How To Open a US Bank Account From India (Without Social Security Number)

Dec 14, 2021
Affiliate disclosure

Many of the world’s leading digital banks and international finance companies, such as the Wise Multi-Currency Account, N26, and Revolut, do not offer their digital bank services in India (at the time of writing this article). This means that Indians are unable to gain access to the international bank details and debit cards that these services provide.

However, other innovative platforms are rising to serve the important US to India corridor and provide financial services to international people. 

In this guide, we will explain the advantages that come with owning a US bank account for non-US residents. Then, we will compare the products and services offered by Aeldra Bank, Zenus Bank, and Zolve to help you assess what’s on the market and detail the options for you to make an informed decision.

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Best US Bank Account for Indian Citizens

Indians can easily open a US dollar-denominated mobile bank account with Aeldra Bank without having to provide an American social security number or US proof of residency.

Aeldra Bank offers US dollar stability, a place to send your US paycheck, and a Mastercard to spend USD in the US and abroad from Indian nationals. Better yet, you can remit money between the two countries without any hidden fees by using Wise.

Jarrod Suda The Golden Gate Bridge from Marin Country San Francisco California

Overview of Opening a US Bank Account From India

Having access to a bank account that operates in the United States offers some very powerful advantages for both Indians who frequent the country, such as business owners or students, and those who never even set foot in the country.

Advantages for Non-US Residents

For Indians who live in India but would like to open a US bank account, there are many benefits to banking globally from the United States:

  • Store US dollars (USD) to hedge against Rupee (INR) inflation;
  • Invest in US stocks, ETFs, and other portfolios;
  • Send money to friends and loved ones living in the US;
  • Spend online and abroad in USD with a debit or credit card.

Advantages for US Residents and Frequent Visitors

In addition to these advantages, Indians who can be physically present in the United States can access even more money-saving and stress-saving services:

How to Open a US Bank Account From India

  • Step 01

    1. Gather Official Documents for Your Account

    Thanks to secure verification technology, digital finance companies can open an account for you with as little as two documents.

    Aledra only requires an Indian passport and an Aadhaar number. Zolve requires a valid US visa in addition to these documents. Zenus Bank requires more documentation: proof of address, taxpayer information, and proof of employment.

  • Step 02

    2. Complete Application Online

    Visit your provider’s website and follow the instructions to open an account. This can take as little as ten minutes. Provide your full name, contact and personal details, and the required documents.

  • Step 03

    3. Confirm Your Identity

    Depending on your provider’s method, you will need to verify your identity by phone or email. Once your provider authenticates your identity and your documents, you should have instant access to your US bank account online from India.

  • Final step

    4. Fund Your US Bank Account From India

    If you will be arriving soon to the United States, you can ease your transition by gaining access to US dollars before you get there.

    While Monito usually recommends Wise or Instarem when transferring money from India to the USA, confidently find the best rates and services for your transfer to your US bank account by using our award-winning comparison engine:

Find the Best Way To Send Money Internationally

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Option 1 — Opening an Aeldra Bank Account in the US From India

Aeldra is an up-and-coming fintech company running out of Silicon Valley and Bangalore that allows Indian citizens to open fully-fledged bank accounts in the United States with just:

  • An Indian passport; and
  • An Aadhaar number.

The application process is completed entirely online and can be done without an American social security number or a US address.

Product Features

Once you're signed up for an Aeldra account, you'll be able to take advantage of the following unique features:

  • No account opening fee and no monthly maintenance fees;
  • Deposit insurance of $250,000 backed by the FDIC;
  • A Mastercard debit card to make payments in USD (available to US residents only);
  • Access to US and global stock investment portfolios.

Aeldra Bank currently offers these services to Indians with US banking needs for employment, educational, or investment purposes. However, the company does intend to expand by offering similar services for bank accounts in Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia in the future¹

Its US-based products are also growing: they will soon offer credit cards and home loans². Aeldra makes very little fee-based income, and instead remains profitable by charging interest payments on funds that are lent out to borrowers.

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Recommendation

An accessible option, we recommend opening an Aeldra Bank account from India for the following types of customers:

  • Customers earning income in the US;
  • Customers wanting to remit money to India;
  • Customers who hope to ease their move to the US;
  • Customers investing in US markets for the long-term;
  • Students and professionals who want to save on foreign transaction fees while in the US.

How to Fund Your US Bank Account From India

Aeldra Bank does not provide an international wire transfer service, relying instead on third-party services to transfer your Rupees and US dollars across borders. Adhering to India’s Liberalized Remittance Scheme, Aeldra allows clients to freely remit up to $2,500,000 per financial year from India into the US account. 

While not an official partner of Wise, Aeldra does recommend this money transfer service to its customers when sending money to and from an Aeldra account.

Compare Wise to other money transfer providers on Monito to save money:

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Option 2 — Open a Bank Account in the US From India Using Zenus Bank

Zenus Bank is a regulated international digital bank that provides customers with access to a US bank account without having to be a US citizen or resident. The application process is open to citizens in 180 countries, including India, and is done entirely online.

To authenticate your identity, Zenus Bank requires four pieces of information from you:

  • Your government-issued passport;
  • Proof of address;
  • A taxpayer document (non-US citizens fill out this form); and
  • Proof of employment.

The Zenus Bank account charges a one-time application fee of $50 and monthly membership fees of $50.

Zenus Bank Review

After signing up with Zenus Bank, you will be able to manage your finances and transfers with US bank details from the Zenus mobile app:

  • No minimum balance required;
  • Complete security with your funds (Zenus does not lend or invest your money out);
  • No charges on ATM withdrawals.

Zenus Bank is a full reserve bank, which means that it never loans out or invests your money. The company instead charges its membership fee schedule to operate. One important caveat, though, is that Zenus Bank is not yet licensed in India to issue virtual or physical debit cards. Its Visa Infinite debit card is only available in select countries, although this list is consistently updated as Zenus Bank continues to expand its services.

Clients who intend to send money to this US account, and not send money out, will likely benefit most from Zenus since incoming payments are all free. Conversely, ACH payments from the account cost $15 and international wires and SWIFT payments cost $25³

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Recommendation

Zenus Bank is a secure option with a conservative banking method, making it ideal for the following customers:

  • Customers seeking to save large sums of money in stable US dollars;
  • Students and professionals who want to save on foreign transaction fees during their stay in the US;
  • Customers in India who hope to ease their transition as they move to the US.

How to Fund Your Zenus Bank Account From India

Zenus does not publish its daily exchange rates, but it will charge an exchange rate margin if you want to send money abroad. In other words, the currency conversion rate they apply will be weaker than the true rate you see on Google, also known as the mid-market rate.

You can reduce and even avoid many of these hidden fees by using money transfer specialists instead. Monito’s award-winning comparison engine is here to help you find the best money transfer services for you to fund your US bank account from India:

Send Money to the US Cheaply

Lerone Pieters on Unsplash New York City skyline at night

Option 3 — Opening a Bank Account in the US From India with Zolve

Zolve is a fintech company directed at Indian citizens with official visas to enter the United States for education or for work. The online application process can be done fully online from India and can be done without an American social security number.

To complete the application, clients must have:

  • An Indian passport;
  • A valid US Visa.

Product Features

The company's main differentiator is the fully-fledged Zolve credit card, which is up and running and comes with no annual fees, a high credit limit, and no foreign transaction fees. A Zolve account also comes with the following services:

  • No account opening fee and no monthly maintenance fees;
  • Build your US credit score;
  • Deposit insurance of $250,000 backed by the FDIC;
  • Calculate your personal US student loan and apply online;
  • Manage your balance, card rewards, and payments with a mobile app.

The Zolve credit card and its US bank account are targeted toward Indians who are entering the United States and will be able to finance expensive costs, such as tuition for education.

While clients will benefit from 0% APR on their credit card payments for the first six months, the APR rate (interest on the money you owe over a year) will rise to 14.99% thereafter.

Monito highly recommends that Zolve clients secure enough money ahead of time to pay back their full credit balance at the end of each month to avoid paying high levels of interest.

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Recommendation

As an issuer of credit cards and student loans, Zolve may best serve the following customers:

  • US Visa holders in India who hope to ease their transition as they move to the US;
  • Students seeking to finance their education who will have the means to pay back their loan;
  • Students and professionals who want to save on foreign transaction fees while in the US;
  • Customers who will not spend more than usual simply because they are given a line of credit.

How to Fund Your Zolve Account From India

Zolve does have its own platform for sending wire transfers, although international outgoing wire transfers cost $25 per transfer and domestic outgoing wires cost $20 per transfer. Zolve also charged $15 per each incoming wire transfer for both domestic and international transfers.

You can avoid many of these costs by using money transfer specialists, which often use a different system altogether to send money abroad. Use Monito’s award-winning comparison engine to find the most efficient money transfer services for you to fund your Zolve account from India today: 

Send Money to the US Cheaply

Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash American flag in the city USA

The Best Options to Open a US Bank Account From India

In this article, we have walked through the advantages and disadvantages of a few international banking platforms for students, international business owners, frequent visitors, and Indians who do not intend to visit the United States. 

Aeldra Bank, Zenus Bank, and Zolve are just three of a growing number of such fintech companies that allow you to apply online for a fully-functioning US bank account. Moreover, these services allow you to manage your US finances online from India with your mobile device. Each company offers specialized services that may fit your needs, depending on your situation.

To get a fuller picture of what it takes to open a US bank account while abroad, read our guide on how to open a US account even without proof of residency.

Frequently Asked Questions About Opening a Bank Account in the United States

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References Used in This Guide

1. Aeldra. About Us. Accessed 13 December 2021.

2. Aeldra. Frequently Asked Questions. Accessed 13 December 2021.

3. Zenus Bank. Charges and Limits. Accessed 13 December 2021.

4. Zolve. Credit Cardholder Agreement. 13 December 2021.

5. Zolve. Deposit Account and Debit Card Agreement. Accessed 13 December 2021.

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