Opening a bank account
Settling bills and making payments
TWINT – a common payment method in Switzerland
Compulsory health insurance
Exemption from compulsory health insurance
Home contents and personal liability insurance
Switzerland owes its political and economic stability to its neutrality, its countless small and medium-sized enterprises and the Swiss banks. The Swiss banking industry is among the most important in the world and enjoys an excellent reputation. Above all asset management is the backbone of the Swiss finance industry. Compared to other countries, clients’ money is invested in a more conservative and sustainable manner. This additionally contributes to the credibility of the financial centre, which generally also benefits Switzerland’s reputation.
Appointments for opening a bank account can be arranged easily and conveniently online nowadays.
Switzerland has a somewhat unusual system for paying bills. Bills are sent to the invoices either by post or email. Newly a QR-Code is usually attached to the bill. This contains all information enabling a payment to be processed electronically or via the online banking app.
Bills for electricity, telephone, Internet and TV, insurance etc. can be received electronically nowadays and be settled by direct debit. Payments via TWINT are also mostly accepted.
In Switzerland, taxes are levied at three levels: at federal, cantonal and municipality level. The Federal Government levies taxes on income. For this federal tax, there is a uniform tax rate in Switzerland. The 26 cantons and approximately 2,400 municipalities likewise impose taxes on income and wealth. The tax rates vary by canton and municipality, which is typical of the federalist structure in Switzerland. Therefore, the level of tax also depends on the taxpayer’s place of residence.
Foreign nationals without the settlement permit C are subject to taxation at source. The tax is deducted monthly directly from their wage at source. The employer transfers these taxes to the respective tax authority in Switzerland. Foreign nationals become subject to ordinary tax return if their income exceeds CHF 120’000 p.a.. For Swiss nationals, so-called ordinary assessment is applied. This is based on an annual self-declaration, i.e. taxpayers have to submit a tax return once annually. They then receive from the tax authority a tax bill that has to be paid by the end of the year.
As a rule, every person residing in Switzerland has to take out compulsory health insurance within three months after settlement. You are free to choose among the approved health insurance providers.
If you join in due time, the insurance cover begins from the time of your settlement in Switzerland. The health insurance also retroactively reimburses any costs incurred up to the time when you take up residence. To benefit from such reimbursement, insured persons must also pay their premiums retroactively up to the time of the commencement of the insurance.
In Switzerland, a strict distinction is made between accident and illness. In the case of persons in employment, the employer is responsible for taking out compulsory occupational and non-occupational accident insurance. Persons not in employment have to include accident insurance in their private health insurance.
Apart from health insurance, there are also other non-compulsory, but extremely worthwhile types of insurance. It is highly advisable, and some landlords demand, that home contents and personal liability insurance be taken out for example. Combining such insurance can make sense even for a temporary apartment and can be appropriately adapted in the case of a permanent solution.
There are considerable differences between the providers as regards the level of premiums and insurance benefits. It is best to use Comparis to compare the various providers’ prices and benefits.
Home contents insurance covers damage caused to household effects by fire, water, theft or glass breakage. This insurance is highly advisable. It is often combined with personal liability insurance.
Although it is not mandatory to take out personal liability insurance, it is likewise advisable to do so. This insurance protects against liability for damages if another person is injured or his or her property is damaged by the policyholder or co-insured persons.