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Betsy Wise
By: betsy_wise
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How To Open a Bank Account In the US Without an SSN

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.

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Why is it Important to Open a Bank Account?

The truth is that 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.

That’s why you need a bank account. But not only a personal one.

You also need a separate bank account for your business

If you’re a business owner, it’s crucial that you also open a commercial account.

By opening a bank account in your business name, you separate your personal and business expenses. Then, when you need to gather tax information at the end of the year, you already have a record of your deposits and withdrawals.

The mixing of personal and commercial expenses is known as commingling, and it can really hurt your finances.

Furthermore, 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.

Can you Open a Bank Account Without a Social Security Number? What 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 a 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 (so you don’t need an SSN).  Further down below, you’ll find a list of banks that don’t require a social security number as a requirement to bank with them.

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Can I open a bank account without a deposit?
Yes, you definitely can. We recommend you to open an online bank account (after all, why go to a branch when you can do everything from your smartphone?).  Learn here the online banks that’ll allow you to open an account with no deposit.

How to Open a Bank Account Without an SSN

Most likely, to open a bank account with no SSN, you’ll need to get an ITIN. Once you have it, 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. 

But you don’t necessarily need an ITIN (although we recommend getting it). Depending on the bank, instead 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.

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. 

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 while you present your application. If everything is in order, you should receive your ITIN in approximately 6 weeks.

Find more in-depth step-by-step instructions on how to apply for an ITIN.

What banks do not require a Social Security number?

You don’t need an SSN to get a bank account with these mainstream banks:

If not SSN, what document you need?

Instead of a Social Security Number, these banks require these documents:

  1. Alliant Credit Union: Extra documentation may be required; i.e., passport
  2. Bank of America: You can open an account with an ITIN, but it’s not required.
  3. Chase: You need an ITIN and a photo ID
  4. Citibank: No SSN or ITIN required; you will need to verify your address
  5. PNC: No SSN or ITIN required
  6. Wells Fargo: No SSN required

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How to Open a Bank Account Step-by-Step

  1. Visit the bank or credit union of your choice (or go to the online bank’s website)
  2. Pick the product you want (checking account, savings account, Certificate of Deposit, etc.)
  3. Provide your information (name, birthday, valid ID, and, in most cases, SSN)
  4. Agree to terms
  5. Sign and receive account terms
  6. Fund your account with the required minimum deposit (if any)
  7. Start using your account (make deposits, make payments with your debit card, or withdraw cash)

Don’t you know what bank to choose? Read how to choose a bank for your small business.

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. However, minors can be co-owners on a parent’s or legal guardian’s account in some situations.

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 
  • 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.

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You Don’t Need an SSN to Plan for Your Future

By having a bank account, you have the freedom to apply for credit and build your credit score. Not only that, but you can also 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.

Now that you’ve learned about the importance of opening a bank account, we recommend reading:

Can Undocumented Immigrants File Taxes In the US?

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. 

We do help all business owners, even those that do not have an SSN.

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.


Other Questions About Opening a Bank Account

What are the different types of accounts you can open?

There are many financial products out there. Choosing one will depend on your particular needs and what you plan to achieve.

Some of the most popular types of accounts are:

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Certificate of Deposit (CD) account
  • Commercial accounts (for businesses)

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. For example, a birth certificate, social security card, or a credit card in your name could serve as the second ID.
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Opening balance. The quantity will depend on the bank of your choice but is typically no more than $25

Can you open a bank account online?

Yes. It’s easy, fast, and secure. Just keep in mind, no all banks and credit unions offer this service. Learn what the best online banking options for small businesses are.

Can a foreigner open a bank account in the United States?

If you haven’t arrived in the United States, you can start your process of opening a bank account in your home country.

You can open your account online with banks like Chase and Bank of America. Alternatively, you can open a US account at an HSBC or Citibank branch in your country.

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. 

What are the criteria to evaluate to choose the best bank?

There are a lot of banks in the United States, which can complicate the process of opening a bank account. But choosing the best bank doesn’t have to be stressful.

In your case, the first filter will be institutions that don’t accept ITINs. After that, you will have to analyze what are the benefits of each bank. Some of the things you need to consider are:

  • The commissions and fees they charge
  • The type of accounts they offer
  • If they have extra benefits
  • How good is their customer service

Also, try to answer the following questions: Which bank offers you the best interest on their savings accounts? Which one has a branch near you? Which has the largest ATM network? Do they offer online banking?

How to send money abroad without having a bank account?

If you have family outside the United States and want to wire them some money, you don’t need a bank account. There are many money transfer services that you can use.

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