US Bank account opening kits

If you look around on the net, you will find TONS of sites offering "US Bank account opening kits", usually in the form of ebooks which are 90% of the time out of date.

The reason is because most of them are simply send you to eTrade Financial in order to open a brokerage account. This used to be a good choice a few months ago however E*Trade did not open accounts for non US residents anymore.

E*Trade are a brokerage company and they want clients who are serious about buying and selling stocks and options. They are happy to help clients who use these features because this is where E*Trade makes their money but they most definitely do not want to see people opening trading accounts and never using them to conduct any trades.

E*Trade also are no longer letting people fund their account with cheques that come from businesses (such as Clickbank) and the websites that claim that this is possible have not been updated.

Another disadvantage with E*Trade is that to apply for a Visa Debit card you must deposit a minimum of $1,000 which is often above the budget of most people.

HSBC do provide customers in many countries with $US account but not from a US branch. This means that whilst you can send and receive money in $US you cannot connect the account with most internet service providers like PayPal, 2Checkout etc. You will also not be able to cash a $US quickly as it can take many weeks to go through the US clearing system.

HSBC suggested that it may be possible to contact a US branch of HSBC and ask if they can contact HSBC in your home country to make an application however unless you have a long history with HSBC and can show them that you will be using the account significantly it is unlikely your application will be approved.

Bank of America are happy to provide US Bank accounts however you have to physically go to a branch in America to apply. They have an online application process but if you don't have a social security number and US drivers licence you are unable to complete it.

Wells Fargo will very reluctantly allow non-Americans to open an account with them if you are prepared to jump through a lot of hoops. You'll have forms to complete and you need to provide 2 bank references, statements for the last 6 months and notarized documents. I looked into this but seeing as it costs me $50 for each notarized document I decided that the cost to apply to this free account would be over $100!


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