International
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Nadine SCHMITT
Head of International Desk Germany, Switzerland

Support by the
Crédit Agricole group

Last updated: july 2021

The Swiss International Desk provides support to the Crédit Agricole Group’s business clients in the country to help them implement their operations on location, particularly opening accounts, and providing financing, information and banking advice.

To this end, it draws on the Group’s business units and frontline local partner banks.

Present in Switzerland for more than 130 years, CA Indosuez (Switzerland) SA is one of the largest foreign banks in the country. It carries out two types of operations: private banking and financing and investment banking with the transactional financing of raw materials and capital markets.

CA Next Bank SA is a bank specialised in property credit in Switzerland and France, as well as a bank for individuals, with an special service dedicated to those on the border. It has nine offices in the Francophone zone and two in the German zone (Basel and Zurich).

The Crédit Agricole Group is also present with Crédit Agricole Switzerland SA (fund administration) and Amundi Asset Management.

For non-banking matters, the International Desk offers the support of local law, accounting offices and its partners as well as expertise in business internationalisation.

For mor information, see the list of the Crédit Agricole Group’s locations.

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Means of payment

With Switzerland

Company cheque

Bank cheque

Withdrawal

SWIFT transfer

Bill of exchange

Promissory note

Documentary remittance

Documentary credit

Usage

Weak / None

Weak / None

Common

Common

Weak / None

Weak / None

Common

Common SBLC

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Advice from the
international desk

General Information

The Helvetic Confederation (Switzerland) is a federal state covering 26 cantons, each of which exercises independent rights of state (standards, taxes, right of establishment, public markets) bar those which are transferred to the Confederation (currency, defence, foreign relations), and have their own constitutions and laws.

Due to this federal structure, the regulations (on work, tax, investment, etc.) vary from one canton to another. It is therefore sensible to seek information on these matters from the administrations of the cantons, and not the federal administration.


In business:

Switzerland is a highly competitive market, fairly conservative in its practices, which do not conform to those of the European Union, and where the quality of life of the inhabitants is among the highest in the world and generally fairly heterogeneous from a cultural and linguistic view point. There is thus a notable difference between German Switzerland and Romance Switzerland, not just in terms of the approach to business, but also on products.

  • When you first make official and serious contact:
  • Respect your contact partner’s language; French is not necessarily spoken within the German zone.
  • Negotiations to be held in English if not in French or German
  • Adhere to the agenda agreed on in advance.
  • Be discrete and seek consensus.

VAT rate: 7.7% and a reduced rate of 2.5% for basic necessities (edible products, medication, newspapers/books). A rate of 3.7% applies to accommodation.

VAT recovery: service provided by the France-Switzerland Chamber of Commerce.


Means of Payment & Banking Specificities

Switzerland is part of the SEPA community. Banking confidentiality and, more generally, confidentiality in business remain high.

Transfer is the payment method to be preferred. It is, in fact, a safe, rapid and low-cost method. We make a distinction between classic transfer and SEPA transfer (IBAN code and BIC).
BVR = postal payment slip, sent with the bill and payable at the postal bank.

Opening of non-resident accounts: highly restricted, low appetite of banks for this clientele. To be studied on a case-by-case basis. Switzerland is highly advanced in new technologies e-banking. Card payment services are often outsourced and offered by players such as Sixpay.

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