9 Banks That Don’t Require Social Security Numbers

Banking

If you don’t have a Social Security number (SSN), you may wonder whether you can open a bank account online or in person. The good news is you may be able to.

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There are some banks that are willing to extend bank accounts to customers without SSNs, as long as they have another type of identification card. Here’s everything you need to know about banks that don’t require Social Security numbers.

What is a Social Security number?

First and foremost, let’s go over what a Social Security number (SSN) is. It’s a nine digit identification number that is assigned to U.S. citizens, permanent U.S. residents, and temporary U.S. residents, like international students. It’s issued by the Social Security Administration, which is a government agency that’s been around since 1935.

At first, the SSN was designed to help the Social Security Administration keep track of people in the U.S. However, over time, it evolved as the go-to number for all types of purposes, like taxation, student and employee records, credit reports, hospital patient records, and more. SSNs are also used to pay taxes.

Initially, SSNs were only assigned to those who were over the age 14. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed this as it mandated that every dependent age five or older that was named on a tax return have their own SSN. This led to the demand for SSNs for younger children. Now, parents can request a SSN number for their newborn child on the birth certificate.

Why do most banks require SSN?

These days, many banks use SSNs to confirm the identities of their customers. With an SSN, a bank can check your banking history and credit score to decide whether they want to approve your request for a bank account. Furthermore, if you earn any interest on any of your bank accounts, your SSN can help report it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Despite the fact that banks often prefer to use SSNs to verify who potential and current customers are, they aren’t legally required to do so. Therefore, some banks don’t require Social Security numbers. If you don’t have an SSN, rest assured you may still be able to open a bank account.

How to Open a Bank Account Without an SSN

If you’d like to open a bank account without a Social Security number, follow these steps.

Determine the Account You Want

There are many types of deposit accounts available at banks. But chances are you’d like a checking account and savings account. While a checking account will make it easier for you to get paid and pay bills and others, a savings account can be a great place for your emergency fund or long-term financial goals.

Other types of accounts you might want to explore include money market accounts, holiday savings accounts, and certificates of deposits (CDs). Some banks even offer loan products, like mortgages, car loans, and personal loans.

Understand Your Identification Documents

Even though you can open a bank account without an SSN, you’ll likely need another ID. That’s why it’s a good idea to jot down all the documents you have and ensure they’re up-to-date and ready to use. With this exercise, you can narrow down the list of banks that may be an option for you.

List of Banks That Don’t Require Social Security Numbers

As stated, most banks do look for Social Security numbers. But some banks are more lenient and open to customers with other forms of identification. Do your research and list banks and other financial institutions that can accept the types of ID documents you have.

While this step may take some time and effort, it’s essential if your goal is to open a bank account without an SSN. This article is a great starting point that is sure to simplify the process. Keep reading for our list of banks that don’t require SSNs.

Compare Account Features and Fees

Once you’ve found a bank or two that piques your interest and accepts the other types of documentation you have, it’s time to compare the features and fees of the various accounts at your disposal.

As you explore your options, you’ll find that bank accounts vary greatly by financial institution. The ideal choice depends on your unique budget, goals, and preferences. Here are some factors to compare as you shop around.

  • Account options: You’ll find that some banks offer a wider selection of accounts than others. While checking accounts and savings accounts are typically available everywhere, more specific accounts, such as money market accounts and CDs aren’t as popular.
  • Fees: Most fees charge fees but some pride themselves on minimal to no fees so you can save money. The most common types of fees that you might want to minimize or avoid include:
    • Monthly fees – for not maintaining a daily or monthly balance
    • ATM fees – if you withdraw funds from an out-of-network ATM
    • Paper statement fees – if you opt for paper statements instead of online statements
    • Transfer fees – if you transfer money from a different bank.
    • Overdraft fees – if you withdraw more money from your account than you have available.
  • Interest rates: Some mainstream banks promote higher-than-average interest rates or annual percentage yield on savings accounts and other open accounts. These rates can make it easier and faster for you to meet your goals.
  • Customer service: Before you move forward with a bank, check out ratings and reviews to make sure it’s reputable. The Better Business Bureau (BBB), Google, and TrustPilot are great places to start.

See also: What’s the Best Strategy for Avoiding ATM Fees?

Gather Your Documents

As soon as you choose a bank account, visit their website or call customer services to find out what documents you’ll need to apply for a bank account without an SSN. In most cases, you’ll need documents that verify your name, date of birth, and address.

Some options include an identification card, like a passport, government issued driver’s license, state ID, alien identification card, or other government issued document. You might also be able to use a utility bill with your physical address.

Submit Your Application

Then, fill out your application. Depending on the banking institution, you might be able to complete this step online from the comfort of your own home or in-person at a local bank branch.

Be sure to review your application carefully before you submit it as errors and inaccuracies can lead to delays with approval. Remember that some banks require initial deposits so be prepared to make it with cash or an online transfer.

Monitor Your Account

You’re not done once you submit your application and make an initial deposit. As you use your account to cover daily expenses and savings goals, keep tabs on it. Make sure you always know how much you have in it so that you can avoid overspending. Some banks even let you set up text or email notifications for free that will inform you if your account balance drops below a certain amount.

Banks That Don’t Require Social Security Numbers

Now that we’ve gone over what SSNs are and how to open an account if you don’t have one, it’s time to list the various banks that are open to customers without SSNs. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list and you’ll need to do your own research to learn about all the options available to you.

1. Chase

Chase, which is headquartered in New York, specializes in a wide variety of accounts which often come with bonuses. In addition, you can turn to the bank for home loans, auto loans, credit cards, and investment accounts. There are almost 4,000 branches and more than 16,000 ATMs throughout the U.S.

You may be able to take advantage of a Chase debit card and bank accounts without a Social Security number, as long as you have a green card or visa. Note that while Chase has a widespread presence, it’s not as common in rural areas so a Chase account might not be a good choice unless you live in a larger town or major city.

2. Bank of America

Headquartered in Charlotte, Bank of America provides checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, loans, and investing services. Since there are about 4,200 branches across the U.S. with 17,000 ATMs, you’ll likely find a Bank of America location near you.

Even though you can open an account with an ITIN instead of an SSN, you’ll have to go through the process in-person at a local branch. You may only apply online with a valid SSN.

3. Citibank

Headquartered in New York, Citibank is one of the largest U.S. banks with over 2,600 branches in 19 countries. If you have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or ITIN, you may be able to open a Citi bank account without a SSN. But you’ll likely need to confirm your address.

With an account from Citi, you might be able to lock in a generous welcome bonus that can jumpstart your financial goals. In addition to personal checking accounts and savings accounts, Citi also offers retirement accounts, CDs, credit cards, debit cards, home loans, and wealth management services.

4. PNC

Pittsburgh based PNC may be an option if you want to open a bank account but don’t have a Social Security number. Its offerings include checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts, mortgages, car loans, and more.

PNC may be a great choice if you’re looking for no minimum balance requirements or opening deposit minimums as well as a bonus for opening an account. Keep in mind that while you won’t need an SSN or ITIN, PNC will require you to verify your address.

5. Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union is a Chicago-based credit union that anyone can join as long as you’re at least 18 and have a SSN or ITIN. You can also become a member if you join Foster Care to Success (FC2S), which offers education grants and scholarships to U.S. teens in foster care. It’s known for its free checking accounts, which don’t come with any monthly fees.

While you might be able to open an account with an ITIN, the financial institution will likely perform a soft credit check on you. Even though this won’t hurt your credit history or get reported to the credit bureaus, you might not get approved if your credit score is too low.

6. Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is an online bank that’s been around since 2016. Its product offerings include a checking account without a monthly fee, a variety of savings products, home loans, investing options, and financial education resources. It’s available to customers in all 50 states and provides free domestic and international wire transfers.

You can sign up for a Marcus account online bank account with an ITIN, instead of SSN but there are no physical branches so you’ll have to do so online. Marcus might make sense if you’re comfortable with online banking.

7. Self-Help Credit Union and Self Help Federal Credit Union

Self-Help Credit Union and Self Help Federal Credit Union are nonprofit financial organizations that target low-income customers. Its bank accounts and services might be an option if you live in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, California, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Washington.

You may open a personal checking account so you can pay bills and cash checks. You can also get a savings account, money market account, immigration loan, or IRA. This can all be done with a valid driver’s license, passport, state-issued ID, residency card, military ID, or ID card from a Mexican consulate.

8. Latino Federal Credit Union

Latino Credit Union in North Carolina offers membership to anyone. Even if you’re not Hispanic, you may take advantage of its offerings. All you have to do is join the Latino Community Development Center (LCDC) and pay a one-time family membership fee of $10.

If you don’t have a Social Security number, you might qualify for an account, like a regular savings account, money market account, holiday savings account, or youth savings account with an ITIN or government-issued ID from another country.

9. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is a key player in the banking world. Headquartered in San Francisco, it offers no shortage of financial products and services.

Some of their products include checking accounts, savings accounts, kids saving accounts, CDs, credit cards, home loans, personal loans, and small business accounts. Plus the financial institution has a robust website that can help you maximize your money.

While the bank doesn’t require an SSN, you’ll likely need an ITIN to open a bank account. If you don’t have one, PNC might accept an alternative ID, like a visa, foreign passport, alien ID card, alien identification card number, foreign driver’s license, or green card.

Other Banks That May Not Require Social Security Numbers

Some readers have reported that they’ve opened a bank account at the following banks without a social security number. If you’re interested in opening a bank account at one of these banks, reach out to them to inquire about their requirements.

  • BMO Harris
  • Charles Schwab
  • HSBC
  • TD Bank
  • US Bank

Smaller Banks That May Not Require Social Security Numbers

  • Bask Bank
  • East West Bank
  • First Republic Bank
  • Harvard Credit Union
  • Hometown Bank
  • Meriwest Credit Union
  • Patelco Credit Union
  • RBC Bank

Benefits of Opening a US Bank Account

If you’re hesitant to open a bank account without an SSN, consider these advantages to make the most informed decision.

  • Financial protection: It’s risky to keep a lot of cash at home. To protect the money you worked so hard to earn, it’s wise to store it in a bank account. By doing so, you’ll still have it after a fire, food, theft, or other disaster that’s outside your control.
  • Affordable: Gone are the days you have to pay an arm and a leg to open a bank account. Many traditional banks, online banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions have moved to a no fee or minimal fee model. You may be able to open a free checking account without a Social Security number.
  • Build a financial history: Unless you have a financial history, such as a credit report or credit score, it can be difficult or even impossible to get approved for a credit card, mortgage, car loan, or student loan. A banking history can help you establish history and demonstrate responsible financial habits that may open the doors to many financial opportunities down the road. It’s a great way to build a strong financial foundation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all banks require Social Security numbers?

There are some national banks, local banks, and other different banks that offer bank accounts to customers without Social Security numbers. Some examples include Bank of America, TD Bank, Chase, PNC, Wells Fargo, and Citi. Generally speaking, you’ll need an ITIN instead.

What are my options if I don’t have a SSN or ITIN?

Unfortunately, your options for a bank account are limited without an SSN or ITIN. You’ll have to search for a bank, credit union, or other financial institution that accepts other forms of identity like a passport number, military ID, current driver’s license, state ID, or government issued ID.

How can I get an ITIN number?

If you’d like an ITIN number, complete Form W-7 and send it to the IRS. You can go through this process online or apply in person at a local IS location. You’ll receive your ITIN within 7 weeks if you’re eligible.

Do undocumented immigrants qualify for a bank account?

If you’re an immigrant or noncitizen, don’t worry. You may be able to open an account with a passport or ITIN.

How much money do I need to open a personal bank account or business bank account?

Many banks will let you open a bank account with $0. Others might require a minimum deposit of $25, $50, or $100 or more.

Bottom Line

There are countless financial and tax benefits to storing your money in a bank account. If you don’t have a Social Security number, rest assured that there are options available to you.

As long as you check out our list of banks above, do your own research, and compare the pros and cons of each, you’ll be able to hone in on the right bank account for your unique situation. Best of luck!

Anna Baluch
Meet the author

Anna Baluch is a freelance personal finance writer from Cleveland, OH. She enjoys helping people make smart financial decisions.