Opening a bank account may be one of the first moves you want to take after arriving to the US. This article covers some of the best banking services available to U.S. newcomers
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First, some good news. While you may need to provide several forms of identification to open a new account, many banks don’t restrict access only to U.S. citizens. A few may require a Social Security number (SSN) or only be available to resident aliens, but there are plenty of options to choose from even if you don’t meet that criteria.
Each account offers something specific, and we highlight a few of the features and fees you should beware of regardless of where you open an account.
Best intro bonus: Chase Total CheckingВ®
The current offer from Chase will give you $300 to open a Chase Total CheckingВ® and set up direct deposits to the account. It’s not the highest sign-up bonus available, but it’s a high-paying one considering the requirements. You may need to visit a Chase branch to open an account if you’re not a US citizen, but can still qualify for these bonuses.
Additionally, if you open a Chase Savings account, deposit $15,000 within 20 business days, and keep a balance of $15,000 for 90 days you can earn $200. And if you do both the checking and savings account, you get an extra $100 for a total of $600.
Monthly fee: $12, but waived if you have $500 in monthly direct deposits, a minimum daily balance of at least $1,500, or an average beginning day balance of $5,000 in linked Chase accounts
ATM fees: Free at Chase network ATMs. Chase charges $2.50 to $5.00 each time you use a non-Chase ATM, and the ATM operator may charge an additional fee
Best for frequent travel: Schwab Bank High Yield Investor CheckingВ® Account
The Schwab Bank High Yield Investor CheckingВ® Account is a popular option for people who love to travel. The bank doesn’t charge any ATM withdrawal fees, and it will reimburse all your ATM fees each month. This can be especially useful if you plan on frequent travel outside the U.S., as other banks may charge higher ATM fees for ATM usage outside the US.
Although Charles Schwab has retail locations for its investment business, this is primarily an online bank account and you can’t deposit cash. You can still set up direct deposits into the account, electronically transfer money from other accounts, and deposit checks by mail. However, the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor CheckingВ® Account may be best as an additional account rather than your primary bank account.
You must be a resident alien or a US citizen to qualify for the checking account, and you may need to visit a Schwab branch or print and mail a paper application (rather than using the online form) if you want to apply with an ITIN. You’ll also have to open a Schwab One brokerage account that will be linked to your bank account. But you don’t need to fund or use the brokerage account.
Overdraft fee: $0, but the overdraft may be covered by a loan in your brokerage account that could accrue interest.