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Best US bank account for British expats?

Best US bank account for British expats?

Old Aug 21st 2018, 3:39 pm
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Default Best US bank account for British expats?

My husband and I have just moved to LA on E2 visas. We have just got a SSN each. We managed to get approved for a spectrum internet phone contract and an ATT TV and cell phone contract. We have no credit history but have both registered onto e-credible where you can voluntarily link your bills to your credit file so build a history but this takes time.
We have both got good credit history in the UK but I believe this doesn’t count for a lot here in the US.
At the moment we have an account with Coutts bank and are using our dollar account for all spending.
What is the best bank for British expats starting out with no credit history here? I don’t want to ruin our credit file with lots of applications before we even get started!
Many advice would be appreciated.
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Old Aug 21st 2018, 4:04 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

Wells Fargo have been fairly good to me. Started out with a secured credit card, two years later I now have a 730 credit score and an unsecured card with them and also one with Capital One.
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Old Aug 21st 2018, 4:04 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

Your choice of bank doesn't affect your credit file. Just choose the one that suits your needs the best. A lot of people like Wells Fargo. A lot of people like the smaller credit union banks. But really, it's up to you.

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Old Aug 21st 2018, 5:29 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

Unlike the UK, bank accounts don't appear on your credit file in the US and most banks only do a soft pull when opening an account.

There's a separate reporting agency called ChexSystems which basically only holds derogatory information for bank accounts.

I have accounts with numerous banks and personally I like Chase, their internet banking and mobile apps are good, their customer service seems decent and there are plenty of branches around here - obviously YMMV as they don't have a presence in every state.
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Old Aug 21st 2018, 5:45 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

Originally Posted by Olly_ View Post
I have accounts with numerous banks and personally I like Chase, their internet banking and mobile apps are good, their customer service seems decent and there are plenty of branches around here - obviously YMMV as they don't have a presence in every state.
I have accounts with several banks too and agree on Chase. I would avoid Wells Fargo like the plague given their string of illegal behaviour which, amazingly, is still coming to the surface two years after the first revelations:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/exclu...131824414.html

Last edited by Giantaxe; Aug 21st 2018 at 6:22 pm.
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Old Aug 21st 2018, 6:41 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

We have Chase as well, use them mainly for investments and credit cards as well as a checking account. Did have Wells Fargo but piss poor customer service and them treating my money as if it was theirs and we dumped them. Chase have been excellent.

We also have a checking account with a local credit union, which was Mrs L’s account when we meet. She has had it for about 50 years and we use it as our main checking account for that reason.

One thing to be aware of. Banks have daily limits on debit cards. Our credit union account is $2000, and while it can be increased with a phone call, it is only until 5:30pm that business day and then it reverts back to $2000. Chase has a limit of $7000.
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Old Aug 21st 2018, 7:15 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

Another vote for Chase. Have used them since day 1 for checking, savings, investments, credit cards (they gave us a c/c right from the start with a low credit limit to get us up and running) and they even gave us a mortgage on an L1 visa. Very helpful in branch and willing to go the extra mile to do business with us even when being a non US citizen can be a lot of extra work for them to get accounts set up. Banked with them both in New Jersey and now in Texas and it seems to be the same good service across the country. When you first go in to get everything set up, it's worth making an appointment in advance. There's a lot of photocopying and scanning of passports / visas / salary details etc. at first and you'll be there a while so if you can get a proper sit down appointment with a personal advisor, it's much easier than just walking in off the street and trying to speaking with a teller behind the counter.
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Old Aug 21st 2018, 9:19 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

My advice is to find one that's close to where you work and where you live and one that has plenty of ATM's

Here you're paying around $3 for the privilege of drawing cash from another bank's ATM so you want to avoid doing that as much as possible, and it's no point having the best bank in the US if they don't have a branch or ATM anywhere near you
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Old Aug 22nd 2018, 4:46 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

Went with TD plenty on East coast they waive fees also for ATM etc if maintain a minimum balance
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Old Aug 23rd 2018, 2:59 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

Originally Posted by dave2702 View Post
My advice is to find one that's close to where you work and where you live and one that has plenty of ATM's
Agreed. This is key. Chase is good but they are closing a lot of physical branches and when you go to another city there might only be one or two ATMs.

Depends how much bank you need, but CapitalOne360 online only account has zero ATM fees in the UK, no US fees and pays (tiny) interest.
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Old Aug 23rd 2018, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

Originally Posted by wtkp0u View Post
Agreed. This is key. Chase is good but they are closing a lot of physical branches and when you go to another city there might only be one or two ATMs.

Depends how much bank you need, but CapitalOne360 online only account has zero ATM fees in the UK, no US fees and pays (tiny) interest.
One of the main reasons I didn't swap from Wells Fargo to Chase. Chase's new account offers were very attractive and they seem to get A+ reviews but there are hardly any physical locations or ATM's near me so it's a bit of a no go.
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Old Aug 23rd 2018, 3:41 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

Originally Posted by wtkp0u View Post
Agreed. This is key. Chase is good but they are closing a lot of physical branches and when you go to another city there might only be one or two ATMs.

Depends how much bank you need, but CapitalOne360 online only account has zero ATM fees in the UK, no US fees and pays (tiny) interest.
I rarely use ATMs these days... I pay a lot of stuff with a debit card and get cash back when I make purchases. Additionally, the few check deposits I make are done on my 'phone. But I do have a Chase branch near my condo... which I've used once.
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Old Aug 23rd 2018, 4:34 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

I have used BOA for a long time with only a few issues. I do also have a Wells Fargo account, but could not recommend them. Just be careful of the fees. WF opened up a savings account for me paying 0.01% interest and duly charged me $15 a month fee. Their fee system does not take into account the total relationship amount. With BOA I get a free safe deposit box to keep my documents in at the bank.
Credit Unions are easy to use and tend to have less or reduced fees. eg wire transfer with my credit union is $15, with banks it's more like $50. As for ATMs, I don't think I ave used one in 7 or 8 years. I get cash back at the grocery store if I need cash. I take out cash maybe once every 2 months. I do get a certain amount of fee free ATM withdrawals a month

With transferwise my citibank account has a lot less value. With Citibank I can transfer funds back to the UK in minutes in case of an emergency.

Just look for a local branch either near work or home, it's fairly easy to change if you don't like a bank.

As for credit cards, I think Amex still allows global transfers of accounts.

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Old Aug 23rd 2018, 4:35 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

Originally Posted by BenK91 View Post
One of the main reasons I didn't swap from Wells Fargo to Chase. Chase's new account offers were very attractive and they seem to get A+ reviews but there are hardly any physical locations or ATM's near me so it's a bit of a no go.
I did open a Chase account, took the $500 and then duly closed the account after the qualifying period.
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Old Aug 23rd 2018, 5:03 pm
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Default Re: Best US bank account for British expats?

Originally Posted by wtkp0u View Post
Agreed. This is key. Chase is good but they are closing a lot of physical branches and when you go to another city there might only be one or two ATMs.

Isn't Chase part of the Allpoint ATM network so you can use all those machines for free? Similar to a great many credit unions being in the Co-Op or Moneypass networks so a local CU has free ATMs all over the country.
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