It is estimated that Swiss banks hold $2.2 trillion USD of the world’s money within their vaults. From vault safeguarding to an extra thorough admittance process, these secretive banks continue to be the keeper’s of the money of the elite. In the following infographic, we’re providing a detailed overview of Swiss bank accounts. We’ll start by highlight the differences between private banking (did you know that an individual must have a minimum $300,000 USD deposit to open an account?) and retail banking (also known as Switzerland’s traditional mass-market banking system). Next, we’ll outline how Swiss banks work to maintain high security and privacy by detailing common contract and physical vault security practices. Finally, we’ll end by discussing which countries are allowed to open Swiss bank accounts and which ones aren’t, and wrap things up by listing the top alleged black money clients of Swiss banks (click in to see the infographic).
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Table of Contents
Swiss Bank Accounts Script
Increasing your wealth means little if your money isn’t protected. Therefore, many choose to keep their monetary assets safe in one of the most secure accounts in the world: a Swiss Bank account.
Moving your money in
Swiss banks hold $2.2 trillion USD of the world’s money within its vaults. They are divided into two types of accounts: private and retail.
In private banking, Swiss banks only provide service to individuals with exceptionally large liquid assets. One must have a minimum $300,000 USD deposit to open an account. Some private banks require a deposit of over $1 million USD. To put this in context, $1 million could buy one of the following:
- 10 new Maserati cars
- 20 Ducati motorcycles
- 3 Yachts
- 252 Chanel purses
- 69 Rolex watches
- 500 Apple laptops
- 1 personal submarine
In addition, a special invitation or referral by a current customer may also be needed.
Retail banking is Switzerland’s traditional mass-market banking system. These banks offer checking, savings, personal loans, and mortgages. Those wishing to open accounts must be able to provide extensive proof of identity:
- Valid Passport
- Financial documents depending on the client’s profession
- Residents outside Switzerland are required to have a notary’s certification
- Documentation that proves the origin of funds
- Often a meeting face to face
- Current Visa (time left on it matters depending on the bank)
Account holders can store the following valuables: gold, jewels, bonds, shares, contracts, official documents, paintings and sculptures. The most valuable thing that has been reported kept and found in a Swiss vault is a painting by Leonardo da Vinci of Italian noblewoman, Isabella d’Este painted between 1460 and 1650.
Keeping it secure
To maintain the highest security and secrecy, many Swiss banks utilize a numbering system to label the accounts rather than the client’s name. The real security of Swiss banking, however, comes from the contracts the banks have with their clients and physical vault security.
If a banker divulges information about a Swiss account without permission they suffer immediate prosecution, up to six months in prison and a fine up to 50,000 Swiss Francs.
Physical Vault Security
Entering a vault involves opening a dual-combination lock where two people synchronously dial in. Often includes video cameras, laser trip wires, motion sensors and time sensitive reinforced bolting systems. Swiss vaults typically house thousands of safe deposit boxes that require up to 3 different keys to unlock each one. Once inside a customer can take however long they need to do whatever it is they want (ranging anywhere from a few hours to a few days)
Who can have a Swiss account?
“No” to US money?
Ever since the leak that some of the US legal system’s income was kept hidden in Swiss bank accounts, it has become cumbersome for them to handle US clients. On June 29, 2009 Swiss banks began shutting down their accounts with American clients while on the hunt for tax evaders. Since 2009, some of Switzerland’s biggest banks have informed Americans to move their money elsewhere or face losing their entire accounts. This has affected up to 5,000,000 Americans.
“Yes” to the rest of the world
Most other countries’ citizens can still open an account in a Swiss bank. Switzerland currently holds accounts for those in more than 100 countries.
Black Money refers to funds earned on which taxes have not been paid. The top (alleged) black money clients of Swiss banks?
- India is rumored to have 1.5 trillion black money dollars stashed in Switzerland
- Russia with $470 Billion
- UK with $390 Billion
- Ukraine with $100 Billion
- China with $96 Billion
Despite the changes occurring with Swiss banks, they remain one of the safest places to keep your money. From vault safeguarding to an extra thorough admittance process, they continue to be the keeper’s of the money of the elite.