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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.

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 TransferWise Borderless Account, which can be used to hold more than 40 currencies, including USD.

Updated April 2nd, 2020
$
Name Product Card access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Monthly Account Fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Visa
$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.
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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
AUD 1 1 day AUD 52.00 0.607 USD
6,039
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 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.605 USD
6,046
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
Send 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 0.605 USD
6,046
Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.605 USD
6,046
SendFX 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 250 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.605 USD
6,046
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. No transfer fee over AUD$10,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.601 USD
6,008
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 day AUD 0.00 0.604 USD
6,040
Get fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
GBP 3,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.605 USD
6,046
Global Reach will match any competitor's exchange rates. Conditions apply.
Get no fees for both business and personal transfers when you send your money overseas with Global Reach.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Within an hour AUD 3.99 0.6 USD
5,995
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
Go to site Show details

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

Related Posts

International Money Transfer Offers

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

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

Logo for TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX International Money Transfers

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

Logo for OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers

$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. No transfer fee over AUD$10,000.

Logo for WorldFirst International Money Transfers
WorldFirst International Money Transfers

Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.

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