British Expats

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-   -   Recommended bank accounts (https://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/recommended-bank-accounts-890302/)

LouisB Jan 18th 2017 4:05 pm

Recommended bank accounts
 
Seems to me the main banks are:

Citi
JP Morgan
HSBC

Ideally I'd like to get it setup while still in UK. HSBC and Citi have branches in U.K.

What do you need, do you need a US social security ID? When do you get that, at end of VISA application?

Looking for best bank for current account banking with coverage in NY area. Low fees would be good too.

Any recommendations please?

Noorah101 Jan 18th 2017 4:14 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 
You do not need a SS number to open a non-interest-bearing bank account in the USA.

You can't get a SSN or card until after you're in the USA. What visa are you getting? Only an immigrant visa gives you a chance to tick a box for ordering a SSN ahead of time, but you still won't get it until some time after you arrive in the USA.

Rene

LouisB Jan 18th 2017 4:31 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 

Originally Posted by Noorah101 (Post 12155057)
You do not need a SS number to open a non-interest-bearing bank account in the USA.

You can't get a SSN or card until after you're in the USA. What visa are you getting? Only an immigrant visa gives you a chance to tick a box for ordering a SSN ahead of time, but you still won't get it until some time after you arrive in the USA.

Rene

Interesting, thanks!

Should be E2, tbc shortly, so then from what you say I won't have one anyway. Ok not a problem.

H Bomb Jan 18th 2017 4:42 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 
If you happen to be HSBC Premier in the UK I would say go with HSBC - makes everything very easy and they give you a US credit card straight away! We had everything set up a month before we left the UK.

LouisB Jan 18th 2017 4:44 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 

Originally Posted by H Bomb (Post 12155088)
If you happen to be HSBC Premier in the UK I would say go with HSBC - makes everything very easy and they give you a US credit card straight away! We had everything set up a month before we left the UK.

Unfortunately not. Barclays premier but they have no retail branches in the US

ubernathan Jan 18th 2017 4:46 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 
FWIW before the move here I happened to have a citibank account. Citibank UK and citibank US are completely separate entities and there's no advantage gained from having a UK account. (we went with converting the HSBC account we also had to Premier status and leveraging that)

LouisB Jan 18th 2017 4:50 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 

Originally Posted by ubernathan (Post 12155094)
FWIW before the move here I happened to have a citibank account. Citibank UK and citibank US are completely separate entities and there's no advantage gained from having a UK account. (we went with converting the HSBC account we also had to Premier status and leveraging that)

I just rang citi uk and they just put me through to US.

I think I'll ring HSBC, if I don't need / won't have SS ID then maybe I can go ahead now I received official job offer paperwork :)

Owen778 Jan 18th 2017 5:13 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 
It isn't recommended to try to set up a US bank account from the UK. Setting up a US bank account once you arrive is pretty easy, as long as you don't get someone in the branch who insists you need a social security number. If this happens, ask to talk to the manager and explain that your passport number can be used instead. And if that doesn't help, go to a different branch.

Some of the possible major banks, including those you list:
- HSBC in the US is generally considered very poor
- Barclays now has a US online banking presence (I have a CD - certificate of deposit - with them), but no branches
- Citi has an OK reputation, though not that good
- Wells Fargo are often recommended here, but many Americans are upset by their recent major fraud, with branch bankers setting up extra accounts for customers without their knowledge in order to gain bonuses
- Chase (they use this name for US retail banking, not JP Morgan) is where we bank. They are large and efficient, but not great value. We keep our savings elsewhere to get a decent interest rate.
- Capital One seem to be well respected, and give better interest rates than the major "national" or international banks. We have our kids' accounts there.
- There are other regional or multi-regional banks that seem well respected.

This is probably the biggest current customer satisfaction survey for US banking.
2016 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study | J.D. Power

Scroll down to the Mid-Atlantic graph for New York. Some of those banks are relatively small. Chase is the highest ranking major bank there, but PNC, Capital One, TD Bank, and possibly Sun Trust are still pretty large.

Owen778 Jan 18th 2017 5:14 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 

Originally Posted by LouisB (Post 12155099)
I just rang citi uk and they just put me through to US.

I think I'll ring HSBC, if I don't need / won't have SS ID then maybe I can go ahead now I received official job offer paperwork :)

Really, don't do that.

Pulaski Jan 18th 2017 5:26 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 
(i) HSBC is not a major bank in the US, they have very few branches and seem to have a poor reputation. I closed my HSBC accounts soon after I left NY.

(ii) Citi is also retrenching, a lot, and has sold off much of its branch network and related customer accounts. .... When a branch is sold, the customer accounts usually go to the new owner with the bricks and mortar.

(iii) Wells Fargo has a very extensive branch network, and is much larger than Citi in the US. They have been more than satisfactory for me, but I will get pounced on here on BE if I try to recommend them,as they had some "issues" for which they were fined. I suspect that they will be super-cautious now, though a bit belatedly, to avoid further trouble.

tom169 Jan 18th 2017 5:37 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 
Wells Fargo Bank have been no issue with me. I walked into the branch a few hours after landing (literally) and walked out with a debit card.

I visited them again a few weeks later when I had my SSN.

I have the bulk of my money elsewhere though for investments and money market. I only use Wells Fargo for checking.

Pulaski Jan 18th 2017 5:41 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 

Originally Posted by Owen778 (Post 12155128)
..... Some of the possible major banks, including those you list:
- HSBC in the US is generally considered very poor ....

Agreed

- Wells Fargo are often recommended here, but many Americans are upset by their recent major fraud, with branch bankers setting up extra accounts for customers without their knowledge in order to gain bonuses. ....
That was a weird one - it seems to have been a fraud that was "large" in aggregate, but appears to have been primarily a fraud by low paid employees against the bank , to get bonuses. Some customers were caught up as collateral damage - may have been charged fees, including overdraft fees that they shouldn't have been - but from what I read in the media, it wasn't a matter of customer accounts being looted.

Prior to the recent problems, Wells Fargo was frequently recommended here on BE as being accommodating to expats and new immigrants.

....Scroll down to the Mid-Atlantic graph for New York. Some of those banks are relatively small. Chase is the highest ranking major bank there, but PNC, Capital One, TD Bank, and possibly Sun Trust are still pretty large.
It's interesting how "flat" the numbers are - just a very few percent cover the top 20 banks in each region.

loubiblu Jan 18th 2017 5:46 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 
We're HSBC Premier customers in the UK and set up a US account before we left. Walked into Chase the day after we landed with passports and copy of our residential lease. 40 minutes later we left with debit cards and temporary cheques. We have used the HSBC account a total of 1 time. HSBC stuff has sat in a file ever since.

Owen778 Jan 18th 2017 5:51 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 

Originally Posted by Pulaski (Post 12155152)
Agreed
That was a weird one - it seems to have been a fraud that was "large" in aggregate, but appears to have been primarily a fraud by low paid employees against the bank , to get bonuses. Some customers were caught up as collateral damage - may have been charged fees, including overdraft fees that they shouldn't have been - but from what I read in the media, it wasn't a matter of customer accounts being looted.

Yes, I agree. But there are a lot of very upset customers out there, and it reeks of a really dangerous corporate culture.

It's interesting how "flat" the numbers are - just a very few percent cover the top 20 banks in each region.
True. I suspect there's a lot of "quite satisfied" customers with every bank, and the size of the "very unsatisfied" minority is the major control on scores for many.

That said, it's interesting how much variation there is between regions. Bank of America comes out worst in Texas, yet that score of 790 actually equals the average score in Mid-Atlantic.

LouisB Jan 18th 2017 5:59 pm

Re: Recommended bank accounts
 

Originally Posted by Owen778 (Post 12155128)
It isn't recommended to try to set up a US bank account from the UK. Setting up a US bank account once you arrive is pretty easy, as long as you don't get someone in the branch who insists you need a social security number. If this happens, ask to talk to the manager and explain that your passport number can be used instead. And if that doesn't help, go to a different branch.

Some of the possible major banks, including those you list:
- HSBC in the US is generally considered very poor
- Barclays now has a US online banking presence (I have a CD - certificate of deposit - with them), but no branches
- Citi has an OK reputation, though not that good
- Wells Fargo are often recommended here, but many Americans are upset by their recent major fraud, with branch bankers setting up extra accounts for customers without their knowledge in order to gain bonuses
- Chase (they use this name for US retail banking, not JP Morgan) is where we bank. They are large and efficient, but not great value. We keep our savings elsewhere to get a decent interest rate.
- Capital One seem to be well respected, and give better interest rates than the major "national" or international banks. We have our kids' accounts there.
- There are other regional or multi-regional banks that seem well respected.

This is probably the biggest current customer satisfaction survey for US banking.
2016 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study | J.D. Power

Scroll down to the Mid-Atlantic graph for New York. Some of those banks are relatively small. Chase is the highest ranking major bank there, but PNC, Capital One, TD Bank, and possibly Sun Trust are still pretty large.

Hi Owen, that's great thanks so much for this.

After speaking with HSBC today I believe you're right, I should do it when I arrive.

Regarding small banks like capital one, that's an online bank? If so and you open accounts online what is to stop that from abroad? Dumb question probably. Do they have branches for opening accounts in person?

Interesting about Barclays. I do have a uk foreign currency $ account but don't believe it would be suitable as a regular current account in the US for salary and day to day living.


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