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Opening a US bank account from Australia

mhubert

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Jan 22, 2008
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42
hi

Has anyone recently opened a US bank account? Not through an Australian office, but online or in person in the US? Do you mind sharing how you did it?

I know I need a US address, but probably can use a forwarding service address for that. I'd like have an account in the US I can deposit money in when I'm in the US, as a traveller not a resident.



thanks
 

twiningb

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Sep 2, 2015
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I did, in person, at a Bank of America branch between Disney World and downtown Orlando. I had previously struck out at a Chase branch in the same strip mall (I tried Chase first in the hope of subsequently adding one of their Sapphire credit cards), but Bank of America were happy with sighting a passport and being given a mailing address (which corresponds to my friends' home, and where I was present later in the trip).

I actually have a US SSN from having been an exchange student and working on campus, but I don't think I gave it to BoA.
 

mhubert

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Jan 22, 2008
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42
I did, in person, at a Bank of America branch between Disney World and downtown Orlando. I had previously struck out at a Chase branch in the same strip mall (I tried Chase first in the hope of subsequently adding one of their Sapphire credit cards), but Bank of America were happy with sighting a passport and being given a mailing address (which corresponds to my friends' home, and where I was present later in the trip).

I actually have a US SSN from having been an exchange student and working on campus, but I don't think I gave it to BoA.

thanks!
 

theblank

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Aug 3, 2014
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I beleive Citibank can offer you this kind of service if you are already a customer of theirs.
You can also get a USA account number with TransferWise, but I you can only deposit by transfers to this account. Even so, my guess is that the Transferwise product would be an invaluable resource for you regardless, and costs you nothing to open an account online.
 
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twiningb

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I tried the Citibank thing - as an existing customer and with a substantial value in a US brokerage account due to employer share grants - and they jerked me around for months including multiple international phone interviews, before finally saying they didn't offer that service.
 

blacksultan

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May 1, 2017
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I beleive Citibank can offer you this kind of service if you are already a customer of theirs.
You can also get a USA account number with TransferWise, but I you can only deposit by transfers to this account. Even so, my guess is that the Transferwise product would be an invaluable resource for you regardless, and costs you nothing to open an account online.
Is this like a regular checking account? can you have your US amex payment direct debited from this account?
Post automatically merged:

I did, in person, at a Bank of America branch between Disney World and downtown Orlando. I had previously struck out at a Chase branch in the same strip mall (I tried Chase first in the hope of subsequently adding one of their Sapphire credit cards), but Bank of America were happy with sighting a passport and being given a mailing address (which corresponds to my friends' home, and where I was present later in the trip).

I actually have a US SSN from having been an exchange student and working on campus, but I don't think I gave it to BoA.
how long ago was this? what is the account type and the fees involved?
 

twiningb

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Sep 2, 2015
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...
how long ago was this? what is the account type and the fees involved?
It was a bit over three years ago (December 2016). It's their basic checking account so it earns no interest but it also has no basic management fees. I did find that when US friends (or me, doing an transfer from brokerage or an FX agency) did a standard ACH electronic transfer (the equivalent of using BSB/account here), it went through fine. But one American friend wasn't comfortable with that stuff and went to her credit union's branch, and they used a domestic wire transfer for which I was charged USD15 (representing a significant chunk of the total received) despite it being domestic and with no FX. So be careful of that.
 

SeatBackForward

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Just to clarify - you want to open a US bank account into which you want to deposit CASH while you're in the US?

I use Transferwise for my Business transactions - they also include a personal account in your own name. This provides you with a USD account, and a US Bank address into which electronic transfers can be made from US banks. You also get a Mastercard that can contain the USD balance for use anywhere that accepts CC's - and in the US everywhere does! I can transfer from other currencies or deposit into this USD account from anywhere.
 

blacksultan

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It was a bit over three years ago (December 2016). It's their basic checking account so it earns no interest but it also has no basic management fees. I did find that when US friends (or me, doing an transfer from brokerage or an FX agency) did a standard ACH electronic transfer (the equivalent of using BSB/account here), it went through fine. But one American friend wasn't comfortable with that stuff and went to her credit union's branch, and they used a domestic wire transfer for which I was charged USD15 (representing a significant chunk of the total received) despite it being domestic and with no FX. So be careful of that.
What is the name of the account? Apparently there is BoA account with no fees which do not require a large balance:
 

twiningb

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What is the name of the account? Apparently there is BoA account with no fees which do not require a large balance:
*looks at online account*
*Googles for more info*

It's labelled Adv Plus. Their website mentions an Advantage Plus checking account with $12/month fee but it's waived based on a few criteria. I would qualify because my balance has always been over $1500.
 

mhubert

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Jan 22, 2008
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Thanks everyone! It's actually to receive the proceeds of a sale of an asset that's in the US. I want to keep the proceeds in US$ in the US, & be able to withdraw it when I'm travelling in the US, via a debit card or cash.
Post automatically merged:

Just to clarify - you want to open a US bank account into which you want to deposit CASH while you're in the US?

I use Transferwise for my Business transactions - they also include a personal account in your own name. This provides you with a USD account, and a US Bank address into which electronic transfers can be made from US banks. You also get a Mastercard that can contain the USD balance for use anywhere that accepts CC's - and in the US everywhere does! I can transfer from other currencies or deposit into this USD account from anywhere.
yes that's right. I'll look at Transferwise!
 

theblank

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Thanks everyone! It's actually to receive the proceeds of a sale of an asset that's in the US. I want to keep the proceeds in US$ in the US, & be able to withdraw it when I'm travelling in the US, via a debit card or cash.
Obviously its not your intention, but this is for anyone else reading. Such a strategy wouldnt hide this money from the ATO and if a USA based bank account possibly all sorts of compliance headaches.

Your precise needs are easily met with Citibank Australia Overseas Currency account (or HSBC if you prefer pain and suffering). You can receive money in USD, and it stays in USD sub account. Simply open it online and it works exactly as you require with zero fees. Plenty info on both these banks websites.
 

VPS

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Citibank may have some criteria as to whether they will allow you to open an account there. I tried to open a UK one through Citibank and they wouldn't allow it.

Transferwise works well for me.

Does anyone know how Transferwise notifies the ATO - is it all transactions or only those over a certain amount - It's not an issue because all declared but just interested
 

mhubert

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Jan 22, 2008
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Citibank may have some criteria as to whether they will allow you to open an account there. I tried to open a UK one through Citibank and they wouldn't allow it.

Transferwise works well for me.

Does anyone know how Transferwise notifies the ATO - is it all transactions or only those over a certain amount - It's not an issue because all declared but just interested
It has somewhere on their site that AUSTRAC receives notification of transactions of A$10K, but you would expect AUSTRAC could also see anything - the recent Westpac issues talk about how AUSTRAC didn't get notified even of small inbound amounts. Someone is always tracking!
 

theblank

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It has somewhere on their site that AUSTRAC receives notification of transactions of A$10K, but you would expect AUSTRAC could also see anything - the recent Westpac issues talk about how AUSTRAC didn't get notified even of small inbound amounts. Someone is always tracking!
Nope, nobody is always tracking in the way you describe. Austrac doesnt see 'anything', and they have no powers. They analyse the data sent to them. They will report exceptions or on request to ATO, AFP, Centrelink etc etc, who will act on reports and investigate further.

Westpac wasnt caught, they confessed, then reported all the transactions they missed. That data was analysed resulting in the beginning of investigations.

The regulatory requirements for money dealers, includes banks, casinos, etc
- all cash transactions over $10,000 are reported
- all international transactions are reported regardless of amount.
- suspicious transactions

* suspicious transactions doesnt mean a bank has an obligation to datamine its own records. This is a personal obligation on the humans that are interacting with the transactor, who might say or do something. The media accusations leveled at Westpac are all BS.
 

twiningb

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Obviously its not your intention, but this is for anyone else reading. Such a strategy wouldnt hide this money from the ATO and if a USA based bank account possibly all sorts of compliance headaches.

Your precise needs are easily met with Citibank Australia Overseas Currency account (or HSBC if you prefer pain and suffering). You can receive money in USD, and it stays in USD sub account. Simply open it online and it works exactly as you require with zero fees. Plenty info on both these banks websites.
I looked into this previously, and again quite recently when there was a Flybuys promo, and since the account didn't seem to be actually domiciled in the US or properly accessible there - no ACH transfers in/out, no branch deposits or easy ATM withdrawals - it didn't seem very useful for someone trying to receive/spend money in the US. But it's possible I misunderstood it, or that your needs are different.
 

mhubert

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Jan 22, 2008
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I looked into this previously, and again quite recently when there was a Flybuys promo, and since the account didn't seem to be actually domiciled in the US or properly accessible there - no ACH transfers in/out, no branch deposits or easy ATM withdrawals - it didn't seem very useful for someone trying to receive/spend money in the US. But it's possible I misunderstood it, or that your needs are different.
thanks - I found this on their site Guide for using your USD bank details in 2019
Post automatically merged:

Nope, nobody is always tracking in the way you describe. Austrac doesnt see 'anything', and they have no powers. They analyse the data sent to them. They will report exceptions or on request to ATO, AFP, Centrelink etc etc, who will act on reports and investigate further.

Westpac wasnt caught, they confessed, then reported all the transactions they missed. That data was analysed resulting in the beginning of investigations.

The regulatory requirements for money dealers, includes banks, casinos, etc
- all cash transactions over $10,000 are reported
- all international transactions are reported regardless of amount.
- suspicious transactions

* suspicious transactions doesnt mean a bank has an obligation to datamine its own records. This is a personal obligation on the humans that are interacting with the transactor, who might say or do something. The media accusations leveled at Westpac are all BS.
Very thorough! thanks. I'd take it that Transferwise, as a money dealer, conforms to "all international transactions are reported regardless of amount".
 

albyd

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Apr 7, 2011
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I've got a Citi US account which I opened a long time ago in person in the US. I now want to open a second account and they won't allow it unless I go into a branch. I have some Citi Australia accounts along with a credit card. I can't find it - can someone please share the number for Citigold (if that's the best department) in Australia so I can reach out and see what can be done. Assuming every other US bank which will deal with Aussies will need us to be there on the ground? I'm not planning another trip to the US for some time so was hoping to find a workaround.
 

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