How to open a US bank account from Australia | Finder

Opening a bank account in the US from Australia

Your simple guide to opening a US bank account, whether you have a US address or not.

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If you're moving to the States, opening a US bank account is an important part of the relocation process. However, for foreign citizens, opening a bank account in the US can be a challenging process.

We'll explain what your options are, whether you can open a US account at major banks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citi and Wells Fargo) and other alternatives that may better suit your needs.

What are my options for opening an account?

1. US bank account

You'll need to provide proof of your US address in order to choose this option, which can be quite difficult if you're yet to move to the US or you've only recently arrived.

2. International bank account

These accounts are designed for people who don't have an address in the US yet. However, you'll need a large deposit to open an account.

3. Multi-currency account

Multi-currency accounts are available to people who don't have a US address and can be used to hold USD, AUD and other currencies.

Open a multi-currency account with Wise

Wise is an international account for 50+ currencies with fast money transfers, a muti-currency debit card and bank details for 30 different countries to make payments easy.

  • Government regulated
  • Supports 50+ currencies
  • Uses the mid-market rate
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1. Setting up a bank account if you have a US address

The requirements for setting up a US bank account vary from one state to the next, so you'll need to research how to open an account in the part of the country you're moving to.

However, you'll generally need to provide:

  • Proof of ID, such as your passport or driver's licence
  • Your social security number
  • Proof of your US address
  • Immigration forms

If you've only recently arrived in the US, you may find it difficult to provide all the documents needed to open an account.


2. Setting up an international bank account

If you don't have a US address, the next option you might want to consider is opening an international bank account. Many major US banks will allow you to set up an international bank account, but they're not a suitable choice for everyone. Typically, you'll need to make a large initial deposit and satisfy income requirements in order to open an account.

Let's take a look at whether you can open an international bank account with the four largest banks in the US:

JPMorgan Chase logo

JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in the US and Chase is its retail banking arm. Unfortunately, it's not possible to open an account with Chase from overseas, so you'll need to wait until you arrive in the US and have a US address.

Bank of America logo

Bank of America

Bank of America doesn't allow you to open an account from outside the US. Once again, you'll need to have a US address and a social security number if you want to apply for an account, so visiting a branch once you arrive in the US is your best bet.

Citibank logo

Citibank

As an international bank with branches in Australia, the US and many other countries around the world, Citibank can help you enjoy a smooth transition to the US. If you already have a Citibank account, you can contact the bank to find out what solutions are available for managing your money overseas.

If you're not yet a Citibank customer, it's worth visiting your local Citibank branch to find out whether it's possible to open a US account before you leave Australia.

Wells Fargo logo

Wells Fargo

Unfortunately, you can't open an account with Wells Fargo from outside the US. However, once you've arrived in the US and have the necessary documentation, you can apply for a Wells Fargo account online, over the phone or by visiting a branch.


3. Multi-currency accounts

Multi-currency accounts, which are sometimes also referred to as foreign currency accounts, let you hold multiple currencies in the one account. They make it easy to send and receive payments in a foreign currency, such as USD, and it's possible to open an account online.

Multi-currency accounts are available from major Australian and international banks, with options including the Citi Global Currency Account and the HSBC Everyday Global Account. Another account worth considering is the Wise Borderless Account, which can be used to hold more than 40 currencies, including USD.

Data updated regularly
Name Product Card access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Monthly account fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Visa
$0
$0
$0
Special offer: $100 cash bonus for new HSBC customers.
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases (T&C's apply).
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.

Citi Global Currency Account
Mastercard
$0
$0
$0
Earn up to 0.75% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free.
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How to transfer your money to your new US bank account

You can transfer funds to your US bank account directly from your Australian bank account. However, banks offer quite poor exchange rates on international transfers, so you can save money by using a specialist money transfer service when you need to send money to the US.

Use the table below to check out what your transaction would look like with an international transfer provider.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 0 1 - 2 days AUD 1.99 0.756 USD
7,554
Special offer: $40 off when you transfer more than $250+ with code AUFIND40, conditions apply.
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.758 USD
7,579
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.758 USD
7,579
Send guarantees to match any competitor’s exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.758 USD
7,579
Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
WorldFirst sends 60+ currencies at competitive rates. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.758 USD
7,579
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 day AUD 52.00 0.757 USD
7,532
Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to $3,000.
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.753 USD
7,531
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 0.00 0.757 USD
7,571
XE has fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 3.99 0.752 USD
7,515
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 - 2 days AUD 50.00 0.760 USD
7,563
Exclusive: Use code FINDER10 to receive US$10 off your first transaction.
InstaReM offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers. Zero-margin rates on some currencies.
Go to site Show details

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Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

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International Money Transfer Offers

Important Information*
Logo for Azimo International Money Transfers
Azimo International Money Transfers

Special offer: $40 off when you transfer more than $250+ with code AUFIND40, conditions apply.
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.

Logo for TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX International Money Transfers

TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.

Logo for Send International Money Transfers
Send International Money Transfers

Send guarantees to match any competitor’s exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.

Logo for WorldFirst International Money Transfers
WorldFirst International Money Transfers

Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
WorldFirst sends 60+ currencies at competitive rates. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.

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