount is big. The surgery is for a rare condition of a kid. Parents are non-EU, will only come for surgery.
Any advice is appreciated.
Is it better (or even possible) to open an account in Switzerland to save money on bank transfers? Or better not as it may be not allowed or have consequences with taxes/law?
If anyone would like to support, pls PM.

@Moderators, not sure if to put it in Finance or Health.

Thanks!
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Old 24.08.2021, 00:21
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

I would suggest asking at least these two places:
A) the hospital - surely this is not the first time they have had this situation
B) a support organisation in Switzerland for the specific condition that the child has. This could be 'Pro Infirmis' which is a general disability support service, very organised, or a smaller condition-specific support organisation.


And the other suggestion would be to talk to an organisation such as the air ambulance, to ask their advice:

https://www.rega.ch/en/our-missions/
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Old 24.08.2021, 00:29
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

I dont see how the parents would be able to open an account in Switzerland as non residents.

Have you looked at other options such as GoFundMe?
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Old 24.08.2021, 01:19
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

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I dont see how the parents would be able to open an account in Switzerland as non residents.

Have you looked at other options such as GoFundMe?
why not? you don't need to be resident to open a bank account.

revolut might be an idea if there are lots of transfers and currency exchanges.
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Old 24.08.2021, 06:40
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

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why not? you don't need to be resident to open a bank account.

revolut might be an idea if there are lots of transfers and currency exchanges.
No, but if money is coming in from the US I'm not sure even UBS, Credit Suisse or PostFinance would agree to open an account if they're not Swiss residents. Certainly no other Swiss banks would touch it.
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Old 24.08.2021, 06:46
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

Going with a Swiss Bank is not the way to minimise bank charges, or get the best exchange rates. Go with a multi currency debit card such as Revolut or Wise.

Last edited by bowlie; 24.08.2021 at 07:01.
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Old 24.08.2021, 06:46
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

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Hi everyone

Anyone knows the best way to collect and store money from abroad before paying out for an expensive surgery in Zürich?
The money will come from abroad, mainly out-EU, partially EU and US. When collected, money need to be transferred to the hospital account in ZRH. The amount is big. The surgery is for a rare condition of a kid. Parents are non-EU, will only come for surgery.
Any advice is appreciated.
Is it better (or even possible) to open an account in Switzerland to save money on bank transfers? Or better not as it may be not allowed or have consequences with taxes/law?
If anyone would like to support, pls PM.

@Moderators, not sure if to put it in Finance or Health.

Thanks!
Any amount can be transferred via SWIFT transfer directly to a hospital account. You don't need a local account to do that.

Your bank might ask for a reason for transfer, I believe an invoice from a hospital would suffice.
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Old 24.08.2021, 07:17
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

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No, but if money is coming in from the US I'm not sure even UBS, Credit Suisse or PostFinance would agree to open an account if they're not Swiss residents. Certainly no other Swiss banks would touch it.
Another benefit of multi currency debit cards, they aren’t run by Swiss banks, but CHF transfers and payments are a doddle.
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Old 24.08.2021, 10:10
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

For under 10k, in major currencies Revolut on weekdays is the cheapest.
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Old 24.08.2021, 10:39
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

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mainly out-EU, partially EU and US.
Transfers of non-trivial sums from the US to CH can be a pain in the neck. Avoid that as much as possible. EU has some stringent rules about moving large sums, banks may be required to do some due diligence and it may hold up the payment. Since we are discussing large amount of money, I suggest you to investigate two ways:
  • check to transfer to CH from where you are resident now, collecting all the money in your current location (it may be easier to get transfer approved without long double checks on your person);
  • ask the hospital to split the payment in different amounts, each amount paid by one of your funding sources;

If we are talking amonut on the order of 6/70'000 chf, having movements of >10'000 EUR/USD across borders and different accounts/account holders can become tricky, both for present clearance and future consequences (ending up in a black-lists, tax matters, etcetc).
On the other hand, bills from the hospital will go in great detail about what was spent and where (you may even expect a cost in chf/m for the marker used to draw some 1-2centimeter sign on the skin of the patient), so splitting the amount in different installments should not be impossible, they already have big calculation sheets and it is easier to justiffy the movement of 20'000 chf from <anycountry> to Switzerland if it is backed by a bill from an hospital and not "simply" your declaration "the money will be uses for surgery of a rare conditions".
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Old 24.08.2021, 13:02
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

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Transfers of non-trivial sums from the US to CH can be a pain in the neck. Avoid that as much as possible. EU has some stringent rules about moving large sums, banks may be required to do some due diligence and it may hold up the payment. Since we are discussing large amount of money, I suggest you to investigate two ways:
  • check to transfer to CH from where you are resident now, collecting all the money in your current location (it may be easier to get transfer approved without long double checks on your person);
  • ask the hospital to split the payment in different amounts, each amount paid by one of your funding sources;

If we are talking amonut on the order of 6/70'000 chf, having movements of >10'000 EUR/USD across borders and different accounts/account holders can become tricky, both for present clearance and future consequences (ending up in a black-lists, tax matters, etcetc).
On the other hand, bills from the hospital will go in great detail about what was spent and where (you may even expect a cost in chf/m for the marker used to draw some 1-2centimeter sign on the skin of the patient), so splitting the amount in different installments should not be impossible, they already have big calculation sheets and it is easier to justiffy the movement of 20'000 chf from <anycountry> to Switzerland if it is backed by a bill from an hospital and not "simply" your declaration "the money will be uses for surgery of a rare conditions".
I have on several occasions moved $100,000 from the US to both Post Finance accounts in CH, Currency Fair in London or to HSBC in both Jersey & Malta. I never once had any issue or delay.

Splitting into lots of instalments will cause more money laundering inquiries than just 1 large one being flagged.
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Old 24.08.2021, 13:11
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

If you are asking for money as donations from people, definitely use something like Go Fund Me. People are more likely to donate to a trusted website like that than to a random bank account.
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Old 24.08.2021, 13:25
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

I guess the hospital account can collect the money before the surgery without any problem.

In any case, the surgery for patients outside the local healthcare system needs to be prepaid before the surgeon drinks his morning coffee. The hospital will invoice a bit above the price estimate for the surgery, this amount needs to be in the hospital bank account, then the surgery is done, a sum of expenses is made. If some money is left, it is reimbursed, if not the extra expenses are invoiced.

So, ask the hospital and tell 10K are arriving from X place, 20 K from somewhere else, etc. The hospital accounting department can handle this.
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Old 24.08.2021, 19:21
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

It's quite likely that the hospital will perform the operation without any payment upfront and the bill can be paid by international transfer.

Ask the hospital. Opening a Swiss bank account is expensive and probably unnecessary...
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Old 24.08.2021, 21:26
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

For non residents it's almost impossible to open a bank account. And for huge amounts I would not consider using applications like Revolut.

The safest way seems an international payment to the hospital bank account. If the invoice/payment is in Euro, SEPA can be used and the bank taxes will be small.
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Old 25.08.2021, 21:24
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

Thanks to all! Especially for the links and hints.
The sum is far more than 10K. The surgery is not done upfront, the first termin can be scheduled after a transfer of the half of the sum. The account is probably really not needed.
The parents are considering other options, as this turns out to be pretty expensive. Many thanks for the links!
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Old 25.08.2021, 21:28
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Re: Swiss account for a surgery for non-residents

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Thanks to all! Especially for the links and hints.
The sum is far more than 10K. The surgery is not done upfront, the first termin can be scheduled after a transfer of the half of the sum. The account is probably really not needed.
The parents are considering other options, as this turns out to be pretty expensive. Many thanks for the links!
Please keep us updated & fingers crossed for a highly successful outcome of the surgery.
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