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Old 03.10.2007, 22:09
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Relocating to Zurich: which local bank to use?

Hi all,

I've just joined this forum today - i'm relocating to Zurich from Seattle/USA with my wife on the 16th of october (if it matters for my question, i'm an EU citizen, she's a Canadian citizen). Question: what bank should we use? Here's what we're after in priority order:
1. Low/zero monthly/annual fixed fees
2. full online service available (can manage my account online)
3. a local branch close-ish to the Enge district (where we intend to live) - no "online-only" banks thanks
4. bank can offer credit card too
5. low/zero variable fees (direct debit transactions, online transactions, etc)

And now some general questions:
- what are the major credit cards that are generally accepted in Zurich & area? I realize that credit cards are accepted at less places than in America
- anything we should be looking out for - making appointments ahead of time, etc?
- do some banks offer discounted health insurance if you have an account with them? We'll need insurance - is it worth having them tied together?

Please let me know which banks you recommend, and how I can go about setting up an account with them. Being able to set up an account over the phone before we leave would be great, b/c then we can wire money to it before we arrive...

thanks!
tim
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Old 03.10.2007, 22:14
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Re: Relocating to Zurich: which local bank to use?

Try a quick search of the forum and you'll find a few recommendations.

We use UBS. Ask for the Welcome Account, I think it's called. It should meet all your needs. I would recommend the branch at Paradeplatz. Plenty of English-speaking people there. You should be able to walk in and do it, but you'll need to make sure you bring your passport and residency permit (Ausweis). If you haven't received your Ausweis yet, you'll need to bring in your "invite" letter and other paperwork. If you've already met with the Gemeinde to apply for your Ausweis, make sure you bring in the receipt they give you for paying their fees.

Most major credit cards (Amex, Visa, MC) are widely accepted. Not sure about Diners Club and Discover Card though. (UBS offers a MC. Maybe a Visa, too.)

I don't think it's possible to open an account over the phone at any bank in Switzerland though, so I'm sure you'll have to do it when you get here. Unless, of course, you are wealthy enough to use a private bank.
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Old 03.10.2007, 22:17
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Re: Relocating to Zurich: which local bank to use?

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Being able to set up an account over the phone before we leave would be great, b/c then we can wire money to it before we arrive...

thanks!
tim
I doubt any bank in its right mind would do that. AML, KYC and all these nasty acronyms.

"Hola, y iss callin from Colombia, my name is Juan Doe, would jou mind openin han account for me family, y would like to ssend some money"
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Old 03.10.2007, 22:22
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Re: Relocating to Zurich: which local bank to use?

Heh, really? If i was a bank and someone wanted to send me money, i'd let them I'll call UBS tomorrow during business hours and see what they say.
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Old 03.10.2007, 22:46
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Re: Relocating to Zurich: which local bank to use?

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I doubt any bank in its right mind would do that. AML, KYC and all these nasty acronyms.
Yep, the anti-money-laundering and know-your-customer laws/guidelines would make that transfer difficult if not impossible.
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Old 09.10.2007, 01:22
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Re: Relocating to Zurich: which local bank to use?

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Heh, really? If i was a bank and someone wanted to send me money, i'd let them I'll call UBS tomorrow during business hours and see what they say.
You would think that's the case, but my exhausting experience trying to open a UBS account before receiving my residence permit shows that giving them your money is not that easy. I walk by bank buildings with prominent signs saying 'private bank' everyday in Geneva. As a mere mortal, I can only dream of how effortless the Swiss paperwork just vanishes for those allowed through the doors.
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Old 09.10.2007, 07:27
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Re: Relocating to Zurich: which local bank to use?

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You would think that's the case, but my exhausting experience trying to open a UBS account before receiving my residence permit shows that giving them your money is not that easy. I walk by bank buildings with prominent signs saying 'private bank' everyday in Geneva. As a mere mortal, I can only dream of how effortless the Swiss paperwork just vanishes for those allowed through the doors.
But that is only because you haven't yet seen a 25 page private bank account opening document set, with the adjoining 40+ page KYC paperwork set.
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Old 09.10.2007, 09:33
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Re: Relocating to Zurich: which local bank to use?

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But that is only because you haven't yet seen a 25 page private bank account opening document set, with the adjoining 40+ page KYC paperwork set.
Ah, somebody knows what he is talking about.

(yes, I work in PB)
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