Monito.com

The 6 Best US Banks for Foreigners and Non-Residents in the USA in 2023

Jarrod Suda

Guide

Byron Mühlberg

Reviewer

Jan 25, 2024
Advertiser disclosure

If you want access to an American bank account and are a foreigner to the United States, several options exist for you. Traditional big banks tend to have stringent in-person sign-up processes while online US neobanks generally offer an easier path to access American checking accounts (while still maintaining high-quality bank account services).

In addition to these two groups, online business banks accounts offer opportunities to foreign entrepreneurs and small business owners. Finally, bank-like alternatives offer the most limited services, but also have the most accessible eligibility requirements.

In this guide, we explore Chime® and 5 other best US banks for foreigners, non-residents, and immigrants. We walk through the requirements to open an account and provide in-depth information on each service so that you can make the best choice for your financial freedom.

recommendation icon

Chime gives you a no-monthly-fee¹ US checking account (ideal for receiving your USD salary) and free domestic ACH transfers. Chime is also a great option for spending in a foreign currency as it charges no foreign exchange fees. However, you need an SSN to apply. | Read the full review.

Can I Open a US Bank Account as a Foreigner?

To decide whether you can open a US bank account as a foreigner or non-resident in the United States, you must first assess your eligibility status.

Big Traditional Banks

While foreigners and non-residents are legally not allowed to obtain Social Security numbers, foreigners may apply for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). If you are eligible (i.e., you are a foreigner with ownership in a US company, are eligible to pay taxes, or are eligible to receive government benefits), then many big traditional banks will accept your ITIN and open an account for you.

If you are a student or hold a temporary resident visa, then you may not be eligible for an ITIN. Big banks do still offer checking accounts for international students who show proof of US address and university registration. In these cases, however, online US neobanks offer the same checking account services and use mobile technology to add even more value.

Learn more about if you can open a bank account in the USA as a foreigner.

Online Banks

Neobanks have disrupted the traditional finance industry because they have created financial platforms that are connected to regulated banks. Two online US neobanks that we detail in this guide even provide access to American banking to US residents without SSNs or ITINs.

Business Bank Accounts

If you do not have proof of US residency, then you will be limited in your options. However, you may hold a business bank account if you are a foreigner who manages or owns an American-established company. You must present your company's employer identification number (EIN) to open a business bank account.

Business owners of US-based companies are not required to be US residents, which is why entrepreneurship offers a solid avenue to accessing American banking as a foreigner or non-resident. Read our guide on single-member limited liability companies (SMLLC) to see if establishing one is right for you.

info icon

Business owners of US-based companies are not required to be US residents, which is why entrepreneurship offers a solid avenue to accessing American banking as a foreigner or non-resident. Read our guide on single-member limited liability companies (SMLLC) to see if establishing one is right for you.

Fintech Checking Accounts

Otherwise, non-taxpaying non-residents of the United States must revert to bank-like electronic money accounts like Wise. While these products do not issue credit cards or loans, you will still be able to access your own US checking account number and routing number. The fintech platforms even have mobile wallet, direct deposit, and international money transfer capabilities.

In this guide below, we walk through some traditional banks. Then we provide our recommended list of the best six US checking accounts for foreigners and non-residents in the USA:

US Big Banks

Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash Chase Bank in New York City

The most obvious way to open a US bank account is with a big-name American bank. However, this method requires that you have an official US government-issued ID, proof of US residence, and an SSN or an ITIN. If you do not have an ITIN, the bank representative will ask you to request one from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Undocumented immigrants are legally allowed to receive ITINs.

Are There Banks That Don't Need an ID to Open an Account?

No, there are no banks in the United States that open bank accounts to clients without a form of government identification.

Foreigners earning income in the United States, even if they are undocumented, are legally allowed to obtain an ITIN from the IRS. To obtain an ITIN, apply through the IRS's website.

How Do I Open a US Bank Account Without an ID?

It is impossible to open a US bank account without form of identification. However, if you cannot or do not want to open a US bank account with an ITIN, then you may try to use an alternative ID. You will still very likely need to provide proof of status, such as enrollment in US higher education as a student or proof of US employment authorization.

 Examples of potentially eligible IDs include:

  • a foreign passport with or without a visa,
  • U.S. non-immigrant visa and border crossing card,
  • Consular ID from your home country,
  • Canadian citizenship certificate card;
  • U.S. Employment Authorization Card with photo;
  • Matricula Consular Card.

Even with a non-US identification card, you will need to provide proof of US address. Examples include:

  • Employer's paycheck;
  • Government-issued letter with name and address;
  • Utility bills dated 60 days or less.

This option requires that you go into your local branch and speak with a representative to verify your identity and open a bank account. While not guaranteed, banks that may accept alternative IDs include:

  • Bank of America,
  • Chase,
  • TD Bank,
  • US Bank,
  • Wells Fargo.
info icon

For more information on how to virtually open a US bank account online without a social security number, read our dedicated in-depth guide.

Best Mobile Banking App With SSN: Chime®

Chime is one of the best overall mobile banking apps and debit cards in the United States. Its interface is straightforward, making managing your online financiers cost-effective and seamless.

With Chime, you get a US account number and routing number connected to a debit card that Chime will ship to your home for no monthly fees¹. You can also open the optional Chime (High Yield) Savings ("HYS") Account to get 2.00% APY³ (as of January 2024) as well as the Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card, a secured credit card with no annual fees, to improve your credit score quickly and easily⁴.

info icon

The secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your card for its issuing bank.

Chime's sign-up process is fast and easy if you have a social security number.

info icon

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

Best Checking Account for Immigrants in the USA: Majority

Majority has a suite of migrant-friendly features (e.g., international calling, international money transfers, exclusive deals, etc.) combined with low fees all around. Called the "All-In-One Mobile Banking for Migrants", Majority is a well-suited online checking account for new arrivals and immigrants in the US with proof of US address.

One reason why we highly recommend Majority is because you can open an account without an SSN or ITIN. Just take note that “Know Your Customer” (KYC) laws require Majority to verify your identity. If you use fraudulent ID cards or social security numbers associated with multiple dates of birth, your application will be rejected. Also refrain from using Voice over IP (VoIP) phone numbers, which are assigned to a user but not to a physical location.

Opening an account with Majority remains a very accessible option. Don’t hesitate to use your passport, government-issued identification card, or government-issued driver’s license. These forms of ID will work, even if you don’t have an American Social Security Number or ITIN.

Best No-SSN Account for Foreigners in the US: Revolut

Revolut has a wide range of financial services among the new financial technology platforms in the US. Importantly for foreigners, a Revolut account provides local account details to make domestic money transfers and receive USD payments from employers.

Although Revolut isn't a bank in the UK, its checking accounts hold money with a partner FDIC-insured bank, Metropolitan Commercial Bank. US-based customers can also access British pound account features. Revolut offers internationally-focused options like currency exchange of up to $1,000 per month on weekdays with no additional Revolut fees, though fair use limits and third-party fees may still apply on weekends or for remittances. Holding foreign currency balances for travel is also available.

Valid documentation is needed to verify identity, including state IDs, US visas, and employment authorization.

Best US Business Bank Account For Foreign Owners: Revolut Business

Revolut Business is a London-based fintech company that empowers not only retail customers around the world, but companies and entrepreneurs too. If you open an account with them, you will get access to local bank account details in both British pounds and US dollars, allowing you to spend and get paid like either a British or American local.

You must reside in the United States and your business must have a physical presence in the United States to be eligible for a Revolut business bank account.

Best US Bank Details For Global Business: Payoneer

Payoneer is one of the world's leading financial platforms for SMEs and entrepreneurs around the world. You can get paid in up to 11 different currencies, including USD, and can hold those USD funds for as long as you'd like. Their Mastercard gives you access to your USD revenues, or you can choose to transfer your USD holdings into your home currency when you are ready.

No SSN, ITIN, or US residency is required to register for Payoneer, plus it is free to sign up. You will only be subject to a $29.95 annual fee if your account is inactive for over 12 months.

Best US Bank Account For Non-Residents: Wise

Wise isn't a bank in the US but an electronic money institution that offers a Multi-Currency Account: a low-cost foreign currency spending account and a Visa debit card

This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to open a US bank account as a non-resident, regardless of whether you want to hold money in US dollars, spend money on holidays in the US, shop online, or receive earnings from an American employer.

Recap: Best US Bank Accounts for Foreigners and Non-Residents

  1. Chime: Great mobile banking app and debit card with SSN
  2. Majority: Migrant-friendly account for US residents without SSN
  3. Revolut: Best US checking account for foreigners in the US
  4. Revolut Business: Good US bank account for US-resident businesses
  5. Payoneer: Good American business banking for non-residents
  6. Wise Account: Good USD account for non-residents

Frequently Asked Questions About Opening a US Banks For a Non-Resident

Disclaimers

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

¹ Out-of-network ATM withdrawal and over-the-counter advance fees may apply. See here for details.

² To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

³ The Annual Percentage Yield ("APY") for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change anytime. The disclosed APY is effective as of September 20, 2023. No minimum balance is required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

⁴ On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Results may vary.

⁵ SpotMe® on Credit is an optional, no-interest/no-fee overdraft line of credit tied to the Secured Deposit Account available to qualifying members with an active Chime Credit Builder Account. SpotMe on Debit is an optional, no-fee overdraft service attached to the Chime Checking Account available to qualifying members after Visa debit card activation. Both SpotMe on Credit and SpotMe on Debit are sometimes collectively referred to as "SpotMe" or, if you have signed up to use SpotMe with only one account, "SpotMe" means the elected service. To qualify for SpotMe, you must receive $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to your Chime Checking Account monthly. Qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their Chime Checking Account and/or Secured Deposit Account (associated with your Chime Credit Builder credit card) up to $20 but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on Chime account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. The SpotMe limit will be displayed within the Chime mobile app and is subject to change at any time, at Chime’s sole discretion. Although Chime does not charge any overdraft fees for SpotMe, there may be out-of-network or third-party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe Debit Terms and Conditions and SpotMe on Credit Terms and Conditions.

Why You Can Trust Monito

Our recommendations are built on rock-solid experience.

  • We've reviewed 70+ digital finance apps and online banks
  • We've made 100's of card transactions
  • Our writers have been testing providers since 2013
Learn more about us

Non-Resident Bank Accounts in the US vs Other Countries

Many countries allow non-residents to open a bank account within their legal jurisdictions, but exactly what kind of requirements non-residents face can differ drastically from country to country and even bank to bank. See the list below to get a better idea of this:

Country

Which non-residents can open an account?

🇬🇧 United Kingdom

Parties with close ties, expats, immigrants, investors, students

🇮🇪 Ireland

Any interested party

🇩🇪 Germany

Parties with close ties

🇫🇷 France

Parties with close ties, investors, students

🇮🇹 Italy

Parties with close ties, Investors

🇨🇭 Switzerland

Investors only

🇪🇸 Spain

Parties with close ties, investors, students

🇵🇹 Portugal

Parties with close ties, investors, expats, students

🇳🇱 Netherlands

Parties with close ties, investors

🇩🇰 Denmark

Parties with close ties, investors

🇳🇴 Norway

Parties with close ties, investors

🇸🇪 Sweden

Parties with close ties, investors

🇦🇹 Austria

Parties with close ties, investors

🇬🇷 Greece

Parties with close ties, investors

🇭🇺 Hungary

Any interested party

🇱🇺 Luxembourg

Parties with close ties, investors

🇱🇮 Liechtenstein

Investors only

🇬🇮 Gibraltar

Investors only

🇮🇲 Isle of Man

Parties with close ties, investors, expats

🇯🇪 Jersey

Parties with close ties, investors, expats

🇨🇾 Cyprus

Any interested party

Last updated: 23/2/2022

Life Abroad Guides & Online International Banks Tips For Non-Residents/Foreigners

Would you Like to Recharge a Phone Abroad? 📲

Check all countries to top-up.

Why Trust Monito?

You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.

Learn More About Monito
  • Monito is trusted by 15+ million users across the globe.

  • Monito's experts spend hours researching and testing services so that you don't have to.

  • Our recommendations are always unbiased and independent.

Monito.com

Global Impact Finance Ltd
Rue du Pont 22
1003 Lausanne
Switzerland

Affiliate Disclosure
Instead of banner ads and paywalls, Monito makes money through affiliate links to the various payment service providers featured on our website. While we work hard to scout the market for the best deals, we're unable to consider every possible product available to you. Our extensive range of trusted affiliate partners enables us to make detailed, unbiased, and solution-driven recommendations for all types of consumer questions and problems. This allows us to match our users with the right providers to suit their needs and, in doing so, match our providers with new customers, creating a win-win for everybody involved. However, while some links on Monito may indeed earn us a commission, this fact never impacts the independence and integrity of our opinions, recommendations, and evaluations.