Whilst applying and getting your US visa may take a while and involve lots of paperwork, opening a US bank account and transferring money to it should be a lot quicker and much straighter forward. Whilst the majority of Banks will insist on potential customers being president in the US branch many larger international banks such as HSBC will accept potential customers visiting a local branch to verify account applications. Allowing you to then transfer money to the US before your departure once the account is activated.
Whilst bank regulation and criteria in the US is constantly subject to change as it stands the US is one of the easiest places for non-residents to open a bank account. The bad news is that only a select few banks have the appetite to open non-resident accounts and therefore provider choice can be slightly limited. Another drawback is that the banks’ requirements to open an account can change from state to state, making it hard to predict the documents you might require.
Many of the large US banks don’t even service this area of the market however a handful such as and Bank of America will allow you to apply online. Whilst you may struggle if you haven’t obtained a social security number or US address this process can be helpful for Americans that are looking to open a new account and return home.
As previously mentioned, account opening information can change from bank to bank and state to state. We can, however, provide a rough guide which includes the following elements:
The bank could request further document subject to your status or the banks you are applying to. These could include some or all of the following:
Whilst a handful of banks might work with you remotely in order to get your account approved, you should be prepared to hop on a plane if needed. Regrettably whilst the world moves on in terms of technology and less antiquated client services the banking sector still remains a face to face business and although technically possible to open an account remotely be prepared to travel.
Once you have confirmation that your US bank account is open you will need to transfer money to the US in order to credit your account. Excellent news, this will take far less time with the average FX or international payments specialist’s taking 5-10 minutes to process and just a few hours to ratify. Once approved your FX company will allow you arrange telephone money transfer or use an app or online platform to credit your US Bank account.
Currencies Direct, for example, have offices across the US and can service a handful of US states allowing clients to transfer money to the US with ease. Their local representation affords them excellent knowledge of the process and ensures they have a clear strategy in order to deliver the most dollars possible on client’s international payments.
The US bank details you’ll need to transfer money
US bank details are formatted slightly differently to other accounts and different terminology. Fear not you Currencies Direct account manager will be on hand to help you through all the steps of your transfer. To initiate a to the US you’ll require the following, which can either be added online or confirmed by your account manager:
You can then book a transfer and expect the funds to arrive at the pre-agreed rate within just a few days.
Far better exchange rates than on offer in retail banks. To explain simply retail banks aren’t set up or interested in transfers for private clients. Products such as insurances, investments and mortgages are of much more interest. Currently despite generally below par service levels and disappointing pricing banks still perform the majority of deliverable foreign exchange transfers and therefore don’t see the necessity to change in order to secure the remaining part of the market.
This reluctance to improve has allowed companies like Currencies Direct, and Moneycorp to offer dramatically better pricing which on significant amounts can add up quickly. On top of dramatically better pricing, they also have the ability to remove the risk of USD fluctuation.
A forward contract which is available at most comprehensive and reputable FX companies allows you to fix today’s rate for a deliverable date in the future. This means that even if the USD Dollar rate strengthens significantly against the currency you are holding, you will have guaranteed the USD amount for up to a year in the future.
Transferring money internationally to and from the US via a bank can also attract hefty fees and intermediary charges which are outside of your bank’s control. They typically take place between clearing banks and at FED level with the US being far from the only culprit.
Thankfully larger providers such as Currencies Direct have banking relationships which can minimalize if not eradicate these charges. They also have a trading room in Florida meaning that once you have successfully located to the USA, they can manage your ongoing money transfers locally.
Whilst many of Currencies Direct’s clients will opt to transfer money to the US via the online platform or APP the company trades over extended hours and the weekend. Meaning your account manager will be able to guide you through the latest US dollar news and make you aware of significant data or FX movements. If the currency pair, you are planning to trade is likely to move sharply than can even put in place solution to allow you to benefit from upward movement and protect you from currency depreciation.