Can You Open Bank Account Without Social Security Number?

Florence Desiata

A Social Security number (SSN) is often needed when opening a bank account in the United States. However, non-U.S. citizens who are working in the country do not have one. 

This prompts the question, “Can you open a bank account without a social security number?” Find out here. 

What is a Social Security Number (SSN)? 

SSN is a nine-digit number issued to citizens and permanent residents of the United States for the purpose of establishing eligibility for government programs and keeping tabs on financial transactions. 

In recent years, SSN is also used for: 

  • Obtaining credit
  • Tracking credit report
  • Managing taxes
  • Making major purchases (i.e., cars and real estate properties)

Can You Open a Bank Account Without a Social Security Number? 

Yes, it’s possible for you to open an account without an SSN as long as you have an Individual Tax Return Identification Number (ITIN). 

An ITIN is applicable for: 

  • US citizen spouses or dependents
  • Resident aliens
  • Non-resident alien visa holders
  • Non-residents who must file a federal income tax return
  • Foreign workers in the US
  • US-employed foreigners who reside abroad

How to Obtain an ITIN:

You can get an ITIN  in one of three ways. Among these are:

Option 1: Mail Your Application to the IRS

You can mail your ITIN application to this address: 

Internal Revenue Service

Austin Service Center

ITIN Operation

P.O. Box 149342

Austin, TX 78714-9342

Be sure to submit all the necessary paperwork, such as:

  • A completed Form W-7
  • Proof of identity
  • Foreign status documents

If you’re hoping to get a tax refund, you should also attach any relevant documents, too.

Option 2: Register at a Taxpayer Assistance Center

This option will save you the hassle of procuring foreign status documents and proof of identity. You need to book an appointment at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center, and you’ll be sorted out. 

Option 3: Apply via an IRS-approved Certifying Acceptance Agent

Another option that won’t require you to present proof of identity and foreign status documents is to apply through an IRS-approved Certifying Acceptance Agent. 

If your application is approved, you’ll get your ITIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  in seven weeks.

Banks Where You Can Open an Account without an SSN

After the Patriot Act was passed, verification requirements for opening bank accounts became stricter to prevent the financial system from being used for criminal activities.  They usually use SSN to check your: 

Usually, if your record has unusual activities, banks will ask for an explanation or additional documents. In the worst-case scenario, they will reject your application to open a bank account, but this doesn’t happen often. 

However, you can still open an account without an SSN. When opening a checking or savings account, financial institutions have two basic paperwork requirements: proof of address and identity. This implies that if you have other kinds of identification, you can open a bank account without an SSN.

Here are the generally accepted IDs and proof of address: 

Proof of IdentificationProof of Address
Valid driver’s licenseCable bill
Birth certificateCredit card bill
Student identificationUtility bill
Military identification cardLease agreement
PassportRecent mortgage statement
State-issued identification cardCollege enrollment papers
Posted mail with applicant’s name

There are a number of financial institutions that don’t require a Social Security number, including:

  • Bank of America
  • Citibank
  • Chase
  • Wells Fargo
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • Latino Credit Union
  • Self-help Federal Credit Union

Other Alternatives for Non-residents

Suppose you can’t open a bank account through mainstream banking. In that case, Neobanks are good alternatives. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Neobanks exclusively operate online via mobile apps. They usually provide fewer services than traditional banks, with a concentration on payment processing and checking accounts.

Which bank does not require SSNs?

Banks such as Bank of America, Citibank,  Chase, and Wells Fargo do not require SSNs to open a bank account. They accept ITIN in lieu of SSN. 

Can I open a bank account without my Social Security?

Yes, it is possible to open a bank account without a Social Security number as long as you have an ITIN, ID, and proof of residence. 

Can I open a bank account in the US without SSN?

Yes, foreigners without SSNs can open bank accounts as long as they provide an ITIN and other necessary documents requested.

Bottom Line

It has become tedious for foreigners without an SSN number to open a bank account in the US. However, some banks allow an ITIN to be an alternative, making the process easier and faster. 

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