The United States is home to millions of expats and immigrants in pursuit of the American Dream. And it all starts with a bank account. If you are an investor, student, a worker or retiree wishing to move to the US, this guide will help you find solutions to opening a bank account in the US.
Documents Needed to Open a Bank Account in the US
- A valid ID (passport or driver’s license)
- Social security number
- Proof of address (a lease agreement)
- Immigration documents
- Contact details and residential address
- Account opening initial deposit
Every state has its regulations in terms of documents and guidelines needed to open a bank account. Essentially, you need the documents listed above. Bank staff are usually well trained to handle people from all walks of life. Therefore, feel free to talk to any of the bank staff.
Virtual bank account in the USA
Most virtual bank accounts in the USA are only available for residents of the United States, but there are exceptions, including US Bank Accounts for Non-Residents. Both Wise Multicurrency Account and Payoneer give you the option to open a virtual bank account in the USA as a non-resident.
But Wise is a lot cheaper here, offering most options for free. N26 is also available as a Virtual bank account in the USA, but only when you open it as a US resident. Wise offers you the option to have an American virtual account alongside a European virtual bank Account, as is the case at Revolut.
How to Open an Account Online
Some banks allow for online account opening. Before you start the process of opening an account online, make sure you have a social security number and the other documents mentioned above. However, check from the bank’s website what they require for online account opening. Once you have opened the account, you need to fund the account by making a cash transfer from an existing account. You can also visit your local bank to deposit the cash.
Solutions to Opening a Bank Account in the US
Since you may lack some necessary documents to open a bank account in the US, there are other solutions. Lacking a single document should not hinder you from opening an account. You can still hold money in US dollars. Consider the following solutions.
Wise Multicurrency Account
Wise Multicurrency Account can hold money in over 40 currencies. With the account, you can receive and make payments across the world. If you are a European user, you get a free debit card. Also, available for non-US-residents, and alongside a European virtual bank account.
All you need to do is to create an account, and it is free. Then select the currency in which you wish to hold your money. Then add money to your account, and you will be ready to use the account anywhere in the world.
Benefits WISE account
- Wise is a lot cheaper for money transfers compared to normal banks, and you can hold money in over 40 currencies such as GBP, AUD, USD and EUR
- The process of opening a Wise Account is online and for free. You can get a contactless debit card
- Free ATM withdrawals for amount up to 200 euros monthly
Best Banks in the United States
There are many banks in the US. Some are local, while others are international. If you want to get quality services, then choose the Big Four banks in America.
JP Morgan Chase
JP Morgan Chase is among American banks with the highest number of branches and ATMs in America. It has its headquarters in New York. The bank offers private banking, investment banking, treasury and securities, personal and business accounts. Business accounts attract monthly fees ranging from $10-95. However, if you maintain a minimum account balance, you get a waiver of the monthly fees. The products the bank offers differ from one business to another, depending on its location.
Bank of America
Bank of America has its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. The bank offers banking and non-financial services to its customers. It has two different business accounts. The bank has 4861 branches in America. The fees for the accounts are different, but they can be waived if you meet the conditions. If you maintain a minimum number of transactions every month, then you are likely to save on fees if between $17 and $30.
Citibank has 983 branches in the US and other branches in other countries. It has various products for its customers, ranging from personal to business accounts. For instance, there are checking accounts for businesses based on the size of the business. From the bank’s website, you can compare checking accounts.
Wells Fargo serves various needs of its customers. They serve the needs of small businesses and nonprofit making organizations. However, its fees and products differ from one state to another.
Make sure to check fees charges by a particular bank before you can open an account. You can also read on how to get a fee waiver to cut on transaction costs. Among the charges to look for include monthly maintenance fees, ATM withdrawal fees. Also, makes sure to check for minimum account balance, since some banks charge fees if you fail to maintain the minimum balance.
International Money Transfers
It is costly to make international cash transfers using banks. This is because banks do not adhere to the mid-market rates while they also maintain high-profit margins. They do not use the real-time exchange rates, while they also charge currency conversion fees. To cut on costs, consider opening a virtual bank account, for example by using WISE Multicurrency Account.