I need a $ bank account

Question

We operate an online business selling products in the USA but are struggling with our customers having their transactions declined as we have a UK bank account. We are having difficulty finding a bank account that will give us a real $ account that the US banks wont decline transactions through. What we need is to be able to open a $ account with USA bank but again are struggling as we are a UK company with a UK address and don’t have an American subsidiary or address. Our current UK bank can’t help unless we have a turnover in excess of $500k which is not feasible for us to achieve. Has anyone else had this problem and come up with a solution?

Answer

Hi, I’m puzzled by the need for a US account, is it not possible to use an online payment service such as PayPal? Its also worth checking whether there are any specifc requirements from the IRS to verify that you are not liable to US tax.

Answer

Morning, this is a common hurdle businesses experience with their bank, in fact even at $500k the banks can be less than helpful in providing a solution. I work for the worlds largest non bank provider of international payments and we offer a solution that negates the need for a $US account, can I ask approximately what turnover in dollars and other foreign currency do you have annually, and how many transactions is this spread over?

Thanks Steve

Answer

Thanks for the suggestions.

We are currently using Sagepay. A small proportion of US customers receive fraud alerts when they try to order from us online, and we have been told this is because our bank account is in the UK. This sort of thing causes no end of problems, and the last thing we want is our carefully honed online profile being undermined by posts on US forums saying steer clear of these guys.

Paypal is an option, but we don’t know at the moment if this would solve the problem, and Paypal has its own problems (both for merchants and in terms of customer perceptions).

We don’t sell that much at the moment, maybe $5K with average transaction value of $70. However this is a self-fulfilling prophecy – if our payment systems worked we could sell *much* more!

@JohnHall We are following up the suggestions on that thread, which includes some other possible banks to try, but a UK-based $ account is not the answer. We have been very surprised at how hard this is. We are trying to do our bit to help UK exports by selling in the USA, and we assumed this would be a well-worn path with well known guidelines and best practices.

There are wider issues as well, such as the tax issue which has already been mentioned (and we regard as important, even if the likes of Amazon and Google are not paying UK tax!!). Another issue is the US "BBB" (Better Business Bureau) – usually regarded as a source of junk mail in the UK but quite significant in the US. They won’t let us register either.

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