Thursday, December 18, 2014

Opening our first American bank account

After a long and complex visa process, we thought opening a bank account would be somehow tedious. We were wrong! We started by requesting an appointment online at our nearest Wells Fargo. They even sent me an Outlook reminder, which is absolutely awesome and something that every bank should implement!

 Once the time was right, we went to the bank and joined the line. After telling the lady from the front desk about our appointment, we ended up in the (very open) waiting room. The bank Manager says hello and offers us a coffee before coming back with two stuffed ponies under him arm to his office.

The waiting room is crowded and quite not our usual French waiting room with its traditional wood furniture and its lack of confidentiality. We eventually made it to Monica’s desk.

We explained to her our situation (as if the accents were not enough to identify us as Frenchies!) and what type of accounts we want to open. She kindly explained the Credit Score system (which to us sounds a lot like buying supplier’s trust through interests and debt). We fulfilled the usual forms, gave her our passports and the money to deposit on both our checking and saving accounts. We didn’t have a US address or social security number yet, but no worries!

We left with a debit card (with neither name nor chip, which will be the novelty of the upcoming months when it is standard to us) and a check book per account. We also leave with a pony because we asked nicely. It seems like we’ll be well treated in there!

So in short, we spent more time waiting that actually opening the account and the most difficult will be to get used to this banking system so different from ours…