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How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

Old Jul 28th 2011, 10:45 am
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Default How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

Hi,
I am a US and UK citizen who has only even lived in the UK. I will be moving to the USA in approx. 6 months. Prior to moving I would like to open a personal bank account in the USA. I have a Social Security no. but not USA address yet. I would like a bank that has a branch in Asheville, NC as that is where we will live/work.
Also, the interest rate for changing £ to $ is improving and we are buying a business in the USA. What is the best way to transfer a large sum of £ over to the USA? Approx. $90,000. If I can get a bank account there then I could transfer it over asap? We have this money now.
I will also need a business account but thought to see what bank the current business owner uses as this may be best??
Also, we have a buyer for our house and in a few months will need to transfer approx. £200,000 to the USA.
Many thanks.
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 11:29 am
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

Originally Posted by jukes View Post
Hi,
I am a US and UK citizen who has only even lived in the UK. I will be moving to the USA in approx. 6 months. Prior to moving I would like to open a personal bank account in the USA. I have a Social Security no. but not USA address yet. I would like a bank that has a branch in Asheville, NC as that is where we will live/work.
Also, the interest rate for changing £ to $ is improving and we are buying a business in the USA. What is the best way to transfer a large sum of £ over to the USA? Approx. $90,000. If I can get a bank account there then I could transfer it over asap? We have this money now.
I will also need a business account but thought to see what bank the current business owner uses as this may be best??
Also, we have a buyer for our house and in a few months will need to transfer approx. £200,000 to the USA.
Many thanks.
Hi

I understand that you'll have a lot of questions along the way, and there are some very helpful people on this forum so you'll be fine. When you have so many questions try making it easier for those who will help by spending a little time searching on the forums first to see which of your questions have already been answered. Some of them have - the really common ones (e.g. how best to transfer money). Other questions can be quite specific - I couldn't say that we've ever had a 'banking in Asheville' thread before!

The latter is so specific (banking in Asheville and opening from the UK) that you might want to also try Googling banks in Asheville and then e-mailing them to ask how they would handle this. You might even get one of them to bend some rules for you if that is needed.

Lastly, and if all else fails, if you want to take advantage of a particular exchange rate but haven't yet set up accounts in the US then you can open foreign currency accounts in the UK as a last resort. Many banks do this.
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 12:09 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

As a Brit I opened a US account with Bank of America. I did go to the branch I'll be using in person though so I'm not sure if you open one from the UK.
To transfer money I've used HiFx. They give great rates, have no charges and are really fast. You should get a really good rate for $70,000. The last transfer I did was over $300,000 and was complete in under 2 hours! I got 1.63 at the time.
I've been told that larger transfers can get examined and can take longer but I've never experienced this.
Good Luck.
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 12:43 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

I think that there is an option to open an account with Wells Fargo through their London office, but can't remember where I read the details.
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 2:47 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

I successfully opened a Bank of America account online while living in the UK, but I was able to use my brother's US address to do so. You may have the best luck by contacting a credit union in Asheville, explaining your situation, and asking if they will let you open an account with a UK address for now. I say credit union rather than bank because they are usually smaller, more local, and may have more leeway in special circumstances such as yours.
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 2:49 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

Originally Posted by rallybug View Post
I think that there is an option to open an account with Wells Fargo through their London office, but can't remember where I read the details.
I wouldn't recommend Wells Fargo. I had an account with them when I lived in the US prior to moving to the UK. Once I was in the UK they had an extremely difficult time with the concept that someone might actually live outside the US, and were unable to fathom sending me deposit slips or checks. I believe they charged me a fee once for not telling them I had moved, which I had told them several times. I got rid of them as soon as I opened the BOA account.
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 5:07 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

Normally one needs to be able to give a social security number to open a bank account.
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 5:18 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

Any large international bank should be able to help you out, HSBC, Barclays etc, and once you've set up locally and need a branch, you could set another account up with a local bank if you don't have one of the bigger names.

XE.com or hifx.com etc, etc for transferring large sums of money.

Probably worth checking up on local credit unions though as well.
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 5:19 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

Originally Posted by IanR View Post
Normally one needs to be able to give a social security number to open a bank account.
Not by law, they just need to provide something for ID, passport number would suffice. A small bank, or a dill head might not know this though.

Also not relevant to the OP, who mentions having a SSN.
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 5:52 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

As Bob suggests a large bank like HSBC or perhaps Standard & Chartered is well able to handle currency conversion and they are both reasonably user freindly institutions to bank with.
Neither seems to have offices in Ashville though, so that doesn't help with the local bank account need.

Bank of America technically fits though they are not always so user friendly as a local bank. They have a large network throughout the Caolinas (HQ Charlotte). Perhaps chat to their London office and see how user friendly they are.
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 6:33 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

Originally Posted by IanR View Post
Normally one needs to be able to give a social security number to open a bank account.
Personally I never had to give one.
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 6:55 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

Thanks so much for all the replies. It has helped me focus. I spoke to HiFX and will be setting up online with them to transfer some money for business purchase. Far better than Natwest who were clueless and expensive!
Then I will speak to Bank of America and credit unions to see about setting up an account over there, I will also need a business account but one thing at a time!
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 7:56 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

FWIW some banks give decent incentives for new business.

Citibank gives up to 30,000 free AA miles for a new checking account and bank Direct basically gives you AA miles as a sign-up bonus and then AA miles instead of interest every month (which is good considering current interest rates are shite).

Another good place to dump some cash would be Fidelity - when you open a Brokerage Account you can get up to 50,000 miles on AA, United or Delta, or 50,000 AMEX membership rewards points (which often have transfer bonuses into airline programmes, e.g. 50% bonus to BA, 67% bonus to Delta).

I mention these as people regularly post on here about the high costs of trans-atlantic flights, but few leverage the available opportunities to reduce or eliminate these costs. As a new customer with a large chunk of cash in hand there are a number of profitable options open to you that can reduce your transportation spend in the future.
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 8:11 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
FWIW some banks give decent incentives for new business.

Citibank gives up to 30,000 free AA miles for a new checking account and bank Direct basically gives you AA miles as a sign-up bonus and then AA miles instead of interest every month (which is good considering current interest rates are shite).

Another good place to dump some cash would be Fidelity - when you open a Brokerage Account you can get up to 50,000 miles on AA, United or Delta, or 50,000 AMEX membership rewards points (which often have transfer bonuses into airline programmes, e.g. 50% bonus to BA, 67% bonus to Delta).

I mention these as people regularly post on here about the high costs of trans-atlantic flights, but few leverage the available opportunities to reduce or eliminate these costs. As a new customer with a large chunk of cash in hand there are a number of profitable options open to you that can reduce your transportation spend in the future.
This is a really useful point. We will be flying from US to UK at least 4 times a year, so any way to reduce cost is great! Our nearest airport will be Charlotte, NC and only US Airways seem to fly here direct. I also considered getting the US airways credit card!
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Old Jul 28th 2011, 10:11 pm
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Default Re: How to open bank account in USA from UK, US citizen

Originally Posted by jukes View Post
This is a really useful point. We will be flying from US to UK at least 4 times a year, so any way to reduce cost is great! Our nearest airport will be Charlotte, NC and only US Airways seem to fly here direct. I also considered getting the US airways credit card!
Co-branded credit cards, or US credit cards in general require a good US credit history and score - so this option may not be open to you from the outset.

Bear in mind that US Airways is part of Star Alliance, so you could gather miles in any one of their programmes and redeem on US Airways. My Membership Rewards example above for instance - these convert to Air Canada (a member of Star Alliance) and are therefore redeemable on US Airways.

US Airways' programme, in particular, is difficult to gain many miles in from non-flying related promotions (although there has been a 'Grand Slam' promo for the last couple of years, in September, that can be worth reading up about just in case).

Useful links:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/index.php

http://www.webflyer.com/programs/rat...m.php?key=US01

http://thepointsguy.com/2011/06/last...mo-ends-today/

Last edited by tonrob; Jul 28th 2011 at 10:13 pm.
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