In this article I will detail how a Canadian citizen can open a free checking or “chequing” account with a US bank, without having to physically travelling to the US. Though this article was originally written for Canadians, if you have sufficient identification, the process will work for other non-residents aswell.
There are plenty of websites littered on the internet claiming to show you how to open a US bank account free. When you go to the website, you find yourself at a poorly designed website filled with useless junk, forcing you to buy their e-book.
I assure you this is not one of those websites. I’m not asking you to buy anything or pay for any of the information listed here! Everything here is truly free!
I will detail the process I followed to get a no-fee checking account with a US Bank, not a US dollar account with a Canadian bank.
- Two Pieces of ID (Driver’s License and Passport are ideal).
- A letter from your Canadian bank stating your account is in good standing (a letter of recommendation).
- A cheque for your initial desposit ($25 US minimum) — A checque from your Canadian Bank account for the US dollar equivalent is fine.
- Go to First Niagara’s Contact Page and submit the form on this page: https://www.fnfg.com/contact_us/banking.asp. Request a new account kit for Canadian residents in the inquiry form. Put your Canadian address in the “US Mailing Address” form. You can also call their toll free number (1-800-421-0004) and speak to a customer service representative to request the new account activation kit.
- A week to ten days later, you will receive the new account application kit in the mail. The forms are pretty straight forward to fill out.
- Complete the forms in the application kit and mail it back with copies of your ID and the deposit cheque.
- Once the completed forms, along with your ID and deposit cheque is received by First Niagara, your account should be approved within 3-4 business days.
- You will receive your Visa check card (equivalent of a debit card in Canada) in the mail in a week to ten days after your account has been approved.
The Visa check card is not a credit card. The “limit” on the card is based on the balance in your checking account. It is accepted as wherever Visa is accepted. Using this card will not establish or improve your credit history.
If you have any questions about this article, please feel free to e-mail me via the contact form or leave a reply in the feedback box below.
To reiterate, this process was written originally for Canadians, but should work the same for non-residents also (other intenational citizens) with proper ID.