Open a US Bank Account as a Non-Resident Using 2 Simple Methods


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Updated on 02/08/2023

Are you a non-resident in search of how to open a US bank account? No need to look any further! In this blog article, we'll go over how you can open a US bank account as a non-resident without an SSN, using two popular platforms, Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) and Payoneer.

Discover their distinct features, fees, exchange rates, global coverage, transfer speed, payment methods, and additional benefits.

In the end, you'll have gained the in-depth knowledge required to choose which of the two platforms adequately meets your needs.

Why Having an International Bank Account Is Beneficial: Global Financial Freedom

As the world becomes progressively interconnected, more individuals and businesses are appreciating the need for a global financial presence. These are the 5 main advantages of opening an international bank account:

  • Seamless International Transactions.
  • Access to Global Markets.
  • Currency Diversification and Risk Management.
  • Travel Convenience and Expatriate Living.
  • Personal and Professional Flexibility.

Let’s go over them briefly.

• Seamless International Transactions:

With an international bank account, you can easily send and receive money across borders. Whether you're traveling, conducting business internationally, or supporting relatives and friends abroad, an international bank account allows you to make transactions in foreign currencies without the hassle of dealing with currency rates and costs associated with traditional banks.

• Access to Global Markets:

Having an international bank account enables businesses and entrepreneurs to access global markets. You can accept payments from clients all over the world, pay suppliers in different currencies, and develop a local presence in foreign countries. In summary, you can capitalize on international opportunities.

• Currency Diversification and Risk Management:

An international bank account allows you to hold multiple currencies, which facilitates the implementation of effective currency diversification. You can reduce the risks associated with swings in currency rates and economic conditions by keeping funds in multiple currencies. It offers a valuable hedge against currency volatility and enhances financial stability.

• Travel Convenience and Expatriate Living:

An international bank account simplifies your financial management if you frequently travel or live as an expatriate. It enables you to access your money in any part of the globe without requiring time-consuming currency changes or reliance on local banking systems. You can easily withdraw cash, make payments, and manage your funds across borders with international banking services.

• Personal and Professional Flexibility:

Having an international bank account allows you to be more flexible in both your personal and professional life. It enables you to establish financial connections in different nations, making relocating, investing, and owning property overseas easier.

Furthermore, an international bank account is beneficial for digital nomads, freelancers, and remote workers who need a simple and fast way to receive payments from clients all over the world.

With both Wise and Payoneer, you can experience these advantages. However, some key differences between the two platforms may affect your choice, depending on your needs and preferences.

We’ll explore those key differences in the following 5 sections:

  • Understanding Account Types and Limitations.
  • Analysing Transaction Fees and Exchange Rates.
  • Global Reach and Currency Support.
  • Transfer Speed and Payment Options.
  • Weighing the Pros and Cons.

Discover Which Banking Platform Caters to Your Specific Needs.

1. Understanding Account Types and

In this section, we'll go over the account types offered by Wise and Payoneer, as well as their specific features and limitations.

Wise distinguishes itself by offering both personal accounts and business accounts, providing a holistic solution for both individuals and business enterprises.

Wise enables you to perform both personal and business transactions, such as sending money to friends and relatives or paying suppliers or contractors. Furthermore, Wise's personal accounts have additional features, including multi-currency wallets and virtual cards, which improve the overall user experience.

Payoneer, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on business accounts, making it a great alternative for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and professionals primarily engaged in business-related activities.

Payoneer's accounts are designed to fulfill the needs of businesses and include features like mass payouts, integration with global marketplaces, and invoicing. Payoneer can be an effective option if you own a business and need a dedicated platform to manage your business finances.

Image source: Payoneer Website

Consider your specific needs and the scope of your financial activities. Wise's dual offering facilitates seamless transitions between personal and business transactions, making it ideal for individuals who operate in both areas. Payoneer's unique focus on business accounts makes it an appealing option for those who are solely involved in business activities.

2. Analysing Transaction Fees and
Exchange Rates:

Let's dive deep into the fees associated with international transactions. Wise is well-known for its transparent fee structure, with upfront information regarding fees and conversion rates available on its website.

Image Source: Wise Website

When using Wise, you'll benefit from low percentage fees, ranging from 0.35% to 1% of the transfer amount, as well as fixed fees that vary depending on the currency and payment method. The fixed fees for most currencies range from $0.50 to $10.

It is crucial to note, however, that the fixed fees for some rare or exotic currencies may be greater to reflect the operational expenses and risks associated with those specific currencies. Despite this, Wise uses the mid-market rate to ensure that its users receive fair and accurate conversion rates with no hidden fees or markups.

Payoneer, on the other hand, has a more complex fee structure that considers aspects such as the origin and destination of funds, payment methods, and currency conversions. Payoneer charges up to 2% for transfers. Additionally, you may have to pay a fixed fee of $1.50 or equivalent when sending money from your USD, EUR, or GBP account to someone whose bank account is in the same country or currency as yours.

It is also important to bear in mind that their exchange rates may differ from the mid-market rate, potentially resulting in additional fees. This fluctuation in exchange rates can cause a difference between the amount you expect to receive and the amount actually received by the recipient, and vice versa. When selecting Payoneer as your international banking solution, thoroughly examine the fee structure and exchange rate movements.

NOTE: You can send money from your Wise account to another Wise account for free. This can help you save on transaction fees if you and your recipients have Wise accounts. However, when you send to a different currency, there’s a small conversion fee. Similarly, you can send money from your Payoneer account to another Payoneer account for free, but only if the currency is the same.

3. Global Reach and Currency

Payoneer boasts an outstanding network that spans over 200 countries and territories, allowing you to transact in over 150 currencies. This extensive coverage makes Payoneer a worthwhile choice for businesses and individuals with a variety of international payment requirements.

Furthermore, Payoneer provides accounts in 9 currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, AUD, CAD, AED, and SGD), allowing you to send and receive payments as if you had a local bank account. This feature is especially useful for businesses that interact with foreign clients and marketplaces since it simplifies the payment process and eliminates the need for complex cross-border transactions.

Image Source: Payoneer Website

While Wise's coverage is slightly more targeted, it still offers support for a substantial number of countries and currencies. With a Wise card, you can conduct transactions in over 150 countries and more than 40 currencies, providing access to many major global markets.

Furthermore, Wise's multi-currency wallets allow you to hold and manage funds in numerous currencies, making cross-border transactions easier to navigate and reducing currency conversion expenses.

Image Source: Wise Website

Wise also provides bank account details in 10 currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, NZD, SGD, HUF, PLN, RON, and TRY), allowing you to send and receive payments as if you had a local bank account.

Image Source: Wise Website

If your business activities span numerous countries or you routinely interact with clients and marketplaces worldwide, Payoneer's large global network may be a better fit. If your transactions are primarily focused on specific countries or regions, Wise's targeted coverage may still be sufficient to meet your international payment needs.

4. Transfer Speed and Payment

Time is money, so Wise and Payoneer both facilitate rapid transfers that normally take between 1 to 3 business days before reaching the recipient's bank account. It is crucial to understand that the transfer speed may vary based on a number of factors, including the currency pair, the payment method selected, and the processing times of the banks involved.

In some circumstances, Wise may offer swifter transfers than Payoneer, especially if you pay with a debit or credit card. Payoneer, on the other hand, may provide faster transfers than Wise if you choose their instant payment option. However, this option is only available for certain currencies and countries and may involve additional fees.

Wise excels in providing an extensive range of transfer options to meet customer needs, both in terms of payment methods and payout methods. You can pay for your transfer with a debit card, credit card (available for select currencies), bank transfer (wire transfer or ACH), Apple Pay (available for select currencies), Google Pay (available for select currencies), iDEAL (for EUR transfers), SOFORT (for EUR transfers), Trustly (for EUR transfers), or POLi (for AUD transfers).

Payoneer, on the other hand, centres around bank transfers and card payments for funding transfers. While Payoneer may not have as many payment options as Wise, it does stand out with its instant payment feature.

This feature allows you to instantly send money to another Payoneer account without having the recipient's bank account information. It enables funds to be transferred seamlessly between Payoneer accounts, which is particularly beneficial for freelancers and businesses that frequently collaborate with foreign clients or partners.

5. Weighing the Pros and Cons:

Wise has established itself as a dependable and cost-effective international money transfer solution. Individuals and businesses with cross-border financial activities will appreciate the ability to hold and manage multiple currencies in the Wise Borderless Account.

Wise's competitive exchange rates and low fees contribute to significant savings, especially for individuals who make frequent international transfers. Wise's user-friendly interface, comprehensive mobile app, and responsive customer service all contribute to a better overall user experience as well.

However, keep in mind that Wise's services are largely focused on international money transfers and currency exchange. While they have expanded their range of offerings to include features such as receiving payments from international clients and marketplaces, they may not offer the same breadth of services as a comprehensive global payment platform such as Payoneer.

Payoneer provides a broad range of services alongside money transfers, such as tax payments. Their instant payment feature for Payoneer-to-Payoneer transfers can be beneficial to freelancers, businesses, and e-commerce sellers who work across borders regularly. Payoneer's intuitive dashboard and dedicated customer service also contribute to a pleasant user experience.

On the other hand, Payoneer's fees may be higher than Wise's, particularly for currency conversions and certain payment methods. Payment options may also differ depending on the countries and currencies involved, so it's important to check that Payoneer supports your individual payment preferences.

Choosing between Wise and Payoneer ultimately depends on your specific requirements and priorities. If you prioritize cost-effective international money transfers, transparent fees, and a user-friendly interface, Wise is an excellent choice. Alternatively, if you require a more comprehensive global payment platform with additional features, Payoneer may be the better option.

Opening an Account: Step-by-Step Guide

If you've decided to use Wise or Payoneer, or both, it's important that you understand the step-by-step procedure for opening an account with these platforms. Below is a detailed explanation of how to open an account with Wise and Payoneer.

I. Opening an Account with Wise

Step 1: Visit the Wise website:

Navigate to the official Wise website by clicking here.

Step 2: Sign up for an account:

On the Wise homepage, locate the "Sign up" or "Register" button and click on it. You'll be directed to the account registration page.

Step 3: Provide your personal information:

Fill in the fields with accurate personal information, such as your complete name, email address, and password. To keep your account secure, create a strong password.

Step 4: Verify your email address:

Wise will send a verification email to the address you provided after you complete the registration form. To validate your email address, go to your inbox and click on the verification link.

Step 5: Set up your Wise Borderless Account:

After you have verified your email, you will be prompted to create your Wise Borderless Account. Submit your contact information, such as your address and phone number, and choose the currency or currencies you intend to use with Wise.

Step 6: Verify your identity:

To comply with regulatory requirements, Wise may ask you to verify your identity. This process typically involves uploading a copy of your identification documents, such as a passport or driver's license, and providing additional details as requested.

Step 7: Add funds to your account:

You can fund your Wise Borderless Account once your identity has been validated. Wise accepts a variety of payment methods, depending on your location. Follow the instructions provided on the platform to add funds successfully.

Step 8: Start using Wise:

With funds in your Wise Borderless Account, you can now take advantage of Wise's services and manage multiple currencies.

II. Opening an Account with Payoneer

Step 1: Go to the Payoneer website:

Access the official Payoneer website by clicking here.

Step 2: "Sign Up" or "Register:

Locate the "Sign Up" or "Register" button on the Payoneer homepage and click on it. You'll be directed to the account registration page.

Step 3: Select your account type:

Payoneer offers different account types, including Individual, Business, and E-commerce. Choose the account type that best suits your needs.

Step 4: Provide your personal information:

Fill in the required fields with accurate personal information, such as your full name, email address, and date of birth. Create a secure password for your Payoneer account.

Step 5: Provide additional details:

Depending on the account type you choose, Payoneer may request further details. This could include your company's information, bank account details, and the reason for the funds.

Step 6: Verify your identity:

As part of the registration process, Payoneer will require you to verify your identity. This usually entails providing a copy of your identification document, such as a passport or driver's license, and potentially extra documents depending on your account type.

Step 7: Submit your application:

Review the information you provided and submit your application for consideration. Payoneer will assess your application and notify you of the approval status via email.

Step 8: Activate your account:

Once your application is approved, Payoneer will send an activation link to your registered email address. Click on the link to activate your account and set up your Payoneer dashboard.

Step 9: Start using Payoneer:

With your account activated, you can now access your Payoneer dashboard and explore the various features and services offered by the platform.

Final Thoughts

Wise and Payoneer have established themselves as trusted and reliable platforms in the fintech industry, serving millions of users worldwide. Their extensive service offerings, competitive exchange rates, and user-friendly interfaces make them appealing choices for individuals and businesses seeking effective cross-border payment solutions.

Assess your specific requirements, consider the pros and cons outlined in this guide, and make an informed decision that adequately meets your needs. Regardless of your choice, both Wise and Payoneer are dedicated to simplifying cross-border transactions and empowering individuals and businesses to traverse the global economy with ease.

If you found this blog post useful and believe someone else will too, please share it.


We believe in complete transparency with our readers.

In order to sustain our blog, we sometimes include affiliate links in our posts.

These are special links that, when clicked, may earn us a small commission if you make a purchase. The best part is that this comes at no additional cost to you!

Please know that we only recommend products/services we have personally used, thoroughly researched, and genuinely believe can benefit our audience.

Our primary goal is to offer valuable insights and assist you in making informed decisions, and the affiliate links are one way to sustain our content creation.

We are immensely grateful for every click and purchase you make through these links. Thank you for being a part of our community and for your continued support!


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