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Old 05.12.2011, 23:44
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New to switzerland looking for info re: opening a bank account

Good evening,

I just moved to Switzerland (literally hours ago!) and I would like to open a Bank Account tomorrow if possible (I am carrying a large sum of money and would prefer to have it in the bank!).

So here are my questions:

- Which bank would you recommend? I have an Irish bank account (with AIB) and I love 2 things about it: banking is free and their online services are really really good! Anything similar here?

- What will I need to open a bank account? I obviously have ID and Work Contract but I have no address or utility bills or work permt yet... Will this be a problem?

Thank you in advance!
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Old 06.12.2011, 00:11
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Re: New to switzerland looking for info re: opening a bank account

Hi there,

I can advise you from my previous experience - You don't need utility bills here, infact that made me smile. It's such a silly piece of identifaction in Britain in my opinion. Here's my passport, driving license, birth certificate, university diploma. Just not good enough but all they want is a stupid piece of paper from British Gas (sorry).

You'll need a passport an address and money. Make sure your name is on your postbox otherwise you won't receive any post. My only experience is with PostFinance, all the banks tend to change just for having an account here, but I do believe that PF are the cheapest. (Especially if you go for the online set).

Welcome by the way! Bienne's pretty cool.
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Old 06.12.2011, 00:19
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Re: New to switzerland looking for info re: opening a bank account

Thanks for your reply Sapin!

I'm happy I don't need any utiity bills! That would have made it really hard otherwise!

I'm a little annoyed I need an address to get things rolling (understandable but I really don't want to be walking around with large sums of cash on me!). Oh well, let's hope I find an apartment fast then!

Oh and one more question, do PostFinance have branches in towns/cities or are they exclusively online?
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Old 06.12.2011, 00:22
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Re: New to switzerland looking for info re: opening a bank account

I opened my bank account whilst still living in a hotel. I had my (B) permit which listed the hotel as my current residence and Postfinance was fine. It was an "apart hotel" type place but I'm sure any hotel would be fine.

Once I found an apartment I simply updated my address online; no proof was needed although I had already updated my permit which they might have been able to check somehow.
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Old 06.12.2011, 00:25
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Re: New to switzerland looking for info re: opening a bank account

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I opened my bank account whilst still living in a hotel. I had my (B) permit which listed the hotel as my current residence and Postfinance was fine. It was an "apart hotel" type place but I'm sure any hotel would be fine.

Once I found an apartment I simply updated my address online; no proof was needed although I had already updated my permit which they might have been able to check somehow.
Thanks for that Adrian! I'm actually going to go to the town hall tomorrow to request my B Permit and the hotel will have to be my current address...

Super tip! Cheers!

And do I simply walk into a Post Office tomorrow to enquire about a PostFinance bank account? Or do they have special agencies for thebank services?
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Old 06.12.2011, 00:40
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Re: New to switzerland looking for info re: opening a bank account

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Thanks for that Adrian! I'm actually going to go to the town hall tomorrow to request my B Permit and the hotel will have to be my current address...

Super tip! Cheers!

And do I simply walk into a Post Office tomorrow to enquire about a PostFinance bank account? Or do they have special agencies for thebank services?
Straight into the bank, smile, show your permit and with luck someone will translate and fill out the form for you. That's how it worked for me (as form was in German). I could have worked it out - it's not hard - but why put pen to paper if someone's willing to do it for you? From then on, it's all online with their excellent English online banking.
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Old 06.12.2011, 00:47
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Re: New to switzerland looking for info re: opening a bank account

You will need a work permit (at least I did with the Fribourg Cantonal Bank (BCF)).

BCF have great online facilities which are all free. I dunno what Canton you're in but I guess they are all similar?
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Old 06.12.2011, 00:54
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Re: New to switzerland looking for info re: opening a bank account

Thanks for all the info guys! I actually went online and requested a PostFinance account to be created! I used the hotel as my current address and I'll do the same for the Work Permit!

I'll warn the reception that I'm expecting a letter from PostFinance to make sure I don't miss it and as soon as I have the Work Permit I'll go and show it in a Post Office to activate the acount once and for all. That's how easy it's going to be in my head anyway!

Thanks for all your help folks! It is greaty appreciated!
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