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The 6 Best US Banks for Foreigners and Non-Residents in the USA in 2023

Aug 4, 2023
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If you want access to an American bank account and are a foreigner to the United States, several options exist for you. The traditional big banks have stringent eligibility criteria while online US neobanks generally offer an easier path to access American banking (while still maintaining high-quality bank account services).

In addition to these two groups, online business banks accounts offer opportunities to foreign entrepreneurs and small business owners. Finally, bank-like alternatives offer the most limited services, but also have the lowest eligibility requirements.

In this guide, we explore the Revolut, Chime®, and 4 other best US banks for foreigners, non-residents, and immigrants. We walk through the requirements to open an account and provide in-depth information on each service so that you can make the best choice for your financial freedom.

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Chime gives you a no-monthly-fee¹ US checking account (ideal for receiving your USD salary) and free domestic ACH transfers. Chime is also a great option for spending in a foreign currency as it charges no foreign exchange fees. However, you need an SSN to apply. | Read the full review.

Can I Open a US Bank Account as a Foreigner?

To decide whether you can open a US bank account as a foreigner or non-resident in the United States, you must first assess your eligibility status.

Big Traditional Banks

While foreigners and non-residents are legally not allowed to obtain Social Security numbers, foreigners may apply for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). If you are eligible (i.e. you are a foreigner with ownership in a US company, are eligible to pay taxes, or are eligible to receive government benefits), then many big traditional banks will accept your ITIN and open an account for you.

If you are a student or hold a temporary resident visa, then you may not be eligible for an ITIN. Big banks do still offer checking accounts for students who show proof of US address and university registration. In these cases, however, online US neobanks offer the same checking services and use mobile technology to add even more value.

Online Banks

Neobanks have disrupted the traditional finance industry because they have created financial platforms that are connected to regulated banks. Two online US neobanks that we detail in this guide even provide access to American banking to US residents without SSNs or ITINs.

Business Bank Accounts

If you do not have proof of US residency, then you will be limited in your options. However, you may hold a business bank account if you are a foreigner who manages or owns an American-established company. You must present your company's employer identification number (EIN) to open a business bank account.

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Business owners of US-based companies are not required to be US residents, which is why entrepreneurship offers a solid avenue to accessing American banking as a foreigner or non-resident. Read our guide on single-member limited liability companies (SMLLC) to see if establishing one is right for you.

Bank-Like Accounts

Otherwise, non-taxpaying non-residents of the United States must revert to bank-like electronic money accounts like Wise. While these products do not issue credit cards or loans, you will still be able to access your own US bank account number and routing number. Bank-like accounts even have mobile wallet, direct deposit, and international money transfer capabilities.

In this guide below, we walk through some traditional banks. Then we provide our recommended list of the best six US Bank accounts for foreigners and non-residents in the USA:

US Big Banks

Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash Chase Bank in New York City

The most obvious way to open a US bank account is with a big-name American bank. However, this method requires that you have official ID, proof of US residence, and an SSN or an ITIN. If you do not have an ITIN, the bank representative will ask you to request one from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Undocumented immigrants are legally allowed to receive ITINs.

Are There Banks That Don't Need an ID to Open an Account?

No, there are no banks in the United States that open bank accounts to clients without a form of government identification.

Foreigners earning income in the United States, even if they are undocumented, are legally allowed to obtain an ITIN from the IRS. To obtain a ITIN, apply through the IRS's website.

How Do I Open a US Bank Account Without an ID?

It is impossible to open a US bank account without form of identification. However, If you cannot or do not want to open a US bank account with an ITIN, then you may try to use an alternative ID. Examples of potentially eligible IDs include:

  • a foreign passport with or without a visa,
  • U.S. non-immigrant visa and border crossing card,
  • Consular ID from your home country,
  • Canadian citizenship certificate card.

This option requires that you go into your local branch and speak with a representative to verify your identity and open a bank account. While not guaranteed, banks that may accept alternative IDs include:

  • Bank of America,
  • Chase,
  • TD Bank,
  • US Bank,
  • Wells Fargo.
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For more information on how to virtually open a US bank account online without a social security number, read our dedicated in-depth guide.

Best Mobile Banking App With SSN: Chime®

Chime is one of the best overall mobile banking apps and debit cards in the United States. Its interface is straightforward, making managing your online financiers cost-effective and seamless.

With Chime, you get a US account number and routing number connected to a debit card that Chime will ship to your home for no monthly fees¹. You can also open the optional Chime (High Yield) Savings ("HYS") Account to get 2.00% APY³ (as of August 2022) as well as the Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card, a secured credit card with no annual fees, to improve your credit score quickly and easily⁴.

Chime's sign-up process is fast and easy if you have a social security number.

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Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

Best No-SSN Account for Foreigners in the US: Revolut

Revolut has arguably the widest range of financial services among the US neobanks. Most importantly for foreigners in the US, a Revolut account gives you access to local US bank account details, which you can use to make domestic ACH transfers and receive USD salary payments from your employer.

Revolut's checking accounts are supported by Metropolitan Commercial Bank — which means it’s fully FDIC-insured. US-based customers even get access to free UK bank details for banking in British pounds. Revolut also offers a lot of internationally-oriented features, like ten free foreign transfers a month, free foreign exchange up to $1000 a month, and the ability to hold a balance in foreign currencies, which makes it a good choice for those who frequently travel abroad.

You just need to verify your identity before gaining access to the full set of features. State IDs, green card holders, non-US passports with a US visa, and EAD (Employment Authorization Documents) are acceptable forms of identification.

Best Bank Account For Immigrants in the USA: Majority

Majority has a suite of migrant-friendly features (e.g. international calling, international money transfers, exclusive deals, etc.) combined with low fees all around. Called the "All-In-One Mobile Banking For Migrants", Majority is a well-suited online current account for new arrivals and immigrants in the US with residence but without an SSN or ITIN.

Best US Business Bank Account For Foreign Owners: Revolut Business

Revolut Business is a London-based fintech company that empowers not only retail customers around the world, but companies and entrepreneurs too. If you open an account with them, you will get access to local bank account details in both British pounds and US dollars, allowing you to spend and get paid like either a British or American local.

You must reside in the United States and your business must have a physical presence in the United States to be eligible for a Revolut business bank account.

Best US Bank Details For Global Business: Payoneer

Payoneer is one of the world's leading financial platforms for SMEs and entrepreneurs around the world. You can get paid in up to 11 different currencies, including USD, and can hold those USD funds for as long as you'd like. Their Mastercard gives you access to your USD revenues, or you can choose to transfer your USD holdings into your home currency when you are ready.

No SSN, ITIN, or US residency is required to register for Payoneer, plus it is free to sign up. You will only be subject to a $29.95 annual fee if your account is inactive for over 12 months.

Best US Bank Account For Non-Residents: Wise

Wise isn't a bank in the US but an electronic money institution that offers a Multi-Currency Account: a low-cost foreign currency spending account and a Visa debit card

This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to open a US bank account as a non-resident, regardless of whether you want to hold money in US dollars, spend money on holidays in the US, shop online, or receive earnings from an American employer.

Recap: Best US Bank Accounts for Foreigners and Non-Residents

  1. Revolut: Best US checking account for foreigners in the US
  2. Chime: Good mobile banking app and debit card with SSN
  3. Majority: Good migrant-friendly account for US residents without SSN
  4. Revolut Business: Good US bank account for US-resident businesses
  5. Payoneer: Good American business banking for non-residents
  6. Wise Account: Good USD account for non-residents

Frequently Asked Questions About Opening a US Banks For a Non-Resident

Disclaimers

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

¹ Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven location or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

² To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

³ The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of November 17, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest. The average national savings account interest rate of 0.21% is determined by FDIC as of November 17, 2022 based on a simple average of rates paid (uses annual percentage yield) by all insured depository institutions and branches for which data are available. Visit National Rates and Rate Caps to learn more.

⁴ On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Results may vary.

⁵ Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member's Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime's discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won't cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.

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Non-Resident Bank Accounts in the US vs Other Countries

Many countries allow non-residents to open a bank account within their legal jurisdictions, but exactly what kind of requirements non-residents face can differ drastically from country to country and even bank to bank. See the list below to get a better idea of this:

Country

Which non-residents can open an account?

🇬🇧 United Kingdom

Parties with close ties, expats, immigrants, investors, students

🇮🇪 Ireland

Any interested party

🇩🇪 Germany

Parties with close ties

🇫🇷 France

Parties with close ties, investors, students

🇮🇹 Italy

Parties with close ties, Investors

🇨🇭 Switzerland

Investors only

🇪🇸 Spain

Parties with close ties, investors, students

🇵🇹 Portugal

Parties with close ties, investors, expats, students

🇳🇱 Netherlands

Parties with close ties, investors

🇩🇰 Denmark

Parties with close ties, investors

🇳🇴 Norway

Parties with close ties, investors

🇸🇪 Sweden

Parties with close ties, investors

🇦🇹 Austria

Parties with close ties, investors

🇬🇷 Greece

Parties with close ties, investors

🇭🇺 Hungary

Any interested party

🇱🇺 Luxembourg

Parties with close ties, investors

🇱🇮 Liechtenstein

Investors only

🇬🇮 Gibraltar

Investors only

🇮🇲 Isle of Man

Parties with close ties, investors, expats

🇯🇪 Jersey

Parties with close ties, investors, expats

Last updated: 23/2/2022

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