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Banking, Money and Costs

Zurich - Banking, Money and Costs


Banking

Swiss banks are reputed for providing excellent, discreet, and sophisticated banking services. There are some 400 banks operating in Switzerland, and the largest two are Credit Suisse and UBS. All banks operating in Switzerland are licensed by the Banking Commission of the Swiss Federal Government. Expatriates in search for banking services in Zurich will be spoilt for choice. In addition to the usual banking services such as savings, deposits and remittance, Swiss banks also offer many services such as managing investment portfolios, wealth planning and estate planning for individual customers.

To open a bank account, be prepared to deposit a large amount of cash as long as you are a non-Swiss citizen. In some banks, to open a savings account, an initial deposit of CHF5,000 is not uncommon. Do also note that maintaining small accounts with banks in Switzerland can be expensive. You can open a bank account in different currencies. Different banks have different policies on opening banks accounts with non-Swiss citizens, and banks have the right to refuse to start a banking relationship with an individual. You usually need to open a bank account in person, and need to go through a face-to-face interview with a bank officer. You will also need bring proof of your residence status, identification papers (e.g. passport). Once you have crossed the hurdle of opening your first bank account, you should find it relatively easier to extend the range of banking services you require for your banking needs. For more information, you may wish to refer to the Swiss Banking Association website that is updated regularly.

An alphabetical listing of Swiss banks, addresses, contact numbers and websites are available here. The Swiss banking hours in Zurich are Mondays through Fridays, 830 am to 4.30 pm. Banks are closed on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays).

Do note that many Swiss banks levy charges on transactions such as money transfers, coin exchange services, currency conversions, and for dispensing different currencies from ATMs, checking account fees, online banking fees and so on. Each bank will charge different rates for its services.

Although the Euro is usually accepted in most shops and restaurants in Zurich, it is recommended that you opt to pay in Swiss Francs as the exchange rate for the Euro by retailers are not as competitive as those offered by banks and/or money changers.


Credit Cards

Visa, MasterCard, Eurocard and American Express are widely accepted and used. You can compare the rates offered by different credit card companies here.


Costs of Living

Zurich may be the top city in the world to live in, but it certainly comes at a price. In general, many American, Australian and Asian expatriates find Zurich an expensive to live in. The Economist ranked Zurich as the sixth most expensive city to live in; while New York, the most expensive American city to live in, was ranked at number 28th. This means that many American expatriates experience a 'culture' (or financial) shock when they first arrive in Zurich, and discover the premium paid for many items, including necessities such as groceries or electricity.


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Expat Health Insurance Partners


Aetna

Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.

Aviva

Health is your number one priority. At Aviva we understand this, which is why we’re focused on helping you and your family access high quality healthcare at home or overseas. Our award winning medical insurance will help you get the treatment you need or simply provide guidance and advice wherever you are, 24/7.

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.

Cigna

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.