Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Being street-smart during interviews: Banks!

Although many of the non-US IMG MATCH applicants will have a bank account during their rotations ahead of the MATCH, let’s talk about banks and IMGs in general!

The post may be updated if more banks join the list :D

below are some banks in which IMGs can open an account without having a Green Card:

Bank of America:

1- Available nearly everywhere
2- It gives you a temporary card that you can use for 30 days until your permanent card arrives
3- It has a nice mobile app (better than other banks in my opinion) that can basically do anything, easier than calling them or going to the bank.

1- To avoid the monthly fee of 12 dollars, you have to maintain your balance above 1500$ at any point during the month or you have to deposit 250$ per month.
2- For IMGs, they require 2 forms of identification (compared to one in most of the other banks). These 2 can be your passport and international driving license.
3- If you wanna travel outside the US, it is preferable to activate the “travel notice” feature (via visiting the bank or the app or calling them) because they may temporarily block your debit card if you are using it from a different country.

Don’t forget to go paperless (either using your mobile app or by asking them in the bank) to avoid having infinite unnecessary papers mailed to you especially if you are staying temporarily at a friend’s place!


Citizens Bank:

1- They require 1 form of identification.
2- To avoid their monthly fee of 10$, you can either deposit or let any friend deposit in your account each month even if a dollar OR simply you can open another account for free and auto-circulate a dollar monthly between the 2 accounts and voila, no fees at all.

1- They are less available in some states like Ohio and NY where you will find ATMs only and hardly any branches.
2- They don’t give you a temporary card when you open your account, so you should leave some cash with you till the debit card arrives.
3- YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM YOU WANNA GO PAPERLESS, or else they ll charge you 2 dollars monthly for bank statements that are mailed to your physical mailing address.

When you call Citizens Bank and it asks you for a Social Security Number (SSN) to let you talk to an employee, just wait and say nothing. You ll be asked about the SSN 3 times then you ll be auto-transferred to a human employee.

Good banking everyone :D and don’t forget to comment if you know more "IMG-friendly banks"

And that’s it
Update 4/8/2018

Some friends mentioned: CHASE and Wells Fargo so you may try them too
(Wells Fargo pros and cons are very similar to Bank of America)



  1. There's a great post Murad! From my experience, many said Chase and Wells Fargo are great for students. If they could open one with the observership or electives ID card, should be perfect.

    1. Thank you Anil :) please tell me more so I can update the post (Pros and Cons for each)

    2. Sravanti MandalikaApril 9, 2018 at 8:54 PM

      Wells Fargo's regular checking account also has a monthly service fee of 10$ that can be avoided by a) at least 10 transactions per months, or b) 500$ monthly direct deposits, or c) minimum balance of 1500$.

      However the first 2 months are complimentary and no service fee is charged.

      I have also seen that they have WF ATMs almost everywhere

    3. Hi Murad, sorry for the late post. Here is an update on the bank situation.
      From my experience, TD bank worked great for me, hassle free. They denied my first time application for a bank account citing lack of local address proof as the reason. But I went another day and met a different official at the same bank (at this point I was desperate to get an account :D) who accepted a plain word printed document that said I was staying at X under Y as the landlord with the landlord signature on it (non notarized document, no SSNs of the landlord or anything, and anyone could have easily dismissed it as an invalid document with no value) and they surprisingly accepted it. Maybe I was lucky, idk.

      Pros: 100$ minimum balance, for a permanent bank account. You also get a debit card that works at all locations in the US!
      Cons: Bank branch and ATMs only on the east coast (I use Venmo and PayPal which are linked to TD, and SWIFT wire transfer funds directly from my Indian account to TD).

    4. Anil, thank you very much for your reply :) a year after the first comment :D

  2. You can also look up for Charles Schwab Bank. They do not have any montly fees for checking account and they DO NOT HAVE ATM'S but good thing is you can use their debit card at any atm and they wont charge you a fee for it.


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