It is easy to open a bank account in the US if you are a resident. However, if you are a non-resident or foreigner, it can be a bit challenging to open a bank account in the US. This is because one of the requirements of opening a US bank account is the Social Security Number. That said, you can still open a non-resident account online with Wise, Revolut, Payoneer, Zenus or any other multi-currency account that is available with your citizenship.
US bank accounts for foreigners and non-residents
- Opening a US bank account can be challenging for non-residents. You need documents like the Social Security Number and Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
- However, it is still possible to open a US bank account online with virtual banks like Wise, Revolut, and Payoneer. Revolut, for instance, offers plans for non-resident aliens in the U.S. who do not have an SSN.
- If you wish to trade in the US stocks, you can open a US brokerage account as a non-resident using TD Ameritrade US Bank Account.
Is It Difficult to Open a US Bank Account as a Foreigner or Non Resident?
Yes, but it can be more difficult than for US residents. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack, the USA Patriot Act was passed to make it more difficult for foreigners to open a bank account or engage in monetary transactions in the US. This was done to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. You will need to provide more identification than residents, including a valid passport, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), government-issued ID, immigration documents, proof of source of income, etc. You will also likely need to visit a branch in person to open an account with US major banks.
If you don’t have the required documentation or don’t want to visit a branch in person, you have two options:
- Use a “correspondent” bank. This is a bank in your home country that has a relationship with a US bank. They can help you open an account with the US bank.
- Open a Multi-Currency Account. You can use Wise or Revolut to open a virtual bank account with US banking details and use it to transact like a local.
A US dollar bank account does not necessarily have to be a bank account in the United States. Some have more luck just looking at the option of having a US dollar bank account outside the United States as a way to hold dollars.
US Banks for Non Residents
As we stated earlier, opening a US bank account as a non-resident can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here’s a list of banks that offer accounts to non-residents.
Wise Non Resident Account
You can open a US bank account as a non-resident using Wise multi-currency. You can use Wise to open a US bank account with US banking details without residency requirements. Not only that, but you can also open a US bank account with Wise while abroad. The account comes with a US routing number that you can use to exchange money between different currencies.
You will be issued with a Wise debit card and Wise virtual card. You can use the cards to spend anywhere in the World. Wise Multicurrency account does not have hidden fees and uses real exchange rates. It is so far the cheapest means to send money abroad.
Why Use Wise
So if you are looking for a Free US bank account for non US citizens, this is a good way forward. There are a number of reasons to use this service:
- It is easy and free to set up the account online
- Low international money transfer fees without a markup
- Get local bank details for several currencies like dollar, pound, euro, and Australian dollar
- Switch between accounts for a low fee
- Be Always sure of currency exchange rates
Revolut Non Resident Account
Revolut US offers a foreign residents feature primarily for non-US citizens (NRAs) living in the US, such as students, temporary workers, exchange visitors, and diplomats. The feature allows you to open a US bank account as a non-resident or a non resident alien even without SSN.
Revolut accounts without a Social Security Number or US tax identification number require additional documentation, such as a valid US visa for identity verification. Some advanced features may not be available, but basic banking features can be accessed with a valid US visa.
Through its partnership with FDIC-insured Metropolitan Commercial Bank, it offers multicurrency accounts like USD, EUR, GBP, NZD and AUD that support 28 currencies. You can access Revolut bank services through a mobile app and comes with a payment card. Besides, it’s good to know that money loaded on your prepaid card is held at Metropolitan Commercial Bank, and is FDIC insured up to $250,000 in the event of Metropolitan Commercial Bank’s failure. Securities products are not FDIC Insured, not bank guaranteed and may lose value.
Payoneer Non-Resident Account
You can open a US bank account online as a non-resident entrepreneur using Payoneer. The account can be used to receive payments from your clients and to pay suppliers. You can apply for a Payoneer account online and your account will be account in a few minutes. Payoneer is supported in over 200 countries and supports many currencies, but you must prove your entrepreneurship, while the account cannot be used as a normal bank account. You can only send money to your own personal accounts (when approved) or use their (virtual) prepaid debit card.
Payoneer allows you to open a US bank account with local receiving numbers that function just like bank account numbers. You can get a local receiving account from Payoneer in the US, EU, UK, Japan and Mexico. You can get paid while in these countries like a local. Furthermore, you can withdraw funds from your Payoneer account through your local bank.
Zenus Bank Non Resident Account
Zenus is a US virtual bank that allows you to open a personal and business bank account in the United States without proof of residency. It is a borderless multi-currency for non-residents to send, receive and store money in the US from over 180 countries in the world.
Benefits of Zenus bank include:
- A full US bank account with no need to be a US citizen or resident
- Zenus bank account comes with Zenus virtual card and physical card (Visa)
- International and domestic transfers to other Zenus account holders are free
- Zenus is a full reserve bank
Supported countries are those that are not sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury or Office of Foreign Assets Control “OFAC”. Zenus bank does not support the following countries: Burundi, Belarus, Bosnia, Central African Republic, Cuba, Darfur, Democratic Country of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela. Yemen, Zimbabwe.
TD Ameritrade Non Resident Account
If you are a non-resident of the US and you want to invest in American stocks, you can use TD Ameritrade to open a brokerage bank account as a US non-resident. Before opening an account, check if there are additional tax documents that you may require to open a foreign stockbrokerage account. Supported countries include Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Barbados, St. Lucia, Ghana, and Rwanda.
You can open three types of bank accounts as a non-resident using TD Ameritrade. They are retirement, foreign, and domestic accounts. The retirement accounts include IRAs and 401(k)s.
As a foreigner, you will be subjected to a Chapter 3 withholding tax, which is often 30%. You can see on this table if your country has a withholding tax treaty with the US government. You will also be required to provide the IRS with a W-8BEN to certify your tax compliance. Without this file, you will be charged a 24% tax on all interest and dividends.
TD Ameritrade is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which protects investors in the event of a brokerage firm failure up to $500,000 in securities, including $250,000 in cash claims, per customer. However, remember that TD Ameritrade is not a bank and your funds are not insured by FDIC. Still, it provides you with an opportunity to have your funds in the United States.
Other US Bank Account Options for Non-Residents
In addition to the banks listed above, the following US banks offer bank accounts for non-residents: US Bank, HSBC, Citibank, Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo. Some of these banks offer online account opening for non-residents, while others require you to visit a branch in person. You may also need to provide additional documentation, such as a passport, visa, and proof of address. Each bank offers a variety of account options for non-residents, including checking accounts, savings accounts, and credit card.
Key Takeaways for Non-Resident Banking in the US
Getting a US bank account as a non-resident can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Most banks require a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), but there are online banks that cater to non-residents.
Revolut, Payoneer, Zenus, and Wise are all good options for non-residents who need a US bank account. They offer a variety of features, such as easy account opening, low fees, and the ability to send and receive money in multiple currencies. Revolut’s Standard Plan has no monthly fee, and Wise and Revolut both offer multicurrency accounts.
The biggest downside to these online banks is that they typically don’t offer interest on account balances. However, they can be a valuable tool for non-residents who need to do US transactions.