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  1. #1
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    Can a non-American open an American bank account?

    Hi all,

    As the title says, can a non-American (as in not living in the USA, open a bank account in America?

    If so, which banks allow this? Ideally the bank has Internet Banking facilities that allows the non_US person to transfer money from that account to a bank account in the person's home country.

    Does anyone have any idea if this can be done?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot Heinrich's Avatar
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    i think wachovia bank allows it

    where r u right now?

  3. #3
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    I'm in Australia but I'm actually inquiring for a friend who is in a European country.


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    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanAUS

    If so, which banks allow this? Ideally the bank has Internet Banking facilities that allows the non_US person to transfer money from that account to a bank account in the person's home country.
    Wachovia's internet banking only allows for transfers between your Wachovia accounts (for example, if I wanted to transfer some money from my Wachovia savings account to my Wachovia checking account). It won't let you transfer between banks, and I'm pretty sure that most American banks are like that (at least the ones I've had accounts with, like Washington Mutual and Bank of America). To do something like that would probably require your signature in a few places, and it's definitely not something you can do online.

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    Texan at Heart Corey Bryant's Avatar
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    A few of our merchants have been successful in opening a merchant account with Valis international.

  6. #6
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    The reason for asking is paypal have removed acceptance of this person's home country. They have money sitting in a paypal account they can only get if they can open a US bank account to deposit the money into.

    Corey do you have a URL for Valis International?


  7. #7
    Texan at Heart Corey Bryant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanAUS
    Corey do you have a URL for Valis International?
    I believe it is: http://www2.valisinternational.com/

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    i dont think that you can open an account with a us bank withouth being physically present in the usa. Almost always they require you to sign stuff, and if you are not a us citizen you have to do some extra paperwork. Wire transfers from an European Bank to any Us Bank account are expensive! You will get charged at both banks, and its usually around 30 euro for the european institution and about the same dollar amount in the us (depends on the bank and amount)

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot Heinrich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanAUS
    I'm in Australia but I'm actually inquiring for a friend who is in a European country.
    ohh sorry, u/ ur friend need to present in US in order to open a bank acc
    from wachovia or other banks (make sure u have letter of reccomendation
    by ur bank from ur native country).

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    Your friend could have you withdraw the money from Paypal and then you could wire it to him.

  11. #11
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    Thank you all for the info. It seems the Valis option is viable.

    I'll let you know how it works, as I'm sure other people may be interested in this.

    Thanks again


  12. #12
    Texan at Heart Corey Bryant's Avatar
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    Good luck with it NathanAUS! I have not heard of anything negative about them from the clients. They are a little difficult to work with from time to time and I only think it is because we are setting up the merchant accounts for the person and Valis would like to have that business as well.

  13. #13
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    if you visit US you can open bank account at almost any bank, got to Chase, Citi, Bank of America, WellsFargo, etc, you need to have two different IDs and they open an account for you. To open the account by mail, it is different story, but it is possible.

    Have a nice day.


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  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by u4t2t
    if you visit US you can open bank account at almost any bank, got to Chase, Citi, Bank of America, WellsFargo, etc, you need to have two different IDs and they open an account for you. To open the account by mail, it is different story, but it is possible.

    Have a nice day.
    With Homeland Security, it is no longer that easy to open up a bank account in the US. Most US banks require a Social Security number in order to open an account.

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    Texan at Heart Corey Bryant's Avatar
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    True, but there is actually an old law on the books that actually prevents banks from asking you your social security number. If they do demand it, they are supposed publicly post it prior to you going into the bank. The Social Security Administration was not invented for every other organization to use that number.

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    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corey Bryant
    True, but there is actually an old law on the books that actually prevents banks from asking you your social security number. If they do demand it, they are supposed publicly post it prior to you going into the bank. The Social Security Administration was not invented for every other organization to use that number.
    Sadly, it seems that Homeland Security trumps a lot of the laws on the books.

  17. #17
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    SSN is not needed if you are not US citizen.

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  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by u4t2t
    SSN is not needed if you are not US citizen.
    I'm guessing that you're not terribly familiar with the US banking system anymore since Homeland Security and the Patriot Act were enacted.

    I've only looked at Bank of America & Citibank requirements so far and both require a SSN, US address and two forms of id.

  19. #19
    Texan at Heart Corey Bryant's Avatar
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    I have actually opened up a checking account at Bank of America without my SSN this past year. It is possibl. You just need to know the exact laws of the SSA

  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corey Bryant
    I have actually opened up a checking account at Bank of America without my SSN this past year. It is possibl. You just need to know the exact laws of the SSA
    Our branch of Bank of America requires SSN.

  21. #21
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    I am not US citizen, i do not have SSN, but i have bank account at 4 different banks in US.

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    Nathan:

    I'm a Canadian resident with no ties to the US. I have a couple of US chequing accounts. I have one at Wells Fargo (www.wellsfargo.com). I had to drive to the US and apply in person. Fortunately, it was only a 3 hour drive. They needed my driver's license and my Social Insurance Number which is Canada's taxpayer ID number similar to a Social Security Number. Transferring on the internet between banks is impossible and I think you'll find the same. The routing codes on the cheques are different so I mail US $ cheques from my Canadian bank to my bank(s) in the US.

    My other account I opened completely by mail. I sent a photocopy of my driver's license and one other piece of ID, Birth Certificate, Social INsurance # etc. I had to have my signature notarized by a public notary (lawyer etc.) This account was with Grand Marais State Bank (Minnesota). Again I can't transfer funds on the internet between countries, that is a big problem I don''t think you'll be able to get around.

    It's getting tougher to open a US account post 9/11. As part of Patriot Act I think they may soon start to require passports just to open a bank account. You must want to open the account by mail or on the internet as you can't open it in person as your friend is in Europe and you are in Australia. Good Luck, keep asking around. Bye

  23. #23
    SitePoint Member MeGaMASTER's Avatar
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    I'm not a US Resident and I have applied for a Checking account at Wells Fargo and mail them all required documents and they have rejected my application without giving me a clear explanation. Are there any other bank offering US Bank account for NON-US Resident?

  24. #24
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    in spain for example if you have an account with citibank in spain for more than 3 months (I think) you can ask for a US account without beeing physically in US.

    If in your country there is a US bank established, just go there and ask them. They should tell you a solution for non residents.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Zealot japonica's Avatar
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    Selection of banks is very important, but it really takes time and requires a lot of works to do so... I've got clients and partners all around the world, but most of Japanese banks are very slow at managing international transactions, so I've been looking for international banks like HSBC and Citibank. But as you know, it's very complicated.

    Do you have any recoomendation?


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