I spoke with a representative at Citibank, which I believe to be the
largest banking company in the world.
The answer to your question is Yes, non-residents of the US can indeed
open a US-based bank account, with online access to the accounts,
credit cards, and so on. It's not an easy process, but it is
There is no online procedure for doing this at Citibank. They will
need to receive from you -- via the mail -- copies of a number of key
documents -- an application form, 2 forms of identification (at least
one with a photo), information about your in-country bank, and so on.
There are minimum deposit requirements as well, but these vary
depending on the type of account and the types of services you need.
To get the process started, you should call Citibank's International
Personal Banking (IPB) group at:
They will send you a complete package of information on starting up an IPB account.
From outside the US, this will be an international call, and will
require you to use the proper dialing codes from your country.
By the way, when I called the IPB (at their US-based toll-free
number), it was not easy to get past the automated menu to a live
operator. If you run into that problem with your call, try pressing
"O" or "*" to get through to a real human being.
Citibank IPB also has offices in various cities around the world.
Depending on where you are located, you may be able to visit them in
person. A Google search on terms like: [ "international personal
banking" singapore ] will show you whether the city has an office
available. Of course, you can choose whatever major city name you
This type of banking service is not unique to Citibank, but they are
certainly among the most well-known and reputable names in the banking
There are also services that, for a fee, will assist you in
establishing a US-based bank account. I cannot vouch for these
services personally, as I have not used them myself. However, I did
not see any claims on an internet search that they are scam operations
-- from all appearances, they seem to be legitimate.
Two services you might want to consider are:
US accounts for Foreigners
Easy Corp -- Open your US personal bank account
Again, these seem legitimate, but please proceed with caution if you
decide to use these services, rather than the Citibank option.
I trust this information should fully meet your needs.
However, please don't rate this answer until you are fully satisfied
with the results. If there's anything else I can do for you, just
post a Request for Clarification to let me know, and I'm at your
Best of luck,
search strategy -- called Citibank, and also searched Google for: [
online banking non-resident us ]
Clarification of Answer by
02 Nov 2005 09:30 PST
You must have missed my request to not rate the answer until you have
everything you needed. Ah well!
As for your clarification questions:
--If I open an account in Citibank, will I be able to open merchant
account for accepting Credit cards on my web-site.
A merchant account depends entirely on the policies and procedures of
the company to which you apply for the account. Citibank may be able
to offer some guidance on this. In general, though, having an
established US account should be helpful in then getting a merchant
account, but by itself, it's no guarantee.
--Must I pay any taxes in the USA if I non-resident?
This is really a very separate topic than your original question. If
you need information on this, I would suggest posting a new question
here at Google Answers.
--Where can I read about Internet-traid taxation?
Again, my suggestion would be to make this a part of a new follow-up
question regarding taxation issues.
Best of luck in your ventures.