Anyone who intends to start their own business in Switzerland has to deal with a lot of important organizational issues before they can effectively start business operations. These include, for example, the preparation of a business plan or finding the required financing. Another basic necessity is opening a business account in most cases. What is there to know about opening a business bank account with a Swiss bank?
What is a business bank account?
The business account is nothing more than opening a regular bank account, which many banks provide to their business customers. First and foremost, these are the following customer groups that use business accounts:
- Self-employed individuals;
The business account is therefore not intended for private individuals as it primarily serves to record business transactions. Otherwise, the business account differs only slightly from a private account because it basically contains almost identical features that you may already know from your own checking account.
What services does the business bank account contain?
Since the business bank account is a payment transaction account, most of the services associated with this account are also in the area of payment transactions. First of all, the basis of the business account is of course that many cash receipts and cash outflows are booked through the account. Of course, these are primarily business transactions that are recorded in the business account with the respective recorded item. The services that are included in the basic fee of the business account or partly cause additional costs, therefore, include in particular:
- Money transfers (offline and online);
- Online banking;
- Set up, change and delete standing orders;
- Direct debit authorizations;
- Cash transactions;
- Cards for the checking account, in particular, bank card and credit card.
As a result, the business bank account allows you to participate in all the services and functions that modern payment transactions offer today.
Why should you have a separate business bank account?
A separate company account is not always mandatory, but in any case, it makes sense. Companies need to operate using these types of account, but freelancers and self-employed individuals could theoretically operate without a company account. However, for tax reasons alone, for example, to have a better proof of the separation of private and business income and earnings, it is advisable not to forego a separate business bank account. In addition, to incorporate in Switzerland, it is necessary to deposit the required minimum share capital into a separate blocked bank account in the case of some legal forms.
What are the special requirements of such business bank accounts?
Businesses usually need a different set of services than private individuals. For example, daily cash payments are not uncommon for entrepreneurs (especially in the hospitality industry). Also, the possibility to apply for promotional loans is simplified with a business account. Furthermore, it may be useful if the commercial bank is also represented abroad. The business account should always be chosen so that the requirements of your own company are optimally met.
Branch bank or online direct bank?
Whether you open a business bank account with a branch bank or an online direct bank depends on the type of activities you want to pursue. In general, an account with a branch bank is always recommended if you also want to use a bank consultant as a direct contact. Anyone who can manage without this and does most of the business online anyway can also use an online direct bank. Regarding their services, the different variants are in no way inferior depending on the provider.
What should you pay attention to when opening a business bank account?
Depending on the company, the account must meet different needs. It is therefore worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions of individual providers and comparing them with the requirements of your own company. In doing so, you should pay particular attention to the following criteria:
What are the basic monthly fees?
In part, the different banks levy widely differing basic charges. These are usually depending on certain benefits. Depending on the account balance or cash receipt, many providers also refund the account maintenance fees.
What are the fees for individual transactions?
Especially, companies that have to manage many daily transactions should not ignore these costs. Mostly a distinction is made here between assignable and paperless transactions.
Depending on the provider, other costs (for standing orders, account statements or deposits, and withdrawals) or for the use of debit and credit cards may arise.
Depending on the company, the credit line granted may also be a decisive criterion for choosing a suitable account.
In any case, you should compare the individual providers on their terms and decide on the best matching to the needs of your business account. The price should not be the sole selection criterion here. The use of a separate business bank account also saves self-employed individuals and freelancers considerable time on the tax return. Also, a better overview of the finances can be maintained.
In most cases, there is no special documentation required to open a bank account in Switzerland, but the Swiss anti-money laundering laws do require account holders to provide proof regarding the source of the deposited money.