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Old 07.07.2011, 22:43
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which US bank account to open

I am in the US for some months and I need to transfer money to my Swiss account, as for ID bank they charge 40$ for international wire, and 25$ for receiving money from overseas, I have an student ID and I can open an account at any bank, are there any cheaper options? And which American bank would you recommend?

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Old 08.07.2011, 00:46
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Re: which US bank account to open

Often - not always - there are less fees involved with opening an account at a "Credit Union" rather than a "bank."

Check with your school (particularly if it is a university) and see if there is a financial establishment they associate themselves with as usually there are discounts or special account agreements between the uni and the bank / cu. (As example, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona has some sort of special situation set up for their students and faculty with Space Coast Credit Union.)

Also, to make things easier for yourself, if you have the right kind of paperwork, you will likely find it to your advantage to get a state ID or a driver's license in whichever state you live... sometimes there are issues with banks accepting other identification. (Passport would work but who wants to run around with their passport all the time?)
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Old 08.07.2011, 00:53
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Re: which US bank account to open

But a credit union will still need to send the wire via a commercial bank, so they will still charge a somewhat hefty fee for it.

My father uses western union to send any birthday/xmas gifts because his bank got all confused when it came to an international wire, but they do all pretty much charge about the same rate.
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Old 08.07.2011, 07:26
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Re: which US bank account to open

I would call your swiss bank here and ask them for their "partner" bank around your area. Most banks have direct or indirect relations with some counterpart over in the States, and this may help bring down the charges a bit. Just ask your swiss bank or the one that will be used often for the transfer how the money would be routed if it was going the other way (i.e. - from CH to your location in the US) and then I suggest just connecting to that bank. On the US side, double-check that their fees actually depending on the receiving bank....could save you some work in case the fee is flat no matter what bank you are sending it to.

Regarding US banks, all of them want your money so the choices are wide and if you are only there for a few months, the services provided will be more or less the same and at the level that you will need.
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Old 08.07.2011, 07:43
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Re: which US bank account to open

Banks in the US still tend to be somewhat local or regional. Which banks have ATM machines where you are? I still have an account with US Bank - no monthly fees, no minimum balance and they have a branch in the town where I grew up.

For transfer of money, xe.com for example is good for small (1-2k or less) transactions. For larger transactions, other fee structures make more sense.
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Old 08.07.2011, 07:47
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Re: which US bank account to open

The usual conduit bank out of the US is citibank for wires...though, with all the banks melting down this may have changed. How much the bank charges has little to do with what bank it goes through though.

And JFC on a pogo-stick, the fees are the least of your worries as back in 2002 I needed to wire some money to FI, well after the Euro was introduced, and I had the head of wire transfers (at BofA in Boston) ask me, "What currency do they use?". I'm like, seriously? In spite of that, BofA is probably one of the better banks to do wires with.

I could rant for hours on the difficulty of the US, the banks and their archaic inability to get with the digital in terms of moving money back and forth across the atlantic. This also hasn't been helped by Osama and Co. since 2001.

I'd rather send money by carrier pigeon if I could....
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