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Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

Old Jul 7th 2016, 7:42 am
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Default Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

Hi,

Anyone know if it's possible to do this ?

The reason I ask is my wife will be starting her new role in the US at the start of September (and so will obviously will be paid in $ by the US Business); however we wont move out there until October and she'll work from the UK office as well as travelling to other (non US) sites during that month.

Wondering if this is possible (I suspect not!) or if we need to push back to the US business to work out how they would make this work?

We may go over to the US in the next month or so on a "fact finding" mission, so could we do it then even though we'd be "holidaymakers"? I've seen mention of basic Wells Fargo accounts without a Social Security number but would be surprised if we could just walk into a bank in SF and open an account?

Thanks in advance, and I'm sure I'll be back with more questions before October !
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Old Jul 7th 2016, 10:42 am
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Default Re: Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

People here on BE have reported doing exactly what you're trying to do, notably with Wells Fargo. You would need your passports, proof of address (utility bills, driving licence - bring both if you have them).

The only regulatory requirements to open an account in the US are proof of: name, address, date of birth, and "a government issued ID number" (passport number suffices).

I would also take the contract/ offer letter from your wife's employer, or request a letter of introduction from her employer.

Be prepared to ask for a supervisor if the first employee you speak to declines to help you open an account.
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Old Jul 7th 2016, 11:20 am
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Default Re: Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

Thanks !
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Old Jul 8th 2016, 12:07 am
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Default Re: Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

Chase happily did the same for us as a walk-in, using passports and hubby's job offer letter. We didn't have a US address at the time (still in a temp hotel) but they let us use hubby's company as a starter address, and change it later.
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Old Jul 8th 2016, 2:55 am
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Default Re: Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

Originally Posted by Knottyboro View Post
Hi,

Anyone know if it's possible to do this ?

The reason I ask is my wife will be starting her new role in the US at the start of September (and so will obviously will be paid in $ by the US Business); however we wont move out there until October and she'll work from the UK office as well as travelling to other (non US) sites during that month.

Wondering if this is possible (I suspect not!) or if we need to push back to the US business to work out how they would make this work?

We may go over to the US in the next month or so on a "fact finding" mission, so could we do it then even though we'd be "holidaymakers"? I've seen mention of basic Wells Fargo accounts without a Social Security number but would be surprised if we could just walk into a bank in SF and open an account?

Thanks in advance, and I'm sure I'll be back with more questions before October !
Yes, you can do it on your factfinding advance trip.
I know that Wells Fargo require proof of address - which can be a non-US one like a utility bill or tax bill - and 2 forms of government ID. Your UK passport and driving license are both fine for this. (these are federal requirements so should apply to all banks)

Once the account has been opened you should ask to change the address to a local one - this could be a PO BOx or your wife's work address or a US friend's address. They will be sending out permanent checks and debit cards and you don't want those to go astray. You can also ask for temporary checks and debit card to use in the meantime.

You do not need a social security number since you are not applying for credit products - (credit cards/loans). If you are asked for SSN then just ask why and probably ask to speak to their supervisor.

Opening the account should take no more than 30 minutes and if you get any hassle then even going to a different branch of the same bank makes a difference.
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Old Jul 8th 2016, 3:14 am
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Default Re: Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
.....You do not need a social security number since you are not applying for credit products - (credit cards/loans). If you are asked for SSN then just ask why ....
Or interest-earning deposits - they also require an SSN (or TIN), so the interest can be reported to the IRS.
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Old Jul 8th 2016, 3:15 am
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Default Re: Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Or interest-earning deposits - they also require an SSN (or TIN), so the interest can be reported to the IRS.
is anybody getting interest these days?????

I'm thinking about redoing the mortgage and we had a really good rate but it looks like it can go lower.
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Old Jul 8th 2016, 3:21 am
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Default Re: Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
is anybody getting interest these days????? .....
I usually get 1¢/mth on my interest-bearing checking account! ..... I was moving some money between accounts last month and had $20k sitting in the account over one weekend. I got 4¢ interest at the end of the month!
..... I'm thinking about redoing the mortgage and we had a really good rate but it looks like it can go lower.
Maybe, but not much as the mortgage rate is a fairly constant margin over the yield on 10 year Treasury bonds, and there isn't much lower for them to go. That said rates ain't going up any time soon, so there is no particular need to rush to refinance.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jul 8th 2016 at 3:25 am.
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Old Jul 8th 2016, 7:10 am
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Default Re: Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

I opened an account with Bank of America using my Aunts address (until my property purchase was finalised), my passport and uk driving licence. I gave them my U.K. Address and deposited $100. Easy!
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Old Jul 8th 2016, 7:37 am
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Default Re: Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

Thanks all, one less thing to worry about !
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Old Jul 8th 2016, 2:11 pm
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Default Re: Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
is anybody getting interest these days?????

I'm thinking about redoing the mortgage and we had a really good rate but it looks like it can go lower.
Our checking is currently with Chase, and their interest rates are close to non-existent, even on savings. We're thinking of changing, probably to Capital One, though that's just as much to reduce the average daily balance required to avoid fees than to get more interest.

Most of our cash reserves are in two places, though: firstly, an online savings account with Goldman Sachs (!) who recently bought GECapital Bank, currently paying 1.05%; secondly, a 5-year Certificate of Deposit with Barclays US, which pays 2.25% (though they now only offer 1.75%). When I looked into it, the extra interest meant that it was probably worthwhile sticking it in the longest-term CD despite there being an early withdrawal penalty.
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Old Jul 20th 2016, 6:51 pm
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Default Re: Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

I opened a Wells Fargo Bank account with my Green card, and a social security number. I didn't have any proof of address, I explained I'd only just immigrated and they were fine with that. I did need a US phone number, but I had got a Tracfone pay as you go account set up for that. The staff were so nice and the service was great. I really recommend them.
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Old Jul 20th 2016, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: Opening bank accounts in the US from UK

Originally Posted by Owen778 View Post
Our checking is currently with Chase, and their interest rates are close to non-existent, even on savings. We're thinking of changing, probably to Capital One, though that's just as much to reduce the average daily balance required to avoid fees than to get more interest.

Most of our cash reserves are in two places, though: firstly, an online savings account with Goldman Sachs (!) who recently bought GECapital Bank, currently paying 1.05%; secondly, a 5-year Certificate of Deposit with Barclays US, which pays 2.25% (though they now only offer 1.75%). When I looked into it, the extra interest meant that it was probably worthwhile sticking it in the longest-term CD despite there being an early withdrawal penalty.
Barclays early withdrawal terms are relatively good. depositaccounts.com is a good site to check out CD and savings rates.
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