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Open US Bank Account Online Before You Set Your Foot in America

When you travel to the US to work or study, does your bank account travel with you? Finances are a tricky subject. Throw in international migration to study in the US or to work in the US and it can get even more complicated. It can always seem daunting to open a bank account in the US when you get there. Short-term visitors always have the advantage of using their credit cards in the US or other financial instruments but what about people moving there for a large part of their lives? The US banking system is very streamlined so it may seem that resident Americans can open a bank account with the snap of a finger but it’s a little different for immigrants. The regulations you must navigate, the documentation you must provide – all of it adds up.

There are ways around this to simplify opening a bank account in the US from your home country but before we dive into the solutions, let’s understand a little more about why it is difficult to open bank accounts in the US.

The challenges to opening a US bank account as an immigrant

  • Typically, there is a greater requirement for identifying documents for immigrants
  • To open a bank account requires a Social Security number (SSN) or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), both of which again require documentation and review by the IRS.
  • The USA Patriot Act, launched after the September 11 attacks, has made it difficult for immigrants and foreigners to own and operate bank accounts in the US
  • Online banking has made it easy to communicate with banks and get your work done but some services, such as opening a bank account, are still in-person tasks requiring you to visit the branch. How will you do this if you are not in the US?

Beyond this, you also need to choose what kind of bank account you need. There are two primary types of accounts that you can operate in the US. They are checking and savings accounts.

Savings Accounts:

A savings account in the US allows you to save money over time and offers a small interest rate on deposits. Based on the subtype of savings account you use, you can face certain restrictions in terms of amounts you can withdraw, etc.

Checking account:

A checking account is a primary account you use for your day-to-day transactions. Whether it is things like making bill payments, ATM withdrawals, credit card payments, etc, your checking account comes into play for all these kinds of transactions.

When you open either a checking or savings accounts you will receive

  • A routing number that identifies your bank
  • An account number that identifies your account

Reading all this you must be wondering whether it is possible to open a US bank account from abroad but don’t worry because it is!

Correspondent banks, international banks like HSBC & Citibank, and neo banking solutions like Zolve, allow you to open a bank account without setting foot in America. Let’s dive into these solutions.

  • Interbank Relationships: Very often, banks across countries have relationships with each other to serve customers with international financial transactions better. You can check with leading banks in your country if they do and see if you can open an account through them. If you’re in a hurry, however, this may not help as typically both the banks will want to vet your documents.
  • International Accounts: You can open an internationally transactable account with a global bank like HSBC or Citibank. These banks typically work with wealthy companies and individuals and may demand that you hold a large cash balance in your account.
  • Open an Account in the US: If you have the time and resources, you could fly to the US and open a bank account over there. No middlemen, and if there are any complications, you can quickly resolve them as you are present in-country.
  • Use a Neobank like Zolve: You can easily open a US bank account online with a neobank like Zolve. They are a global financial solutions company that helps you set up a bank account and get a credit card in the USA. You don’t need to apply for an SSN and you can get started very quickly. They currently help individuals in India open a US bank account but will soon be expanding to other countries.

Money makes the world go round and it’s no different when it comes to your personal life. When you are moving to a country like the US it is essential to have your bank account and financial instruments in place so that you can lead a stress-free life. As an immigrant, you already face an uphill battle to settle in your new country. Knowing that you can easily open a bank account from your home country will definitely make it easier for you to move abroad.

Alice Jacqueline is a creative writer. Alice is the best article author, social media, and content marketing expert. Alice is a writer by day and ready by night. Find her on Twitter and on Facebook!

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