Business accounts

How to open a US bank account from Australia

Apr 05, 2024

Whether you are moving or expanding to the US, there is no denying that opening a bank account in the US can be challenging. However, it is not impossible. Majorly, US bank accounts can only be opened by residents. A non-resident will have to research online methods or if there is a branch of that bank in the state the non-resident lives. 

If you are going to reside in the US, it is extremely important to have a bank account there. Operating from an Australian account means that you will have to pay exchange fees and processing costs every time you make a transaction or shift money.

Plus, having a US bank account means faster money movement and more benefits. This article will be your guide to open US bank account from Australia.

How to open a US bank account from Australia?

You can open a US bank account from Australia through an online process. All you require is to visit the physical branch of your bank in Australia before leaving. Bank makes amendments to your current address and changes it to the US one.

Also, they initiate a bank statement. You need to request a change in address and get transaction records before leaving for the US. Students shifting to the US for education purposes can confirm the new address from their university.

On the other hand, employees leaving Australia for employment can request their employers to send the job recommendation letter along with the new address. Most of the time, it is simpler to visit the US first and then visit the physical branches of banks to open a bank account.

Challenges of opening a US bank account from Australia being a non-resident

It is challenging for individuals to open a US bank account from Australia due to the following reasons.

1. Big US Banks

Individuals looking to open a US bank account in well-known banks have to visit the physical branches of these banks in the US.

The documentation process varies from bank to bank so you need to be well-prepared with all the documents.

This also means that you might have to pre-schedule your journey to the US. Because the big banks don’t prefer to open a US bank account from Australia, it is challenging for non-residents.

2. International Banks in the US

International US banks allow you to open a US bank account from Australia. But they charge high fees from the account holders.

Also, you’ll have to maintain a minimum balance requirement. It is again a challenge for non-residents especially if they’re students or employees who struggle to earn their living in the US.

3. Online bank accounts

It is a wonderful option for US residents to open a bank account. It does not require ITIN/SSN. However, it is again challenging for non-residents because they need to have US residents open online accounts.

Online accounts are not a choice for individuals planning to open a US bank account from Australia. Australian residents have to overcome all the aforementioned challenges to open a bank account in the US.

They will either have to visit the physical branches or present SSNs to the US banks.

Related Read: Opening business account in Australia from overseas

Process of opening a bank account in the US

For opening a US bank account from Australia, the initial step is to start collecting your documentation. Individuals can contact US banks to have a checklist of all the required documents and additional paperwork.

Documentations play a vital role in opening bank accounts overseas. The next step is to check online if your desired US bank acknowledges online applications. In case they accept online applications, it becomes easy to open a US bank account from Australia.

Along with it, you can schedule an appointment at the branch closest to you. Once the documentation and paperwork are done, banks start to process your application for verification. You can successfully open a US bank account once the verification process is completed. 

The major players of the US banking system like Citibank allow you to open an account from Australia within a couple of times. You just need to visit their online portal and select the type of account you require for yourself.

It can be a Check, CD, or Savings account. Once you have selected the type of card, you will have to enter details such as your new US address, Bank statement, and Social Security Number. After all these formalities are done, CitiBank opens a US bank account for you.

Documents required

You will need several documents to prove your name, address, and identity if you travel to the United States before opening an account. The following are acceptable at most big banks: 

1. Passport of the individual

2. Driving license 

3. Social Security number

4. Agreement papers of Rent or mortgage 

5. Utility bill of the past three months 

6. Payslip initiated by the employer 

However, the documentation process varies from bank to bank so it is important to consult with the US branch manager before moving to the US.

Fees & Charges

The following charges need to be considered before knowing how to open a US bank account from Australia

1. Monthly Charges

Numerous US banks charge a month-to-month expense just to have a record with them. These can go from $0-charges to $12 or more each month. If you maintain a certain minimum amount in your bank account, some banks will waive these charges.

2. ATM expenses

ATM fees are charged by the majority of US banks. These include charges for using an ATM provided by a different bank. These costs can range anywhere from $2.50 to more than $5 per transaction.

3. Fees for banks

Banks encourage account holders to conduct their daily banking transactions online whenever possible as technology advances.

Thus, a few banks have begun charging an expense to connect with a bank employee.

For the most part, the charge is around $3-$5 for day-to-day exchanges, with global exchanges bringing about their arrangement of expenses.

4. Fees for international transfers

In the United States, fees for international transfers can vary greatly. The majority of international fees range from approximately $15 to up to $45 per transfer.

5. Account closure charges

If you close your account with a US bank, some banks will charge you a fee, though this is not very common. When you close it within a short time, like 90 or 180 days, this is typically charged.

While some banks may charge as much as $50, the typical fee is only $25.

6. Card fees per year

The interest rate on some US card products is higher, but the fees are lower. Some are "premium" cards with higher fees but rewards point offers, while others have a flat annual fee.

7. Transfer Charges

International money transfers may be adversely affected by low foreign exchange rates. When you move money from your US account to a foreign account, you probably won't get good FX rates.

Benefits of opening a US bank account from Australia

Following are the benefits if you open a US bank account from Australia.

1. Keep your account fees low:

You can use an Australian bank account in the United States to sell within the country and avoid international business fees.

2. Make it simple to access your funds:

You can sell on Amazon US by linking your online sales platforms to your US bank account. Additionally, you can link it to your Shopify and PayPal accounts to withdraw earnings.

3. Make use of convenient options for virtual payment:

By linking virtual cards to your account, you can pay for software subscriptions in USD without incurring exchange fees.

Related Read: How to open business bank account in Australia?

The perfect alternative to a bank account in the US for your business

There is an amazing option for companies that are trying to open a business bank account in the US. Instead of going through all the above-detailed steps and challenges, simply get a Volopay Business Account

Volopay is a smart expense management platform that is a platform for businesses to handle all types of financial work and challenges.

With a Volopay business bank account, you can store your funds under tight security. Plus, you can also make transactions in more than 60 currencies at the lowest possible FX rate.

Hence, Volopay acts as your international multi-currency bank account. Along with this, the corporate cards offered by the platform are highly effective for making quick payments and comprehensive expense management. 

So, don’t get a bank account. Get a Volopay Business Account!

Get the best business account for your business today!