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The 5 Best US Banks for Foreigners and Non-Residents in the USA in 2022

Sep 30, 2022
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If you want access to an American bank account and are a foreigner to the United States, several options exist for you. The traditional big banks have stringent eligibility criteria while online US neobanks generally offer an easier path to access American banking (while still maintaining high-quality bank account services).

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

In this guide, we explore the 5 best US banks for foreigners, non-residents, and immigrants. We walk through IDs you may or may not require to open an account and provide in-depth information on each service so that you can make the best choice for your financial freedom.

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These are our recommendations in short:

  • Foreigners with US residence: Chime gives you a no monthly fee US checking account, debit card, credit card, and credit-builder. It is one of the best neobanks in the USA. | Read the full review.
  • Non-Residents: Wise Account gives you US checking details and a debit card to spend in 50+ currencies, including US dollars, without proof of US residency. | 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 students who show proof of US address and university registration. In these cases, however, online US neobanks offer the same checking services and use mobile technology to add even more value.

Online Banks

Neobanks have disrupted the traditional finance industry because they have created financial platforms that are connected to regulated banks. Two 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.

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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.

Bank-Like 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 bank account number and routing number. Bank-like accounts 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 five US Bank 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 official 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 a 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. 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.

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

1: Best Overall Online Bank Account in the US — Chime

Chime is one of the best overall online banking apps in the United States. Its interface is very easy to use and it makes banking cost-effective and seamless.

For zero monthly fees, you will get a US account number and routing number connected to a debit card that they will ship to your home. You can also open a savings account with Chime to earn 1.5% interest (as of 2022) or get a credit builder card to improve your credit score without actually having to take on debt.

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

2: Best Bank Account For Immigrants in the USA — Majority

Majority has a suite of migrant-friendly features (e.g. international calling, international wire 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 current account for new arrivals and immigrants in the US with residence but without an SSN or ITIN.

3: 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.

4: 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.

5: Best US Bank Account For Non-Residents — Wise Multi-Currency Account

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 way 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: Best overall US banking app with a SSN.
  2. Majority: Best migrant-friendly account for US residents without SSN.
  3. Revolut Business: Best US bank account for US-resident businesses.
  4. Payoneer: Best American business banking for non-residents.
  5. Wise Account: Best USD account for non-residents.

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

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:

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

How To Open a US Bank Account Without an SSN (Remotely)
September 27, 2022 - by Jarrod Suda
UK Bank Account for Non-Residents
September 21, 2022 - by François Briod
How To Open a Bank Account in France for Non-Residents
September 22, 2021 - by Byron Mühlberg
Best US Neobanks
September 16, 2022 - by Olivia Willemin
How to Call the UK from the US (for free) in 2022
September 16, 2022 - by Jarrod Suda
Can I Open a Free Online Bank Account Without an ID?
September 27, 2022 - by Jarrod Suda
Banks That Accept ITIN (and Open an Account Online)
September 30, 2022 - by Jarrod Suda
These Are the Easiest Bank Accounts To Open Online in the US
September 30, 2022 - by Byron Mühlberg
Open an American Bank Account Online
September 30, 2022 - by François Briod
The 4 Best Bank Accounts for International Students
September 29, 2022 - by Jarrod Suda
4 Ways Undocumented Immigrants Can Open Bank Accounts
September 27, 2022 - by Jarrod Suda

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