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Bank Account

Old Jun 1st 2010, 11:08 pm
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Default Bank Account

Hi,

I recently arrived (last weekend) in the States and some of the immediate tasks I need to take care of are
Licence
Bank accounts
SSN.

As per forum, a little wait after one gets into the country is recommended before one heads to the SSN office. (10 days) which means I won't have SSN for 2-3 weeks. The issue is, I hear banks won't open any accounts for me (Savings) without SSN. Licence needs SSN too.

Are there any banks from your experience, that entertain / open an account for you without SSN?

THanks for your help.
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 1:11 am
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Default Re: Bank Account

When I applied for an SSN there was a phone number you could call a day or two after you applied and they would give you your SSN over the phone. I don't know what the # is but its probably on a government website or call your local SSN office and ask. Hopefully they still do this I applied several years ago.
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 1:25 am
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Default Re: Bank Account

Originally Posted by kwisking View Post
When I applied for an SSN there was a phone number you could call a day or two after you applied and they would give you your SSN over the phone. I don't know what the # is but its probably on a government website or call your local SSN office and ask. Hopefully they still do this I applied several years ago.
So without the SSN life is pretty much on a hold? I thought a 'savings' account would have been possible to open with SSN.
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 1:59 am
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Default Re: Bank Account

Originally Posted by E3only View Post
So without the SSN life is pretty much on a hold? I thought a 'savings' account would have been possible to open with SSN.
I wouldn't say 'life was on hold' for us - we opened a regular checking account with Bank of America when we first arrived in 2008 before we had our SSNs.

We also took care of getting utilities connected (with a deposit on some) at our rental house and got a pay as you go cell phone.
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 2:08 am
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Default Re: Bank Account

Originally Posted by rebs View Post
I wouldn't say 'life was on hold' for us - we opened a regular checking account with Bank of America when we first arrived in 2008 before we had our SSNs.

We also took care of getting utilities connected (with a deposit on some) at our rental house and got a pay as you go cell phone.
Thanks. yeah perhaps wrong choice of words

I have a mobile now (PAYG of course), I think rental is fine too (albeit they are charging 2 times deposit which is ridiculous).

What documents did you take to the BOA to apply for the checking account?
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 2:15 am
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Default Re: Bank Account

Originally Posted by E3only View Post
Thanks. yeah perhaps wrong choice of words

I have a mobile now (PAYG of course), I think rental is fine too (albeit they are charging 2 times deposit which is ridiculous).

What documents did you take to the BOA to apply for the checking account?
Passports.... I think that was it, as I remember (we may have had something from my husband's employer as we are on a company transfer)... we didn't even have our rental house sorted out at that stage, as we were on our house hunting trip,so we used my husband's office address. We also had them hold the check books and debit cards until we arrived more permanently a few weeks later.
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 2:50 am
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Default Re: Bank Account

Originally Posted by E3only View Post
So without the SSN life is pretty much on a hold? I thought a 'savings' account would have been possible to open with SSN.
Savings does need a SSN generally for tax purposes and the IRS.

What a bank wants to open an account online is not always the same as what they want when opening in person at a branch.
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 4:34 am
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Default Re: Bank Account

Just open a normal checking account, the few weeks it takes to get SSN won't make any difference to your savings, % will be so laughable you won't lose any money.

Opening the account just needs ID, can use a passport.
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 4:37 am
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Default Re: Bank Account

Originally Posted by Jsmth321 View Post
What a bank wants to open an account online is not always the same as what they want when opening in person at a branch.
IIRC (don't promise anything) usually when you open accounts online they usually access/verify your information using a drivers licence number, don't they? Can't remember actually.

The other pattern in opening accounts (judging by numerous threads in the past) is how clued up the individual teller is - get one that's never done a furrner before, and you're wasting your time. I would have thought the OP will be OK in California, though.
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 11:59 am
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Default Re: Bank Account

Originally Posted by lapin_windstar View Post
IIRC (don't promise anything) usually when you open accounts online they usually access/verify your information using a drivers licence number, don't they? Can't remember actually.

The other pattern in opening accounts (judging by numerous threads in the past) is how clued up the individual teller is - get one that's never done a furrner before, and you're wasting your time. I would have thought the OP will be OK in California, though.
You generally don't need an SSN to open a checking account. Virtually all banks and credit unions will ask, but just tell them you don't have one (yet) and ask if other documents (probably your passport + visa) will suffice. Most institutions will accept that, though perhaps with a request to let them know your SSN once you have it.

Savings accounts are likely to be a different matter, as the financial institution usually needs to report your interest income to the government for tax purposes.
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: Bank Account

Originally Posted by E3only View Post
I hear banks won't open any accounts for me (Savings) without SSN.
The bank needs a valid ID - which your passport will satisfy. If the teller doesn't let you open a savings account, ask to speak to the manager. If the manager refuses, feel free to let him know that you'll go elsewhere with your money - and that you'll also be writing to the local newspaper about the incident. If the manager tells you it's a federal regulation - tell him that he needs to actually read the regulation for himself because he's wrong.

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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 4:00 pm
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Default Re: Bank Account

I can confirm I opened a checking and savings account without a SSN with HSBC by walking into my local branch. This was in March.
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 5:11 pm
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Default Re: Bank Account

Originally Posted by E3only View Post
What documents did you take to the BOA to apply for the checking account?
Tell the bank you can complete a W-8BEN which should work in lieu of a SSN for interest-bearing accounts. Or, just open a checking account.
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 8:55 pm
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Default Re: Bank Account

Thanks all. I called a couple of banks and they mention I 'need' SSN to open any account. SO - after reading the posts, I am going to visit a branch (say BofA) and see how I go. I will post my experience here. I just want a checking account to get paid

I will be heading to the East Bay SSN office too to apply for the #.

I will be taking with me Passport, job offer, approved petition, I94 on the passport and hope that should keep them happy.
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Old Jun 2nd 2010, 9:13 pm
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Default Re: Bank Account

Originally Posted by E3only View Post
Thanks all. I called a couple of banks and they mention I 'need' SSN to open any account. SO - after reading the posts, I am going to visit a branch (say BofA) and see how I go. I will post my experience here. I just want a checking account to get paid
Some banks might have it as part of policy, BoA might these days since they got into a bit of embarrassment for having so many illegals using them last year.

Either way, it's not the law, it's just easier on them to use a SSN, fits the software and less hassle, but a manager or anyone that can be bothered should be able to sort it out for you.

If they really do need a SSN, they can use the generic international number which I think is 000-00-0004 and then switch it over once you get one.
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