US bank account

Hi

Can I get a US bank account as a British citizen living in Taiwan without going to the USA?

I need to be able to accept checks in US dollars without having to pay the huge transaction fee required by most banks. If not is there a bank here that accepts US dollar checks for a small fee?

Thanks in advance :thumbsup:

My initial reaction after having to get an account opened after 9/11: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

I would say that you need a tax id# from the IRS and to be physically present at the bank with it and your passport in order to open an account at a US bank. You might want to look into brokerage accounts though as I think they might be easier and have the same benefits. Buyer beware and all that jive.

A workaround is a US dollar or multi-currency account at a bank here and just wait for the check to clear. What about paypal?

Cheers,
Okami

[quote=“Okami”]My initial reaction after having to get an account opened after 9/11: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

I would say that you need a tax id# from the IRS and to be physically present at the bank with it and your passport in order to open an account at a US bank. You might want to look into brokerage accounts though as I think they might be easier and have the same benefits. Buyer beware and all that jive.

A workaround is a US dollar or multi-currency account at a bank here and just wait for the check to clear. What about paypal?

Cheers,
Okami[/quote]

Yah thanks. Paypal would be the sensible way to pay but they won’t do it. Either US account or US checks.

I can’t remember off hand what the local bank was going to charge me for a US check but it was not a small amount. I wonder if Bank of America lets people open accounts up here. They will probably be cheaper.

Yah Paypal if only. I love Paypal and have had no hassles with them ever. Good service :thumbsup:

You didn’t mention what kind of amounts we are talking about - it makes a difference to the options available. If you are not banking more than $500-$1000/month then it will not be worth your while to follow any of the advice below, nor will the banks be interested.

First port of call might be Citibank International Personal Banking services: +1 813 604 3000.

If you have a reasonably high turnover it may be worth your while to form a US company and get your bank account through that. This would be my preferred option if you are doing business in America and take more than a few thousand US$ per month.

[quote=“llary”]You didn’t mention what kind of amounts we are talking about - it makes a difference to the options available. If you are not banking more than $500-$1000/month then it will not be worth your while to follow any of the advice below, nor will the banks be interested.

First port of call might be Citibank International Personal Banking services: +1 813 604 3000.

If you have a reasonably high turnover it may be worth your while to form a US company and get your bank account through that. This would be my preferred option if you are doing business in America and take more than a few thousand US$ per month.[/quote]

Thanks for the Citibank number much appreciated :thumbsup:

The amounts will vary but unfortunately in small amounts but many and frequent

I have to recommend against regularly mailing checks from Taiwan to one’s bank overseas. I’ve been doing it for some time, but the last two checks I’ve sent are MIA in the mail. Maybe the worsening economy has heightened mail theft, I don’t know.

Perhaps try to get your customers to pay via paypal. Or some type of direct transfer to your bank account.

Btw, you might look at some of the online banks in the US. I believe at minimum u will need a US mailing address. That is all I needed to show that I ‘lived in the US.’ Really, they don’t care where you live, but only that you use a bona fide US address to open the account.

I’m a 'merkin, living stateside, and the last couple accounts I opened required an in person interview with lots of questions. Each time I asked what it was about and each time I was told that the new interview procedures were dictated by the department of homeland security. Good luck.

[quote=“Okami”]My initial reaction after having to get an account opened after 9/11: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

I would say that you need a tax id# from the IRS and to be physically present at the bank with it and your passport in order to open an account at a US bank. You might want to look into brokerage accounts though as I think they might be easier and have the same benefits. Buyer beware and all that jive.

A workaround is a US dollar or multi-currency account at a bank here and just wait for the check to clear. What about paypal?

Cheers,
Okami[/quote]

right…

It’s really easy to open a US bank account. Do a google search for one of the many online banks in America. You’ll need to provide some simple information. For Americans it is as easy as giving name, address, and one of the 3, drivers license #, social security #, or passport #. You can probably get by with your passport #. Just shop around with many of the online banks and explain your situation, you’ll find one that’ll be happy to take your money. You’ll might be able to do all of it online depending on what bank you choose, or you’ll have to make a few phone calls. Either way good luck.

-Valor

[quote=“valor”][quote=“Okami”]My initial reaction after having to get an account opened after 9/11: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

I would say that you need a tax id# from the IRS and to be physically present at the bank with it and your passport in order to open an account at a US bank. You might want to look into brokerage accounts though as I think they might be easier and have the same benefits. Buyer beware and all that jive.

A workaround is a US dollar or multi-currency account at a bank here and just wait for the check to clear. What about paypal?

Cheers,
Okami[/quote]

right…

It’s really easy to open a US bank account. Do a google search for one of the many online banks in America. You’ll need to provide some simple information. For Americans it is as easy as giving name, address, and one of the 3, drivers license #, social security #, or passport #. You can probably get by with your passport #. Just shop around with many of the online banks and explain your situation, you’ll find one that’ll be happy to take your money. You’ll might be able to do all of it online depending on what bank you choose, or you’ll have to make a few phone calls. Either way good luck.

-Valor[/quote]
:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

You will need to file with the IRS to get a tax payer’s id to open a bank account in the US if you aren’t a lawful resident or a citizen I believe. Two pieces of ID are required by most if not all banks to open an account.

Online banks will require you to fund your accounts either with a check drawn in US dollars mailed to them, or funds drawn from a US savings or checking account via EFT (electronic fund transfer), so you may run into a problem.

Bank of America does not handle consumer business in Taipei.

I’m looking at producing some stuff through a US-based company that only pays out in checks. If I had a multi-currency account, would the bank still take weeks and weeks to clear a check if it were deposited?

At first, the amounts I’d be getting would be small. The company are considering a Paypal option but at this stage they don’t have it. Would I be better off waiting until they do?

EDIT - I’ve found a different US distributor I can use that will pay via Paypal, but I’m still interested if anyone has answers/suggestions for the above question.

Be careful with Citibank when it comes to currency exchange and wire transfer. I have a Citibank Gold account opened in the US - the Gold gets me elimination of overseas ATM charges and elimination of the 3% on-top-of-everything fee for purchases and cash withdrawals in foreign currency (everything but US$ is foreign currency from a US citibank account perspective. So Citibank is now my friend, right?

Wrong, they have another way to fuck me, and that is through the currency exchange rate for cash withdrawals and wire transfers. Yes, they don’t charge me the explicit extra 3%, but what they don’t say is that they’re tacking on nearly 5% to the current exchange rate (US-to-NT). If you don’t check real carefully (with a calculator) when you do a withdrawal or transfer, you may not notice the spot rate they charge. Last week I went to wire transfer my Taiwan tax payment to my Taiwan bank account (you can’t pay Taiwan personal income tax via direct wire from a foreign bank, it has to come from a Taiwan bank), the sum was well over US$ 10,000. I noticed just before I clicked Send Wire that the spot rate they quoted me was about 30.5, which seemed low as I has just done a conversion at the airport. So I checked the rate on xe.com and found 31.94. That’s 1.44/31.94 or 4.5% extra profit. On every US$ 10,000, they would be taking an extra US$450.

Just think about those fools paying the extra 3% on top of that!

Bear in mind the rate on xe.com is the average interbank rate, i.e. the rate for huge volume transactions. You are never going to get the same rate as a consumer but generally the credit/debit card or wire transfer rate is still better than you can get from cash exchanges.

[quote=“cfimages”]I’m looking at producing some stuff through a US-based company that only pays out in checks. If I had a multi-currency account, would the bank still take weeks and weeks to clear a check if it were deposited?

At first, the amounts I’d be getting would be small. The company are considering a Paypal option but at this stage they don’t have it. Would I be better off waiting until they do?

EDIT - I’ve found a different US distributor I can use that will pay via Paypal, but I’m still interested if anyone has answers/suggestions for the above question.[/quote]
Yes the bank would take some time to clear a check from overseas, regardless of whether or not you have a USD account here and the check is in USD. They will still need to clear the check from overseas and will probably charge you a hefty fee to do so.

If you can get it, USAA is a great bank that is used to dealing with people being overseas in obscure locations.

Great service, low fees.

Thanks, llary, yep there’s no question you won’t get precisely those rates. What I neglected to put in my post was that a few hours later I got through to my HSBC account rep and they gave me a rate of 31.6 to the xe.com rate of 31.94 - only 1% different. So either the rates swung wildly that day and I missed it, or else Citibank was screwing me.

Unfortunately, HSBC informed me days later that I couldn’t use my online HSBC account to do wire transfers (retards), so now I’m in a holding pattern until I can patch the hole in the wall I made with my fist, and then come up with a new plan.

[quote=“CraigTPE”][quote=“cfimages”]I’m looking at producing some stuff through a US-based company that only pays out in checks. If I had a multi-currency account, would the bank still take weeks and weeks to clear a check if it were deposited?

At first, the amounts I’d be getting would be small. The company are considering a Paypal option but at this stage they don’t have it. Would I be better off waiting until they do?

EDIT - I’ve found a different US distributor I can use that will pay via Paypal, but I’m still interested if anyone has answers/suggestions for the above question.[/quote]
Yes the bank would take some time to clear a check from overseas, regardless of whether or not you have a USD account here and the check is in USD. They will still need to clear the check from overseas and will probably charge you a hefty fee to do so.[/quote]

Thanks for the info. I thought as much but wasn’t completely certain.

If you have an HSBC Premier account they will open a U.S. account for you from their Taiwan branch (actually they will liaise with their U.S. counterparts).

Doesn’t help with check deposits though – the cheapest and easiest way is to mail the checks to your branch in the US rather than depositing here. And it costs like $40 per check plus weeks to process.

Last I checked, the HSBC Premier account required a balance of NT$3mil,US$100,000 to open (within the first three months), with something like a $50/month fee if you drop below that.