Payset prespective
December 23, 2022

How to Open a USD Account in the UK for Non-Residents

It's tricky to open a USD account when you aren't a US citizen or can't travel to the US. Here we take you through the alternative ways to open a USD account in the UK as a non-resident.

Opening a USD account in the UK can be quite tricky when you aren’t already a US citizen and can’t easily travel to the US to provide documentation or proof of identity. However, if you are planning to move to the US or require a USD account there are some alternative solutions to opening a USD account in the UK.

There are some real benefits to opening and having a USD account. The US is well-trusted internationally so having a USD account can aid you when investing, saving, and even when spending money or sending funds home via international money transfers.

Can I Open a USD Account in the UK as a Non-Resident?

There are a variety of ways to open a USD account in the UK as a non-resident:

Open In-Store at an International Bank:

Most banks will allow you to open a US payment account as a non-resident but if you want to open an account before you move to the US you have two options:

  • Visit the local branch of an international bank in the UK 
  • Open a borderless account to manage your money until you move.

Apply Online with an ITIN Rather than an SSN:

It is well known that you often have to provide an SSN (social security number) before opening a US bank account regardless of where you currently live in the world. 

An alternative to an SSN is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) which is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and can be used to process taxes amongst other things. ITINs are often issued to those individuals who need a taxpayer ID but have not got access to be assigned an SSN.

See if Your Non-US Bank Account Can Help:

If you already hold an account with a bank in the UK it can be worth asking if they have a relationship with a banking institution within the US as this is quite common and can often make it easier to open a US bank account and make the transition to the US.

Open an International or Multi-Currency Account:

One of the benefits of living in a digitalised world is that it is now very simple to access international payment services. One option is to open a USD account in the UK with an EMI or online payment service in the UK.

Open an Account with Payset:

If what’s important to you is to open a USD account in the UK which can hold and exchange USD there are other options and solutions than opening a US bank account. For example, low-cost, online alternatives such as Payset.

How Much Does it Cost to Open a USD Account in the UK?

Most USD accounts are free to open, but most do come with a monthly maintenance fee. This can often be avoided if you agree to meet certain criteria. For example, depositing a certain amount of money each month or maintaining a minimum monthly balance.

US banks may also charge fees for withdrawing cash from an ATM or in branch. These fees will usually be applied when using an ATM belonging to another banking institution.

There is also the possibility of the bank charging you an additional fee if you wanted to close the account early. There will be a minimum amount of time you need to keep the account open, as indicated in the small print or terms and conditions when you first apply for an account.

Are There Different Types of USD Accounts?

There are two main types of USD accounts and each serves a different purpose and different kind of client:

  • Personal Account: This type of account is for reaching your personal financial goals. Both current and savings accounts fall into this category. A personal account is the most common type of USD account and should be the main account you use for your personal expenses and income.
  • Corporate Account: Opening a business account in the US typically requires more documentation compared to opening a personal account but comes with added bonuses that a business could potentially benefit from in the long term.

At Payset we have a large range of ways to send money to and from the US. If you’re in the US you can send money directly home to the UK as long as you have an IBAN account which is what Payset can provide.

What Do I Need to Open a USD Account in the UK?

For most US financial institutions you are required to have an SSN (social security number), a government-issued ID and a minimum opening deposit amount to activate your account. This can usually be paid via debit or credit card or can be transferred from another account.

You can open a USD account without an SSN. In some cases, you’ll need your passport and visa as additional documentation and proof of residency once reaching the US. You may need to also provide a US address for correspondence purposes, even if you’re not yet living there full-time. This is required for both personal and business accounts. You could also be asked to open a business account rather than a personal account. However, it is possible to open a USD account without an SSN.

What Are Some Other Alternatives to Opening a USD Account in Person?

Some international banks provide a service allowing you to open a USD account before you move to the country. But if you’d rather go down the digital route, you won’t be able to open an account with an American bank. However, there is an option that allows you to begin spending money internationally. This would help you to settle in and get the necessary documentation together before opening a USD account once in the states.

Payset is designed for these situations, it doesn’t require an SSN (social security number) to open a USD account in the UK and allows you to spend across national borders without paying any foreign transaction fees.

Is it Possible to Open a USD Account in the UK Online?

It is very common to be asked to open a USD account in person when dealing with traditional banking methods even if it's an account specifically aimed at non-US residents.

This can mean that you’re able to begin your application online. However, often you still need to visit a branch to verify your identification documents and set your account up fully.

If you’re thinking about opening a USD account in the UK online you could be better off choosing a specialist account which can hold USD alongside other currencies for a better exchange rate.

These multi-currency accounts often come from online banking platforms and digital providers which are set up with an easy onboarding process that you can complete from home no matter where you currently live.

A Payset account can help you to manage your finances wherever you are in the world. You can get an IBAN number which will allow you to pay and transfer money just like a US resident.

If you travel or regularly do business within the US you will understand the importance of money conversions at a reasonable exchange rate. With a Payset account, you can convert at the real mid-market exchange rate, this way you will know exactly how much the transfer will cost you with no hidden fees.

If you would like a truly international solution to opening a US bank account from the UK, check out the Payset multi-currency account. It isn’t a bank, but it offers many wonderful payment services and features to help you make the most of your money. You can use it to send money for low fees and convert between currencies whenever you need to. Get in touch today and leave your contact details with us to get started.

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Frequently asked questions

What is a multi-currency account/virtual IBAN?

A Payset multi-currency account allows you to receive money in 34 different currencies and send money in up to 38 currencies, all within the same account.

You can deposit and withdraw funds, convert currencies at competitive exchange rates, and hold your chosen currencies to capitalize on market movements.

A Payset multi-currency account allows startups and business owners to receive payments from clients virtually anywhere in the world and pay suppliers, staff, and contractors quickly and affordably in their chosen currency.

  • Funds can be deposited and withdrawn from the account for a small fee.
  • Account holders can send and receive money with other Payset users for free.
  • Depending on your region, you can use various payment networks from your Payset account, including SWIFT, SEPA, ACH, Fedwire, Faster Payments, BACS, and CHAPS. 
  • Once you register an account, you will be provided with a Virtual IBAN (International Bank Account Number), which makes all of these transfers easy.
  • We provide you with local payments and collections. For example, transactions in USD, EUR, CAD, and GBP are processed through the local payment networks, which is far cheaper and takes minutes as opposed to days

Are there limits on the amount of money I can send and receive?

No, there are no transaction limits on Payset multi-currency accounts.

However, higher-volume transactions may require additional anti-fraud verification. If you plan to make a large transaction, contact us in advance to avoid verification delays.

How is Payset regulated?

Payset is regulated as an authorized Electronic Money Institution by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Our activities are also regulated by the Payment Services Regulation 2017 and the Electronic Money Regulation 2011 (SI 2011/99).

How do I send money from my account?

Once you have opened your verified IBAN account and added money to a balance, transferring funds is simple.

Simply log in into your account and add a beneficiary, then simply “make a transfer” in your preferred currency to that beneficiary.

Information contained in this publication is provided for general education and information purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, investment or other professional advice or recommendation, or an offer of, or solicitation for, any transactions or any other actions (or refraining therefrom); This material has been prepared without taking into account any particular recipient’s financial objectives or situation. We make no warranty, guarantee or representation, whether express or implied, as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or fitness thereof for a particular purpose; Use of images and symbols is made for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation or advice to take or refraining from any action; Use of brand logos does not necessarily imply a contractual relationship between us and the entities owning the logos, nor does it represent an endorsement of any such entity by Pay Set Limited, or vice versa; Market information is made available to you only as a service, and we do not endorse or approve it; Any reference to past performance, predicted returns, or likelihood performance scenarios may not reflect actual future performance and certainly do not guarantee future outcomes.

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