Bank account for your USA business – My Experience

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This could be very tricky and there is no general advice. At first, I will tell you the story of how I successfully opened bank account for my US LLC and at the end of the article some summary. In 2017-2018 I was in Toronto on Working holiday visa in Canada. I decided to establish my first US company and because of tax benefits, I formed LLC fully online in Wyoming. After receiving ITIN number I wanted to open bank account. Without bank account, it’s hard to start any business especially today in the modern world when you need somehow receive payments from your customers right. I remember I wanted to open a bank account in some Wyoming’s bank so I called some banks and sent many emails and thought they would be able to open by phone or online. Every call or email started similarly: We can open a bank account for your company if you have SSN. If you don’t know what SSN is read this. Of course, I did not have SSN as a foreigner.

Okay, what now? I had Wyoming LLC but cannot open bank account from Toronto. I considered the option I would fly to Wyoming and try to open a bank account in person. Flights were very expensive so I decided to rent a car and go to Niagara Falls in state of New York. It’s only 1.5 hours by car. That day I visited over 5 different banks and they had usually two requirements.

  1. The company is officially registered in NY state as a domestic or foreign LLC
  2. You as a person can prove your personal US address
  3. Sometimes they wanted SSN

I was desperate because in less than a week I was going back to Europe and definitely wanted to have prepared US company for some business including bank account.

Finally, I visited Key Bank and talked to the nice bank clerk and she told me that they only want to that the company is registered in NY. I was happy and tell her I’ll be back when my LLC is registered in NY. During the way back to Toronto I checked Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls – February 2018
After arriving I immediately registered my WY LLC in state NY as a foreign LLC. We will talk about this topic, what is domestic and what is a foreign LLC in a different post. A few days later I visited that bank branch again and successfully opened checking bank account and apply for my first debit business card! This story might sound crazy and it is. But trust me I heard many similar crazy stories from other entrepreneurs that it wasn’t easy for them to open bank account. Summary: Before you want to open bank for you US business have prepared this:
  • form business entity such a LLC or another different type of company
  • have physical address for your company in US
  • have already ITIN number for your company
  • visit banks in person in the same state where your company is registered
  • bring personal IDs such a passport or driver’s licence
  • bring articles of organization
I hope this article will help you to avoid the same struggle that I had! I also found this company. They should be able to open a bank account for your US company when you are not US resident. They claim it is possible online and you don’t have to be even in person in the US. However, I don’t have personal experience with them so search more by yourself.

How to obtain US number from abroad

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Being the owner of some business has several advantages. One of them is you can get more affordable phone plans. I personally use this wireless provider. They work on the T-Mobile network and I have never had a problem with coverage. You can get an unlimited phone plan with unlimited 4G LTE Data for only  $40 per month + tax which is good. There is no contract so once you need close your line you can without any problem. This provider offers plans only for businesses and you have to prove it with an EIN number. For those who does not know what EIN number is please read this post.

If you plan come to US from abroad I highly recommend you have prepared US SIM with your US number before arrival. I remember when I arrived to LA for the second time and had only number from my country in that time. For some reason the data did not work and I got so lost in airport. For my generation being without internet espicially in new place it’s pretty crazy. I wanted to use Uber in order to get for my rent car and instead of that I had to take very expensive taxi.

You’re probably wondering how to get SIM card to your country if you don’t have address or someone else who could receive your SIM in US. I’m pretty sure that most of the phone providers will only send you your new SIM to some US address. There is pretty good service known as a mail forwarding that enable you use US address so you can comfortably receive any mail or package and then decide to forward anywhere in the world.  It’s cheap and it works.

If someone has a better offer for phone plans than I use please write a comment below! This blog is here in order to help get better information  and possibly save our money

Learn English First!

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My little advice for all non-native speakers is pretty simple!

Learn English First! – Before you start the first business in the US.

Of Course, you don’t have to be perfect and fluent but you should be able to communicate and more importantly understand. It will also help you be more confident in business. Look at me I am not perfect, my grammar is probably bad and sometimes it’s still hard to express myself but honestly, I feel already comfortable to run business.

Do you need motivation? Here it goes 🙂

It is almost 4 years since I visited the US for the first time. I was 24 years old and honestly thought that I had pretty good basics of English. I remember how I was preparing in Europe every day for almost 2 months before I went to NYC.

After arrival at JFK, it was a big shock for me. I went to some grocery store and I didn’t understand anything that was cashier telling me.

The second day I was on my way to the nearest T-Mobile store in order to buy my first US number. I spent there a really long time and with big problems, I got my first SIM with US number!

After 1 week when I was really frustrated about my ability to understand, one of my friends recommends me to visit an English school in Manhattan. For the next 2 months, I had been attending this school from Monday to Thursday for 4 hours every day. Later when I was leaving NYC I was able to understand and more importantly talk to someone else!

I studied in this school: https://www.learnenglish.com/

I would highly recommend to anyone who still struggles with English don’t be shy and join some English classes and try to talk to Americans every day. Just use every opportunity to be in touch with English. People don’t care if you are not perfect, they will help you when they see your effort to speak!

In my time in Canada, I was a student in this school

After one year in Toronto, I was able to incorporate my own company, find a bank and open bank account, call to IRS and obtain EIN. Why am I writing this? It’s annoying but everything takes some time but in my example, you can see improvement. First time in the US I almost did not understand. Today I write the blog in English!

What else helped me? Reading books in English! What I would recommend: Start with some easy book or the best way is to read about some topic you really like it! For instance, I like Arnold so I chose his bio. However, you can read whatever you like!

What is my business in Europe?

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Well, I come originally from the Czech Republic. The country next to Germany. You might ask why I mentioned Germany? First of all most of you will probably know Germany rather than the Czech Republic so you can see where I come from but this is not the main reason. I am CEO and co-owner in the car business. Our company buys brand new cars in our country (Czech) and sell them to car dealers mostly to Germany. This business is called re-export. It is probably important to mention I used to work as a business sales manager in a local car dealership a couple of years ago so it helped me start this business. The fun is that I didn’t like to be an employee but thanks to this work experience I run this business today.

The whole point is that we are able to find and buy cars cheaper in our country or cars that are not available and sell them to dealers in EU. Thanks to the fact that Germany is probably the strongest economy in the EU their citizens and businesses can afford mostly new cars. It is not a secret that countries from the post-soviet union or let’s say from eastern Europe sell many cars, all brands to richer western Europe. Sometimes it no makes sense to make new VW Golf in a factory in Germany – then sells it to VW dealer to Czech Republic where our company buys it and sells it back to some EU dealer in Germany. But it brings me money so I don’t care!

New Seat Leon Sportwagon 2020 that we just sold to Germany (Seat is originally a car brand from Spain currently not sold in North America, however, the car is a twin with VW Golf MK8)

Last year we sold over 200 cars and had an annual turnover of $3.7M and this year (2020) even in this COVID shit we are going to sell something between 400-500 cars and hopefully have a turnover of $7-9M! I love this business, especially for one reason. I can manage it almost completely online so I don’t have to be present in Europe. I don’t like businesses that keep you in someplace as a slave. The reason I do business is that it brings freedom or it will one day.

Above you can see three new Seat Leons loaded on the truck waiting for transport to their new customers in Germany.

A similar example could be that someone buys cars in Canada or in Mexico and sells them to the US. By the way, if there is someone from you guys who are involved in some car business in the US and knows if this works here then don’t hesitate to contact me and discuss. I am interested to talk about that because I personally believe that the schema of business could be very similar and why not to try do this business in the US.