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Old 14.11.2008, 00:28
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Postfinance account for non-resident (tourist)

There have been many threads asking about the possibility of obtaining banking services before getting a residency permit. I thought I should share my experience in getting a postfinace account as a total non-resident, an annual tourist.

I received false information three times before getting the correct information, so do not be discouraged the first time you are told it is impossible!

Last summer I was told in the St-Luc post office that I could open an account, but would not get a yellow card. At the time I decided it was not worth it without the card.

This summer I was told, both at the St-Luc and Sierre post offices that a non-resident could not get an account, period.

I finally went to the Sion PostFinance office (same building as railway station, had noticed it often) and was told that there was no problem

A form was filled out for me online, my passport was photocopied, and I was told that I would get my documents in the mail (in the States).

Sure enough, shortly after my return I got a rather short "Know your customer" questionnaire, which I filled out.

Since then I have received an avalanche of mail ... welcome, yellow card, PIN (under separate cover), welcome to e-finance, e-finance password (separate cover), and I am still waiting for the card reader.

Added later:
  • Though I spoke in French to the lady at the PostFinance office she asked me whether I preferred to receive communications in English or French; I opted for English.
  • I have received the card reader, and will soon try the rather complicated (or so it sounds) logon procedure. Seems pretty secure to me!

Last edited by RetiredInNH; 15.11.2008 at 02:23.
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Old 16.11.2008, 23:17
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Re: Postfinance account for non-resident (tourist)

Amazing! They sent all that stuff to the USA.

PostFinance eBanking is apparently very safe with dynamic passwords generated in the card reader. However, like almost all eBanking procedures, it can be hijacked. The vulnerability is in the browser. If the browser is infected, then any browser based transaction can be intercepted and misused. Remember to keep all your software updated, run virus scans frequently, clear the browser cache, be alert to irregularities, etc.
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Old 17.11.2008, 00:06
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Re: Postfinance account for non-resident (tourist)

You can replace the web browser exposure with the stand-alone Java application from Postfinance, which in my opinion reduces the risk.
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Old 17.11.2008, 16:28
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Re: Postfinance account for non-resident (tourist)

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There have been many threads asking about the possibility of obtaining banking services before getting a residency permit. I thought I should share my experience in getting a postfinace account as a total non-resident, an annual tourist.

I received false information three times before getting the correct information, so do not be discouraged the first time you are told it is impossible!

Last summer I was told in the St-Luc post office that I could open an account, but would not get a yellow card. At the time I decided it was not worth it without the card.

This summer I was told, both at the St-Luc and Sierre post offices that a non-resident could not get an account, period.

I finally went to the Sion PostFinance office (same building as railway station, had noticed it often) and was told that there was no problem

A form was filled out for me online, my passport was photocopied, and I was told that I would get my documents in the mail (in the States).

Sure enough, shortly after my return I got a rather short "Know your customer" questionnaire, which I filled out.

Since then I have received an avalanche of mail ... welcome, yellow card, PIN (under separate cover), welcome to e-finance, e-finance password (separate cover), and I am still waiting for the card reader.

Added later:
  • Though I spoke in French to the lady at the PostFinance office she asked me whether I preferred to receive communications in English or French; I opted for English.
  • I have received the card reader, and will soon try the rather complicated (or so it sounds) logon procedure. Seems pretty secure to me!
you mentioned online form so do you think had you not be in the country this could of been done online?
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Old 17.11.2008, 16:42
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Re: Postfinance account for non-resident (tourist)

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you mentioned online form so do you think had you not be in the country this could of been done online?
It seems possible, Apply Directly, but I obviously did not try. Note that they printed out the form and asked me to sign it, also photocopied my passport.
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Old 17.11.2008, 20:47
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Re: Postfinance account for non-resident (tourist)

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you mentioned online form so do you think had you not be in the country this could of been done online?
Application form can be filled in online. Then printed and signed. However they also need an authenticated copy of the passport. This can be done at any post office in Switzerland. Unclear of procedure for offshore applicants.
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Old 27.04.2011, 01:35
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Re: Postfinance account for non-resident (tourist)

Last summer, while in Switzerland, I changed the arbitrary PIN PostFinance had send me to something I could remember. Then I returned to the States, and did not bother logging on to my account until a few days ago. At that time I used the cheat sheet I had written long ago, with the old PIN. Inexplicably I entered the wrong PIN three times, without stopping to think. The card reader then blocked the card

I sent an email asking for help, and was told that I had to phone, and was given a number. Though my email was sent in English, as was their reply, the number I was given was German only. A second email got me a number which, I was told, would connect me to an English speaker.

Not quite, the voice menu offered me Deutsch, Français or Italiano, no English. Since my French is adequate I chose that option. There was no way to reset my card and/or reader, so I was told that a new card would be sent, followed by the PIN in a separate envelope. Sure enough, I received both last week.

To my amazement the new card was FREE!!! I love Switzerland, but certainly do not associate it with anything cheap, let alone free

So now a very happy PostFinance customer in New Hampshire can start making apartment deposits.

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Old 27.04.2011, 03:22
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Re: Postfinance account for non-resident (tourist)

postfinance is awesome

card reader is super easy also. it is all explained in english.
I transfer al my money from other accounts into my post one cause it is so easy to use.
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Old 27.04.2011, 03:45
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Re: Postfinance account for non-resident (tourist)

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postfinance is awesome

card reader is super easy also. it is all explained in english.
I transfer al my money from other accounts into my post one cause it is so easy to use.
Thank you very much for your info. you are seriously making me think about changing bank. I opened a migro account because you can withdraw money from any migro store and they also have nice amount of ATM around the city, but all is in german and im still learing and english is easier for me to understand.
thanks again!
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Old 27.04.2011, 04:06
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Re: Postfinance account for non-resident (tourist)

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... but all is in german and im still learing and english is easier for me to understand.
I have never yet spoken to anyone at PostFinance in English, but all the written correspondence and emails are in English, and as soon as I identify myself to the Postomat all the onscreen dialogue is also in English. Ditto the web site.
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Old 07.07.2011, 19:03
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Re: Postfinance account for non-resident (tourist)

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Application form can be filled in online. Then printed and signed. However they also need an authenticated copy of the passport. This can be done at any post office in Switzerland. Unclear of procedure for offshore applicants.
I seem to be halfway towards getting a Postfinance online account!! I've filled in all the forms , had the replies in the post, and all I have to do is provide official ID. BUT--the accompanying letter states 'acceptable forms of ID are your passport etc AND YOUR RESIDENCE PERMIT IF YOU ARE NOT A SWISS CITIZEN!!!
I am not a Swiss citizen but I do own an apartment in Davos which I visit as regularly as I can!
Nowhere in Postfinance's website or application forms do they say that non-residents are not eligible (not that I can see anyway!)
Has anybody else managed to circumvent the Permit requirement , and if so, how!?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I will have to go to Switzerland to have the ID verified.
All this hassle is because my current bank UBS have introduced a 'johnny foreigner' charge of 30CHF per month--and I do it all online so they have no 'work' to do! BANKS!!!
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Old 07.07.2011, 19:33
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Re: Postfinance account for non-resident (tourist)

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BUT--the accompanying letter states 'acceptable forms of ID are your passport etc AND YOUR RESIDENCE PERMIT IF YOU ARE NOT A SWISS CITIZEN!!!
I am not a Swiss citizen but I do own an apartment in Davos which I visit as regularly as I can!
This seems to me to be something new. Not only am I non-resident, but I just visit Switzerland as a tourist.
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