On Wednesday we opened a bank account at the Bank of America. We decided not to do this online, so we went there in the morning and were actually surprised by how easy it went. You don’t have to be afraid about it, but I still do have a few tips for every Greencard winner that will have to do this soon:
1. What you need to open a bank account is: A Social Security Number, your Greencard and Passport, an american address and an american phone number. For the address and phone number you can use those of friends. Postboxes and foreign phone numbers are not allowed. Also â at the Bank of America â you need a national E-Mail-Address for online banking. Our banker told us to get one at G-Mail oder Yahoo for example.
2. Bring some money! There are minimum amounts that have to stay on your account in order to keep you away from paying a monthly fee.
3. Don’t think that you will get a credit card immediately! In the US you will not get a credit card without a credit history, but you will be able to get a secured credit card. A secured credit card is like a Pre-Paid credit card. You decide on a certain amount â for example $ 1000 â and pay it to the bank as a deposit. For six months you can now use your secured credit card as a normal one. You can buy stuff and have to pay your bills. The only important thing is: Do not buy stuff for more than 1000 bugs monthly and do pay your bills in time. After six months the bank will check if you are on the level to get a “real” credit card.
4. If you like Hello Kitty, do not open a joint bank account with your husband. This is what happened to me and now I am not allowed to get my Hello Kitty checks and cards, because Flo doesn’t want to have them.
For now we are proud owners of our temporary debit cards and checks. In about two weeks our “real” cards with a beach image on them will arrive. But it still feels good to be a little more american after all.