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Opening a US bank account

Opening a US bank account

Old Dec 21st 2015, 10:39 am
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Default Opening a US bank account

I'm moving to California in a week and thought I was being very well prepare in asking my current uk bank (HSBC) to open a US checking account for me well in advance of us travelling

What sounds like a simple task has been a farce black adder would be proud of!

If I tell HSBC to stick it and opt to walk into the nearest BOA branch when I arrive in California is it a very simple task to open an account there and then?
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Old Dec 21st 2015, 11:08 am
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Yes.

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Old Dec 21st 2015, 1:18 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Yes, we walked into Chase the morning after we arrived with our passports and copy of our rental lease as proof of address and walked out 40 minutes later with a checking account, temporary checks and debit cards. We went back around 2 weeks later once we had SSN cards to update the accounts and open a savings account.

As an FYI, I've banked with HSBC (and Midland before that) for over 30 years. I opened a U.S. account before we left, but haven't used it once and can't see that I'll need to. I do use my UK account when buying from UK websites though.

Last edited by loubiblu; Dec 21st 2015 at 1:22 pm. Reason: Add info
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Old Dec 21st 2015, 7:22 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Yes, it's pretty straightforward. We had no issues obtaining a mortgage with BoA on arrival and opening a bank account with them, even with no SSN.
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Old Dec 21st 2015, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Thanks for your replies. Reassuring that it's straightforward, despite HSBC's best efforts
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Old Dec 21st 2015, 7:48 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Don't just go for the big names. Look at some of the smaller community banks and credit unions near where you will be. They often offer better service and can be more flexible.
You can research here: https://www.depositaccounts.com/ or Bankrate.com - Compare mortgage, refinance, insurance, CD rates
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Old Dec 21st 2015, 8:01 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Wells Fargo has an extensive presence in California, and has been praised here on BE as being very accommodating to new immigrants. I have banked with them since I left New York a number of years ago, ironically after telling HSBC in New York to close my account.
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Old Dec 21st 2015, 10:28 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Originally Posted by NatashaB View Post
Yes, it's pretty straightforward. We had no issues obtaining a mortgage with BoA on arrival and opening a bank account with them, even with no SSN.
Acct opening is fairly easy. A mortgage without SSN not likely.
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Old Dec 21st 2015, 10:31 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

I just want a checking account so I can get paid as a first step ...
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Old Dec 21st 2015, 10:58 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Markg5150. I recently updated the information in the wiki. It is very straightforward.

Category:Banking-USA : British Expat Wiki
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Old Dec 21st 2015, 11:24 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Originally Posted by Markg5150 View Post
I just want a checking account so I can get paid as a first step ...
No SSN is required for a non-interest earning account, but a "government issued ID number" is required. A passport number is sufficient, a driving licence number is also acceptable.
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Old Dec 21st 2015, 11:31 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Wells fargo:
passport and proof of address which may be out of country to open the account. Then change to a PO box if you need to once account is opened. No SSN required until you start needing any credit products further down the line.
https://www.wellsfargo.com/checking/at-work/
no fees if you are direct depositing your salary of at least $1k a month.

You should be able to open the account and walk out with a temporary debit card and checks within 30 minutes.....
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Old Dec 22nd 2015, 7:00 am
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
Markg5150. I recently updated the information in the wiki. It is very straightforward.

Category:Banking-USA : British Expat Wiki
Very useful, thanks
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Old Dec 28th 2015, 1:51 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

I was looking into this some months ago and was led to believe - as others have said it was easy to set up a bank account as long as you were present in the USA at the time and had the right documents. In my case I was looking at opening a bank account in Central Florida

However (and I am trying to dig out the details on this) some people had issues to do with the way their UK address was entered on the banks system and it caused delays when certain items needed to be posted to the UK.

I wish I had book marked it!

UPDATE: Here is a URL which contains comments about address formats (go down to the one that is dated 1 Aug 14, 10:43 PM). Note if your address is to be in the USA then this probably doesn't apply. I hope this post is allowed under forum rules - just trying to help!

http://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/arch.../t-812199.html

Last edited by BerkshireBugsy; Dec 28th 2015 at 2:01 pm. Reason: Supplied more info
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Old Dec 28th 2015, 4:06 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Surprisingly hsbc came through at the last minute and confirmed the account has been opened! Debit cards etc to arrive shortly to our us address.

Very shoddy service from hsbc mainly caused by a lack of training of in uk branch personnel who have to check and copy documents. Putting stuff in envelopes is a little too difficult for some ...
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