How to open a bank account in the US without address proof?

Adam Rozsa

In this guide, we’ll look at whether it’s possible to open a US bank account without a physical address. Plus, some info on what counts as proof of address, along with your options if you don’t yet live in the US.

This includes solutions such as the one offered by Wise, a money service business and its Wise Account, which offers a quick way to start sending, spending and receiving USD.

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Is it possible to open a US bank account without a physical address there?

Unfortunately, most major US banks will require proof of a US address as part of the application process for a checking account¹.

This is along with proof of ID, such as a driver’s license, Social Security Card, passport or birth certificate.

You can always check with the bank though to see if it offers any special accounts for non-residents. There are also alternatives to traditional bank accounts where proof of address may not be needed - we’ll look at some of these below.

What is accepted as proof of address?

The big US banks such as Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, US Bank and others usually accept the following as valid proof of address¹:

  • Recent utility bill
  • Recent bank or credit card statement
  • Lease or mortgage document.

Your US banking options if you don’t have proof of address

If you’re not yet a US resident or don’t have proof of address documents, don’t worry. While you may struggle to open a checking account with a US bank, there may be other options available to you. These are international bank accounts, and accounts with a digital or mobile bank.

International bank accounts

It could be worth doing some research into international bank accounts. These are a specialized product offered by some US banks, especially those like HSBC, which have a global presence. Other banks to look at include Zenus and Charles Schwab¹.

As they’re aimed at international customers, these accounts don’t necessarily require you to have a US address.

Bear in mind though that you may have to make a large initial deposit or maintain a high minimum balance to open one of these accounts. There may also be monthly fees to pay.

💡 Find out more about the top international banks for expats & when going abroad here

Digital banks

Another option to consider is a digital bank, also known as a neobank, online bank or mobile-only bank. These offer online accounts which offer many of the same functions as a standard checking account. You’ll manage your money online or through a mobile app.

Crucially, not all digital banks require proof of address. Most such as Revolut² and Chime simply require you to verify your identity (although Chime is only available to US citizens³).


Wise - the fastest and easiest way to open a USD currency account

What if there was a way to send, spend and receive US dollars without needing to open a US bank account? There is, and it’s called the Wise Account.

Wise is a money services business that offers multi currency accounts, and allows customers to hold a USD balance.

It’s quick and easy to open a Wise Account online: you’ll need to verify your ID and provide proof of address.

It’s a multi-currency account, so you can use it to manage your money in USD, EUR, GBP or whichever currency you choose. Send money to friends, get paid for freelance work or pay business invoices - it’s up to you.

What’s more, you can get a Wise Card for everyday spending for a one-time fee of just $9 USD⁴. It works in 174 countries, and automatically converts your money to the local currency at the mid-market exchange rate.

Get a Wise Account today

If you don’t have a US address, you’re likely to find it trickier than most to open a US bank account. But after reading this guide, you now have a few alternative options to look into, including digital banks and online accounts like Wise.

Sources used for this article:

  1. Chase - What you need to open a bank account
  2. Revolut Help - Required documents to sign up
  3. Chime - How to open a free online bank account with Chime
  4. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing: Only Pay for What You Use for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

Sources checked on 09-Jan-2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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