increasing number of banks offer international remittance accounts
for people who want to be able to transfer money home to relatives
or friends who still live in their native countries. These accounts
make it easy to handle cross-border transactions without the risk of
sending cash or the expense of using nonbank transfer agents such as
Western Union, Money Gram, or their competitors.
If you’re interested in this service and don’t have an account with
a bank, it may be easier to open one than you think. You will
discover that many of the major national banks as well as some more
local banks and credit unions offer these accounts. Each of the
banks will offer a slightly different program and charge slightly
different fees, so you’ll want to compare them to see which is most
convenient for you and for the people at home.
To open an account, you will need identification that the bank will
accept, such as an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN)
or an identity card that’s been issued by the country where you are
a citizen. ITINs are
available to people who weren’t born in the U.S., aren’t eligible
for a Social Security card, but are required to file income tax
You can usually find the information you need about what accounts are offered, how they work, and what you need to open one from a customer service representative in a bank branch. There are usually printed materials that may be available in your native language as well as English. You may also find information online at the bank’s Web site. You may discover that the remittance accounts are part of a larger account package that allows you to have access to other bank services as well.
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