Complete Guide to Opening Bank Accounts at Major Banks in the United States

Guide to Opening Bank Accounts in the US

A Comprehensive Guide to Opening Bank Accounts in Major US Banks: Differences between BOA and HuaMei Bank

1. Bank of America (BOA)

Bank of America (BOA) is abbreviated as BOA in the US. It has a long history, established in the 1880s, and has around 5,600 branches and 16,200 ATMs in over 150 countries worldwide. BOA is the largest commercial bank in the US in terms of assets and the third-largest company in terms of total revenue. It is the 13th largest company in the world.

Required Documents:

1. Articles of Incorporation

2. Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)

3. Bylaws

4. Scanned copies of directors’ IDs and passports (in color)

5. US phone number and email address (*must have, our company can provide leasing services)

6. Passport photo with hand holding passport (*please provide if possible, otherwise there will be additional fees)

Time required to open a corporate account: 20-30 days

Applicable groups for opening a Bank of America account:

1. Overseas asset allocation

2. Spare cash for study, immigration, tourism, etc.

3. Cross-border e-commerce companies/individuals

4. People who are inconvenient or do not have time to go to the US

2. HuaMei Bank

Headquartered in California, HuaMei Bank is a commercial bank that serves mainly the Chinese market in the US. As of March 31, 2019, the bank has total assets of $41 billion and a market value of $7.4 billion, ranking among the top 25 banks in the US.

HuaMei Bank has outstanding performance and has been widely praised by the industry. It has been ranked among the top 15 “Top 100 Banks in the US” by Forbes magazine for nine consecutive years (2010-2019). (That is, it has been listed again this year.)

Note: On January 16, Forbes released the “2019 America’s Best Banks” list. Cathay Bank stood out among many large banks with strong operating performance and ranked eighth. This is the sixth time the bank has been in the top ten of the list.

The bank has a total of 137 branches, spread across the East and West coasts of the United States and the Houston area in the Midwest. In Greater China, Cathay Bank’s network covers Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shantou, Chongqing, and Xiamen.

2. The Cathay Bank Shanghai office has moved near Lujiazui, and the new address provides modern office space that matches the bank’s future business development in China. However, this has little impact on our future video witness account opening.

Cathay Bank Account Opening Process:

The video witness account opening method is the same as personal account opening, but the information required to be submitted has changed.

1. Prepare the following materials:

US company certificate ARTICLES, US federal tax number EIN, ID card scan (front and back), passport scan (cover, personal information page), domestic address, phone number, frequently used email, account opening questionnaire*2

2. Submit materials

Submit the above materials to us, and we will assist in filling out an “account opening data form”.

3. Wait 1-2 days

What to do next:

① Wait for the signing documents to be received by email and print them out

② Wait for the phone call to schedule a video account opening time

We will contact you by phone or WeChat to schedule a video time.

4. Activate the account

Finally, please deposit $5,000 or more into the account within two weeks to activate the account and open online banking.

Here we need to mention the issue of account management fees:

For personal accounts, if the balance is above $1500, there will be no account management fee of $5/month. For company accounts, if the balance is above $5000, there will be no account management fee of $14/month.

Account activation method:

There are two specific ways to activate an account:

When you receive account information from the US, you can activate the account by transferring money to the account through ACH or WIRE. The two methods are introduced as follows:

①ACH – Applicable conditions: Remitter and Beneficiary are both US banks

ACH is the Automated Clearing House system, which is an electronic clearing system between US financial institutions. It is also the most stable and efficient batch exchange center in the United States, providing participating deposit institutions with bank-to-bank payments, electronic payments, clearing services, and other services.

ACH has high efficiency, and the transaction settlement usually only takes one working day. The fees are low. Compared with other payment methods such as wire transfer, the handling fee for wire transfer is usually between $10-$25/transaction, while ACH is usually only $1-$2.

For payments between US banks, ACH payment is the preferred method.

Friends who operate US stocks know that not long ago, CCB could still withdraw funds. Now, domestic bank accounts cannot be used for brokerage account withdrawals. The most common way to deposit or withdraw funds to/from the brokerage account is through ACH.

②WIRE – Applicable conditions: The remitter or beneficiary is not a US bank, such as a mainland account or a Hong Kong account.

Wire transfer is the most commonly used international remittance method. After we open the account, whether it is activation or transfer, we basically use wire transfer to transfer our money in the domestic bank to East West Bank. There are three specific ways to operate: exchange through online banking or APP of mainland banks, and use other practical functions after completing the exchange.

Pay bills; transfer funds between accounts; use the mobile camera function to deposit checks; view the sample of cleared checks;

One thing to remind everyone:

The remaining balance of the account should be higher than $5000. If the account is less than $5000, a monthly account management fee of $12 will be charged. It is recommended to transfer $5100 for the first time. There are corresponding wire transfer fees for international remittances.

The company account also has its own physical card, but we won’t post its photo here.

As for whether BOA or HuaMei Bank is better:

A new American company has been established and wants to open a US account mainly to buy goods from American suppliers. Is it better to open a Bank of America (BOA) account or a HuaMei Bank account?

Which bank to choose depends on your personal needs. The following is a comparison between Bank of America (BOA) and HuaMei Bank from several main aspects for reference:

1. Number of branches: BOA Bank is like China Bank in China, well-known in the United States, with a large distribution of branches, high recognition, and a large number of users; HuaMei Bank has relatively few branches in the United States, and its international reputation and usage are lower than BOA;

2. Whether face-to-face signing is required to open an account: BOA account can be opened without going to the United States or face-to-face signing, and only requires the submission of materials; HuaMei Bank requires face-to-face signing at domestic branches;

3. Devices received: BOA has a bank card that can be operated through online banking on the mobile app; HuaMei Bank only has a virtual card account, and transfer through online banking is not allowed, only wire transfer;

4. Transfer time: BOA’s corporate account speed is fast, and it can be received in 1 working day. HuaMei Bank needs customer manager’s review, and if there is a holiday, the transfer time will be extended, which is relatively longer;

5. Account management fee: BOA account with a deposit of $2000 or more is exempt from account management fees; HuaMei Bank account with a deposit of $5000 or more is exempt from $14 management fees;

6. Handling Fees:

BOA: Outgoing transfer within the U.S.: $30 per transaction; Outgoing transfer outside the U.S. (in foreign currency): $35 per transaction; Outgoing transfer outside the U.S. (in USD): $45 per transaction;

Incoming transfer within the U.S.: $12 per transaction; Incoming transfer outside the U.S. (in USD): $15 per transaction; Incoming transfer outside the U.S. (in foreign currency): $35 per transaction;

Cathay Bank: Online banking service fee: $30 per month; Online telegraphic transfer service fee: $24 per month; International telegraphic transfer: $16 per transaction; Domestic telegraphic transfer within the U.S.: $12 per transaction.

In summary, if there are frequent account transactions, it is recommended to choose BOA for account opening. If there are only occasional transactions, Cathay Bank can be considered, as it has a price advantage in account opening.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our top stories.

We will continue to update BusinessDialogue; if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us!


Was this article helpful?

93 out of 132 found this helpful

Discover more