open a Bank Account


In the United States, opening a bank account is quite simple: you just have proof of identity, such as a passport or a driver's license, and depositing a sum of money.

Open a bank account in the USA

The most common type of bank account in the United States is the current account. Most transactions are made with this account, such as receiving a salary or paying rent. In general, a bank account allows you to:
  • Draw money with an ATM card. This action is often free to a distributor (ATM), but paying if it is your bank
  • Transferring money from one account to another
  • Paying bills with a checkbook
  • Organize regular payments (even to variable amounts, such as telephone bills and social security contributions) in the form of automatic debit (Bill Pay)
  • Use online and telephone banking.


Many banks will give you the choice between several options (eg online services, interest, credit card without charge, etc.), the fees of which can change. If you are a student, you can apply for an exemption from the account fee.

Before choosing a bank, make sure you can answer these questions:
  • Once I open the account, can I immediately draw money to the distributor?
  • Where can I draw cash without paying a fee? (Many banks have agreements with other banks to allow their clients to draw money at no cost over a network)
  • Can I pay my bills via the Internet?
  • When will I receive my credit card?
  • Do I have the right to a credit card, how to ask for it and how long does it take before I get it?
  • What are the fees on my account?
  • Can I be protected from overdrafts, and how much does this service cost?

Overdraft protection allows you to overdraw up to a certain amount determined by the bank. This amount is often calculated based on your income. Interest rates on overdrafts are still very high, so these situations should be avoided.

Before you offer certain services, the bank observes your account for a few months to check that money is regularly deposited. Be aware that American banks are fairly traditional in the distribution of credit cards. To obtain a credit card in the United States, you will need a valid social security number.

Savings accounts

If you want to put money aside, you can opt for a savings account with a better interest rate. This type of account does not replace a checking account. If you need services like direct debits, bill pay and a checkbook, keep in mind that they are rarely accessed from a savings account. Ask your bank what are the best interest rates it can offer you.


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