Alternatives to a bank safe deposit box

What are the alternatives to a bank safe deposit box?

If you need to store precious metals, important documents or expensive artworks securely, you will often opt for a bank safe deposit box. However, this may not always be the best storage solution for such items – especially as there are some good alternatives to using a safe deposit facility at the bank. The answer could be a bank-independent safe deposit box. But what specific advantages could bank-independent asset storage offer when securely storing precious metals or other valuables in Switzerland or Liechtenstein?

A summary of the potential advantages:

Opened safe deposit box in a vault
Bank-independent safe deposit boxes offer many advantages
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No additional account is necessary

Bank-independent safe deposit boxes in Switzerland, just like bank-independent safe deposit boxes in Liechtenstein, can be used without opening an additional bank account. Custody arrangements for valuables in a bank safe deposit box, on the other hand, are almost always linked to holding an account at the respective bank.

Another reason why this alternative to a bank safe deposit box can be worthwhile is that there are no reporting obligations. The 5th EU Money Laundering Directive obliges banks in all member states within the European Economic Area (EEA) to report the use of safe deposit boxes. This measure, which is designed to curb money laundering and prevent the financing of terrorism, also applies to the Principality of Liechtenstein, but not to Switzerland which has its own independent administration.

Maximum security, no commitments

Private storage facilities in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, such as those provided by Swiss Gold Safe Ltd., offer a high level of security without requiring the client to make any form of purchase from a precious metal dealer. Swiss Gold Safe has been operating high-security storage systems for precious metals, jewellery, securities, documents or cryptocurrencies for more than 15 years. So clients from all over the world can store their valuables in a facility which guarantees the utmost discretion. Swiss Gold Safe is neither a dealer, nor a financial intermediary, so clients are not subject to any extraneous purchase obligations.

Safe deposit box insurance included

Swiss Gold Safe includes a standard safe deposit box insurance cover in the rental price. This arrangement covers loss or damage up to a sum insured of CHF 25,000. Comprehensive insurance cover can also be arranged on request, and for an additional charge.

To maintain the highest level of discretion, Swiss Gold Safe acts as the policyholder – which means safe deposit box clients always remain anonymous to the insurance company.

Easy access with absolute discretion

Swiss Gold Safe maintains its own private high-security systems outside of the large settlements in the Gotthard region. These security warehouses can still be easily reached from all over Europe. All vaults observe the strictest security, with client access available any time from Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m., and between 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. by prior arrangement. An out-of-hours service is available on-call 24/7 ready to provide discreet access to safes for an additional surcharge. Find out more about renting a bank safe deposit box vs bank-independent storage.

Advantages of segregated storage or ‘individual custody’

Anyone planning to store precious metals such as gold, silver or platinum outside the banking system, yet under properly secured conditions, should think seriously about segregated custody. Many clients may have heard this arrangement alternatively described as ‘individual custody’. Both terms refer to special storage in secure private vaults, which can even be arranged duty-free in some circumstances. For instance, a transit warehouse (also called duty-free zone) is particularly attractive to many clients because white metals such as silver can be bought, sold and stored there without incurring VAT charges.

Swiss Gold Safe offers segregated storage for precious metals and other assets. This arrangement means your property is stored with all bar and/or seal numbers properly registered. This ensures those self-same items are returned to you when the storage period is complete. It is important to understand that so-called ‘collective storage’ arrangements can offer no such guarantee.

How secure is a home safe?

A home safe could be used as an alternative to a safe deposit box at the bank. You can store valuable jewellery, important documents or precious metals in your home safe. And as the owner you will naturally enjoy anytime access.

There are a variety of home safes on the market, for example, wall safes or free-standing security safes. However, household contents insurance cannot be relied upon to replace each and every loss in the event of a burglary. The owner must first prove the safe offers the prescribed level of security and resilience. For instance, there are budget safes available for just over 100 Swiss francs, but they hardly offer any serious protection against thieves. Such models are usually lightweight and rarely anchored to the ground, which means they are simply carried away by thieves and broken open later.

A really secure safe costs around 2000 CHF and more. The European ECB-S and VdS specifications can serve as a useful guide when making a purchase. Each safe is classified from 0 to 6 according to its security rating. This security level then determines the possible sum insured which can be offered. S2 rated safes, for example, allow valuables to be covered for a sum insured of up to CHF 50,000, while an S3 safe could be used to secure valuables up to a sum insured of CHF 150,000. In addition to these regulations, different levels of fire protection may also have to be taken into consideration.

Because of their high prices and demanding installation requirements, a home safe is often not the best choice. Thus, bank-independent storage represents a good alternative to a home safe or a strongbox. Private high-security systems are much more burglar-proof, and often even cheaper; client access is available 24/7; and well-trained security guards are available to accompany clients on every visit.

Safe deposit box alternatives at a glance