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Old 19.03.2012, 20:06
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Money to open a bank account

I will be moving to Switzerland soon (from the united states), and obviously will want to open a financial account. I did not see my questions answered after searching the forum, but please point me towards an old thread if I missed it.

What is the best way (safe, low fees, good exchange rate) to move money from my US bank account (USD) to open a Swiss account (CHF)?

My bank in the US suggests I get a certified check made out to myself (cost is $3 for the check in USD, $40 to have the check made out in CHF), but I have read that post finance doesn't deal with checks, and CS charges large fees for depositing a foreign check.

I can wire the money from the US, (~$50 plus exchange rate), but I obviously need the account to be open first. Will they allow be to open an account with only a small cash deposit to start?

Again, I am coming from the US, and all my accounts are currently US based and in USD. I want my swiss accounts to be in CHF, and am open to CS, USB, etc, but would prefer PF as they seem to have the friendliest terms.

Thanks!
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Old 19.03.2012, 20:12
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Re: Money to open a bank account

Hmmm at the moment, due to the US government breathing down the necks of various Swiss banks for tax stuff, it can be interresting to open a Swiss account when being a US citizen. UBS is likely completely out of the question because pf that. Postfinance should be fine.

Typically they require you to have a permanent position or put down a heft amount, but these amounts depend per bank and service type, the more money the better. If you are moving here for work, likely best o let he company help in opening an account.

The last account I opened they asked several times if I was a US citizen or ever lived there etc, was quite interresting...
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Old 19.03.2012, 20:13
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Re: Money to open a bank account

Paypal?

Tom
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Old 19.03.2012, 20:15
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Re: Money to open a bank account

[QUOTE=julesvan;1517789] I will be moving to Switzerland soon (from the united states), and obviously will want to open a financial account. I did not see my questions answered after searching the forum, but please point me towards an old thread if I missed it.

What is the best way (safe, low fees, good exchange rate) to move money from my US bank account (USD) to open a Swiss account (CHF)? Travellers Cheques in CHF or $US ? Or as Tom says PAYPAL, but you need an account here to receive the money!

My bank in the US suggests I get a certified check made out to myself (cost is $3 for the check in USD, $40 to have the check made out in CHF), but I have read that post finance doesn't deal with checks, and CS charges large fees for depositing a foreign check. Yes, the problems with private cheques is they need humans, the cheque goes back to the issuing bank, and then the money is paid out!

I can wire the money from the US, (~$50 plus exchange rate), but I obviously need the account to be open first. Will they allow be to open an account with only a small cash deposit to start?
Yes. You only need a passport and proof of residence, your work contract would persuade them too.

Again, I am coming from the US, and all my accounts are currently US based and in USD. I want my swiss accounts to be in CHF, and am open to CS, USB, etc, but would prefer PF as they seem to have the friendliest terms. Post Finance are excellent and good value, you can also open an account here in $US if you wish.
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Old 19.03.2012, 21:47
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Re: Money to open a bank account

You seem to be another fresh new newbie with a random financial question.

If you plan to open an account at Postfinance, why not ask Postfinance.
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Old 19.03.2012, 23:32
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Re: Money to open a bank account

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I can wire the money from the US, (~$50 plus exchange rate), but I obviously need the account to be open first. Will they allow be to open an account with only a small cash deposit to start?

Again, I am coming from the US, and all my accounts are currently US based and in USD. I want my swiss accounts to be in CHF, and am open to CS, USB, etc, but would prefer PF as they seem to have the friendliest terms.

Thanks!
I found PostFinance really great. I brought my contract and work permit there and asked to open an account. I put nothing into it and they gave a 100 CHF bonus once my first paycheck was deposited.

My suggestion would be to apply right away for this account and then use your ATM cards here to withdraw Francs to get you through the week or so while the account is set up. Depends on your bank, but the foreign currency fee for me was <2%. I paid my first month rent and deposit in cash and the landlord didn't even blink. Once your account is set up, a wire transfer is really quick.

Good luck
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Old 20.03.2012, 12:49
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Re: Money to open a bank account

Hey buddy!
Why don't you just use my account....
You keep topping it up ' I'll keep paying the bills!!
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Old 24.04.2012, 01:25
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Re: Money to open a bank account

I'm in the same boat as julesvan.

Can you use PayPal for transfers between linked accounts? I.e., can one link a US account and a CH account to the same PayPal account and then transfer between them? And what are the fees?

I also keep getting these ads for HSBC Premier, who claim their "global coverage" helps expats. But I think Switzerland is one of the places they don't have a local consumer banking operation, if I'm not mistaken. Is there any American bank with consumer banking operations in Switzerland (or vice versa)?
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Old 24.04.2012, 15:01
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Re: Money to open a bank account

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I also keep getting these ads for HSBC Premier, who claim their "global coverage" helps expats. But I think Switzerland is one of the places they don't have a local consumer banking operation, if I'm not mistaken. Is there any American bank with consumer banking operations in Switzerland (or vice versa)?
when we moved out here, i also saw the same ad for HSBC Premier. I looked everywhere, but they only have HSBC Private banks (which I definitely do not qualify for). We didn't find any US banks (i.e. BofA, citi, WF, Chase) with operations here. We decided to go with UBS, but they only opened the account after my wife AND I showed them our employment contracts.
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Old 24.04.2012, 15:33
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Re: Money to open a bank account

We had Credit Suisse accounts and we recently closed the accounts. I felt we are not rich enough for them. There are so many charges, so annoying like Bank of America or Wells Fargo Bank.

Instead, I am happy with a local bank. http://www.raiffeisen.ch/web/home_de They have small atm machine everywhere. It is very convenient. If I am not mistaken, we paid SFr200 to open the account. They keep this amount and will return it to us when we close the account. The interest rate is not impressive. The other advantage is we get to go to museums for free, almost all the museums in CH. Please note, NOT all museum.

I have no problem transferring money back and forth overseas. No charges from this end.

I am sure you can open account with little money. Not sure if you have to be here in person. Hope this helps. Just another alternative to PF.

Last edited by lychee; 24.04.2012 at 15:44.
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Old 24.04.2012, 15:43
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Re: Money to open a bank account

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Instead, I am happy with a local bank.

http://www.raiffeisen.ch/web/home_de
You were one of the lucky ones then

Raiffeisen rejects expats with poor German
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Old 24.04.2012, 15:53
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Re: Money to open a bank account

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You were one of the lucky ones then

Raiffeisen rejects expats with poor German
They also wouldn't open up accounts for my kids (US/DE citizens) last month although I already have an account with them. Apparently they don't want any new US customers. Waiting to see if they will kick me out or not
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Old 24.04.2012, 17:07
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Re: Money to open a bank account

That is new to me too. Sorry for the not so useful recommendation. Thanks drmom and Carlos R for the tips.
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Old 24.04.2012, 17:35
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Re: Money to open a bank account

Thanks for all the suggestions.

After all this, I suspect the easiest thing to do is to just withdraw a few thousand CHF with my American debit card and use it to set up a local deposit account with cash.

Of course, once I start getting my paychecks, I still need to figure out how to wire money to the US, and how Swiss savings and investment accounts work...
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