I need a US based bank account to receive my stipend, but I'm not in the US now

Hi everyone!
I need to open a US based bank account so that I can receive my stipend for my PhD. Currently I’m still in Brazil and my scholarship can only pay me once I have this US based account. However, here’s the tricky part. I don’t have enough money to travel, but I need to be in the US to open the account and receive it.
So! any suggestions? I can ask an address and a telephone number from a friend and I have the SSN. Do you think I can do it? Which banks can I try?
Thank you!!

CapitalOne seems to favour online activity above interaction at the branch (they have few branches, and an easy remote account opening process)… and they offer a debit card with no fees for overseas retail or ATM use :star_struck:

Nice, thank you!
The commission that will transfer my stipend told me to not open Capital One or ING, since it doesn’t recognize their transactions. So they had problems with previous scholars due to that.
Do you think Charles Schwab Bank would do?

Some other expats I know have recommended Schwab: last time I looked them (a long time ago) their fees seemed high (perhaps you can report back if & when you investigate).

My second choice if C1 were prohibited would be Discover Bank because they offer a high cash-back rate for expenditures from their checking account. One thing to watch out for is that the Discover / Diners Club card might not be honoured many places outside the USA (it’s unknown even by Amazon in India) but could be OK in the EU. :thinking:

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Thank you @ashkoba for the reply!
As I just needed a checking account, as Charles Schwab’s doesn’t request minimum deposit or doesn’t have fees for ATM withdrawal, I tried to open it.

But here’s the thing. Between the forms, it asks if I’m a resident alien. Well, with an H1B, F1 or J1 visa, I have to pay Us taxes, but through a different form. I fall into the nonresident alien category. That’s the only reason I didn’t submit the forms to open it, to not commit perjury.

So, I think I won’t be able to open any of these accounts (Charles or Discovery).

But I thank you for the help!

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Hi -

Two things. One, they may be unwilling to provide service without a US mailing address (friend or whatever ).
Two , what you are likely running into is they ask you to fill in a W9 to confirm your SSN. Unfortunately that also confirms you are a US person (which you are not ). What they need to get from you is your SSN on a W8 BEN which confirms you are a NON US person.

Try calling the bank and getting on to some higher level customer support. Pretty sure the major banks do it, eg Citibank used to but no longer sure.
The online opening may not work properly, you may need to do it via phone.

Have you tried a multicurrency account with Wise ? You should be able to receive USD that way -as though you have a US account. It may work. Good luck!

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