Maybe you’re ready to start a business and need a business bank account to make purchases, track revenue, and pay employees. The problem is you don’t know how to open a bank account because your immigration status prevents you from getting a social security number (SSN).
Knowing your options to open a bank account without an SSN means you can plan your future.
In this post, we’ll explain the importance of opening a bank account, the documents you need, and how to apply for an alternative IRS number so you can file a tax return and pay taxes. Lastly, you can choose from a list of banks where you can open a bank account without needing an SSN.
Why Is It Important to Open a Bank Account?
By opening a bank account in your business name, you separate your personal and business expenses. When you need to gather tax information at the end of the year, you already have a record of your deposits and withdrawals.
Furthermore, it’s not a good idea to carry around large sums of cash or keep money at home. Not only do you jeopardize your personal safety but it’s tempting to spend business income on personal items. Not to mention, how much time you’ll spend sorting through your pockets or a bag to track what you spent or collected as income.
By having a bank account, you can register your business, apply for a credit card, and start building a credit score. Having a credit history through the major credit bureaus means lenders can review your credit history to decide whether to loan you money. Additionally, most banks offer business credit and debit cards to bank account holders.
How to Open a Bank Account Step-by-Step
- Visit the bank or credit union of your choice
- Pick the product you want (checking account, savings account, Certificate of Deposit, etc.)
- Provide your information (name, birthday, valid ID and, in most cases, SSN)
- Agree to terms
- Sign and receive account terms
- Fund your account with the required minimum deposit (if any)
- Start using your account (make deposits, make payments with your debit card, or withdraw cash)
Don’t know what bank to choose? Read How to choose a bank for your small business.
Can I Open a Bank Account If I’m Not a Citizen or Resident?
The answer is not as simple as a “yes” or a “no”. Banks offer financial products that benefit their customers while presenting the least amount of risk to the banking institution. The majority of banks are regulated by the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and their board of directors. Therefore, they abide by guidelines set up by regulatory agencies and corporate policy.
However, some banks don’t require you to be a citizen or resident to open a bank account. See the list below of banks that don’t require a social security number as a requirement to bank with them.
What Documents Do I Need to Open a Bank Account?
Before you present documents, it’s a routine requirement for banks that applicants are at least 18 years old. In some situations, minors can be co-owners on a parent’s or legal guardian’s account.
Most banks will require these documents:
- A photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. Some states issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. If you don’t drive and would like a photo ID, the Department of Motor Vehicles issues Non-Driver Photo Identification cards. Check with your state to obtain their specific requirements.
- A valid social security number or an individual taxpayer identification number (see how to apply for an ITIN below)
- Proof of where you reside: Banks accept copies of utility and cable bills and signed rental agreements.
Once the bank official collects all necessary information, a deposit is required to open a bank account.
List of Banks that Don’t Require an SSN When Opening a Bank Account
- Alliant Credit Union
- Bank of America
- BMO Harris
- Charles Schwab
- TD Bank
- U.S. Bank
- Wells Fargo
How to Apply for an ITIN
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a 9-digit tax processing number the IRS uses to record tax payments and process Federal tax returns.
ITIN recipients can comply with Federal and State regulations while earning income. An ITIN is used mainly by people who don’t legally qualify for an SSN.
Basically, to get an ITIN you complete a designated IRS form, submit required documents to verify your identity, and submit the application. If you have a tax return, you can submit it at the same time you present your application. If everything is in order, you should receive your ITIN in approximately 6 weeks.
How to Open a Bank Account Without an SSN
Once you receive your ITIN, you can use the ID number to open a bank account. The bank will also verify your name, date of birth (take a copy of your birth certificate), and your current address.
Depending on the bank, in lieu of an SSN or ITIN, they may accept a passport number, government-issued ID numbers, such as municipal and community identification cards, or an alien ID card.
List of Banks That Let You Open a Bank Account Without an SSN
These mainstream banks may require proof of where you live and a valid ITIN.
- Alliant Credit Union: Extra documentation may be required; i.e., passport
- Bank of America: You can open an account with an ITIN but it’s not required.
- Charles Schwab
- Chase: You need an ITIN and a photo ID
- Citibank: No SSN or ITIN required, you will need to verify your address
- PNC: No SSN or ITIN required
- Wells Fargo: No SSN required
Other Questions About Opening a Bank Account
What does it take to open a bank account? You’ll need the following:
- A government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, state-issued ID or passport). Some banks may require two IDs. A birth certificate, social security card or a credit card in your name could serve as the second ID.
- Date of birth
- Opening balance. The quantity will depend on the bank of your choice, but normally is no more than $25
- Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
Can you open a bank account online? Yes. It’s easy, fast and secure. You can even open a bank account online with no money. Just keep n mind, no all banks and credit unions offer this service.
How much does it cost to open a bank account? Banks typically don’t charge fees to open a checking account. However, keep in mind that a minimum deposit is usually required, so have some cash in hand when visiting your branch to open an account. The deposit can range between $25 or less and a few hundred dollars for premium accounts.
Planning for Your Future
By having a bank account, you have the freedom to apply for credit and build your credit score. Not only that, you can operate a business and apply for a loan. You’ll find that a bank account keeps you organized, saves you time, and opens doors for future financial growth.
At Camino Financial, we’re interested in helping your business succeed. Our motto, “No Business Left Behind” attests to our commitment to helping clients get the funding they need to make their business dreams a reality.
Our microloans and small business loans are straightforward, quick, and easy. We don’t require a credit history or collateral to secure our loans. After making timely payments for 9 months you can upgrade to a loan with a higher amount and better rates. We encourage you to find out how our small business loans can help you reach your financial goals.