Opening A US Bank Account For Non-Residents
Posted April 22, 2007on:
Hello. This post will be interminably dull for the vast majority of people, so I apologise in advance.
Last week I was looking around online trying to see if I could open a bank account in the USA because I think this would be useful for my business. I’d like to be able to withdraw money from PayPal in dollars and earn interest on it without the risk and cost of converting it to a different currency (if you were wondering: no, the business isn’t quite ready to launch yet, and yes, I am getting ahead of myself). I eventually found a bank account that’s available to foreigners, and I thought I’d blog about it, because it doesn’t seem to be well-known about and there are a few places online who are trying to sell this information for between $10 and $250.
The bank is E*TRADE, which is an online stock broker which has diversified into other financial services. Oddly, I couldn’t find their bank accounts by just browsing around their site (I suspect they’re selectively showing information based on the location of the visitor), but a Google search for “etrade bank account” turned up the right page. They offer a choice between two checking accounts which both come with a debit card but have different rates of interest and different minimum balances, and a savings account with a higher rate of interest but no debit card. International users have to apply by post (here’s the application form) and are asked to phone them first (I believe this is just so that they can tell you to enclose a photocopy of you passport as ID, but best to phone and check).