Opening a bank account in the USA is an attractive opportunity for many entrepreneurs from other countries. No wonder it is so attractive because the US economy remains the largest economy in the world.
Setting up a bank account in America is a rather challenging task if you are a non-resident of the country. You will have to face certain obstacles and come up to some strict standards but opening a bank account in the USA is possible for a foreigner anyway. Below we discuss the key nuances of opening a bank account in the USA and the main difficulties involved in the process. We also suggest a simple solution that allows setting up a bank account remotely.
Benefits of having a bank account in the USA
Becoming a client of an American bank can bring you a number of important benefits. The main opportunities that you can get access to include the following ones:
- An opportunity to manage the account remotely 24/7: you can make money transfers and perform other banking operations at any time of the day;
- An opportunity to pay for goods: having a bank account in America will make shopping in the country a very simple matter;
- Access to ATMs: many American banks have large ATM networks and you can withdraw cash at any time (and it doesn’t have to be a US dollar withdrawal: other currencies are available too);
- An opportunity to build up a credit history: apply for a loan, pay it back in a timely manner and you will earn yourself a good reputation with the bank. A good credit history is a highly valuable asset in the USA;
- Money safety: the banking system distances itself from politics in the USA; it is independent and targeted at the clients. All deposits are insure for up to US$ 25,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC);
- Up-to-date technical equipment: all American banks use the latest achievements in digital technologies and all bank accounts in America are protected from unauthorized use.
American banks also make it possible for clients to manage their accounts online or with the use of a mobile application, to pay the bills, to acquire bank statements to serve as proofs of address, and to obtain tax receipts with payment dates. Bank managers will gladly help you compile the application document package if you are looking to immigrate to the USA.
Types of bank accounts available to non-residents in the USA
Foreigners can open three types of bank accounts in America: savings, brokerage, and current/ checking accounts. Both private individuals and corporations can open bank accounts of these types.
- Savings account. You can open a savings account if you want to accumulate funds over a long period because the bank will pay you an interest on your deposit. You will have to make a fixed-term deposit but this does not mean that you cannot withdraw money before the term expires: you will simply lose some of the interest.
- Brokerage account. Brokerage accounts are used to buy and sell securities thus making a profit. A private individual and a company can set up a brokerage account
- Current/ checking account. If you have a bank account of this type, you can use a plastic card to pay for goods and services or write checks. Besides, you can make international money transfers online.
What American bank should you choose?
We highly recommend that you collect as much information about the bank that you are considering before applying for services. How high does it rank? What commissions does it charge? Are there any restrictions on money transfers? Does the bank issue plastic cards? Does it offer acquiring opportunities? Is client support efficient? Is the bank’s website user-friendly? Is a mobile account management application available? What are the bank’s credit policies? Finding answers to these questions is extremely important if you want to avoid some unpleasant surprises in the future.
The highest-ranking American banks that will open accounts for non-residents include the following ones:
- Bank of America;
- Wells Fargo Citibank;
- JP Morgan Chase;
- Euro Pacific Capital;
- Chase Bank;
- TD Bank;
- United Bank.
Can you open a US bank account?
Opening a personal bank account in the USA remotely is challenging but possible anyway. Why is it challenging? Because the matter of client identification is taken very seriously in the modern banking world.
The Compliance Department will want to know everything about you if you apply for banking services: where you live, where you work, how much you make, how many dependent family members you have, and so on. Apart from many other things, the Compliance officers will even check out your accounts on social networks!
For this reason, you have to pay a personal visit to the bank in the USA to open a non-resident account there unless you are prepared to make a very large deposit. We would like to suggest an easier way out, however, if you cannot or do not want to go to the USA but still want to have a bank account there. Please consider applying for banking services to a payment system. Payment systems are also sometimes referred to as neobanks because they are a new type of financial organizations.
International online banking opportunities
Payment systems go by different names: neobanks, Fintech companies, online banks, and payment service providers. Whatever the name, a payment system does not usually have any physical offices: it is a virtual bank and it allows making international online transactions. These virtual banks are licensed and they work in accordance with the law.
The popularity of neobanks has been growing rapidly in recent years. They are winning customers’ trust because they make secure transactions and offer user-friendly interfaces. Payment systems called Wise, Payoneer, and Revolut can serve as examples of financial institutions that make it possible to open a bank account in the USA remotely without making a large initial deposit. People of all nationalities are eligible to apply for services to these systems or their analogues. Moreover, some neobank will provide services to corporate clients as well.
How can you open an account with an online bank?
You have to log onto the chosen company website and click the ‘open account’ icon. Please be ready to go through the client identification procedures: you will have to prove that you are the person that you pretend to be. Normally, this does not take too much time. In some cases, you won’t need more than a day to set up an account. If you are opening a corporate account with a payment system, the client identification process may be longer.
What is attractive about the opportunity to open an account with a payment system? You will be able to make payments in the USA and receive payments from the country without ever visiting it! You can also use the account for business purposes if you conduct business operations in America. (We will note in parentheses that registering a company in the USA remotely is much simpler than opening a bank account there from a foreign country.)
At the same time, it would be wise to learn more about the payment system that you are considering before setting up a bank account there. All of them charge commission but their amounts are different. All payment systems provide client support but its quality is different again. Thus, you should choose wisely when opening an account with a payment system.