Author Topic: Just immigrated to the US - where should I bank?  (Read 542 times)

Aardvark

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Just immigrated to the US - where should I bank?
« on: March 14, 2021, 11:03:01 PM »
What should I be considering, and what are the most Mustachian banks?
Ideally I would like an option that offers everything so that I don't have to fish around again at a later stage when I need something new (like a mortgage).
My wife has a Schwab account for investments. Are there benefits to me opening a non-Schwab (probably Vanguard) account in my name so that we have the best of both? Are there downsides to this?

Any insights would be much appreciated.

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Just immigrated to the US - where should I bank?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2021, 01:24:10 AM »
Almost anyone can qualify for a credit union. Get in on it. Banks can fcuk right off as far as I'm concerned.


cool7hand

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Re: Just immigrated to the US - where should I bank?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2021, 05:22:13 AM »
We use Schwab as both a brokerage and a bank. The fees are low. The brokerage accounts works as our checking account and we have a linked FDIC savings account. They offer their own low-fee index funds, plus those from other vendors including Vanguard. We found a local branch office advisor who is pretty sophisticated and gets our goals. He helped us kick the tires on whether to use insurance products to max out my wife's pension and other goals. As I recall, you get three wire transfers a quarter, which is nice if the need ever arrives. We also linked our credit cards and my wife's remaining employer retirement account, which we can't transfer, so we can see our complete financial picture in one place.

ctuser1

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Re: Just immigrated to the US - where should I bank?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2021, 05:32:00 AM »
My recommendation:
1. Find a good local credit union.
2. Digital Federal Credit Union.

I've worked with many new immigrants who got their first credit cards from DCU. Last I heard, they offer real credit cards on the basis of paystubs alone, and with zero credit history.

FLBiker

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Re: Just immigrated to the US - where should I bank?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2021, 07:06:18 AM »
Another recommendation for a credit union.  I was always willing to pay for checks, but not for checking.  My CU has very low minimum balances (I think like $100) and no fees.  The interest rates are terrible of course, but I don't use the bank for that.  I also had good luck getting a mortgage from them, but I know lots of people use mortgage lending websites for that.

ChickenStash

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Re: Just immigrated to the US - where should I bank?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2021, 08:20:47 AM »
My suggestion is to look at the fees for the things you use the most and just pick the one that is lowest and is convenient. These days, there should be no fees for basic checking and debit card usage.

My experience with credit unions has been hit/miss so I would still check out local/national banks in your area to see what they offer.

Tester

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Re: Just immigrated to the US - where should I bank?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2021, 08:46:01 AM »
In my area First tech federal credit union and BECU were my options when I moved 6 years ago.
I chose First tech, still with them today.
I also got my mortgage from them at a good rate last June.

reeshau

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Re: Just immigrated to the US - where should I bank?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2021, 09:55:48 AM »
One thing you might not expect is the expense and difficulty to send money back home.  The US does not participate in IBAN,  it rather has its own account numbering system.  Large banks generally still rely on wire transfers to send money, and will charge you around $30 per transaction.  Many smaller banks won't even do an international wire transfer.  (I love Ally for many reasons, but was surprised they fall into this category)
If you do want to transfer money, get set up with OFX or Transferwise.  They will transfer for $0, if you are moving over $1,000.  Revolut has also just begun in the US, if you already have an account there.

I do know several people who use Bank of America, specifically for this reason.  Otherwise, as a large bank they generally have higher fees and worse interest rates.  But they can move mkoney internationally almost as easily as with their foreign accounts, and instantly vs. the 2-3 days it would take otherwise.

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Just immigrated to the US - where should I bank?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2021, 04:38:30 PM »
Credit unions, unlike banks, are required to return some profits to members. With my credit union, I have a very nice interest-earning checking account and also enjoy helpful, friendly phone service every time I call. Our credit union is in association with others around the country, offering free use of ATMs in many places. There is also NCUA, which is the credit union equivalent of FDIC insurance, so your checking and savings deposits are guaranteed up to a certain amount.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2021, 04:40:08 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »