For the vast majority of Americans, a bank account is one of the basic tools for financial security. According to 2019 figures from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., nearly 95 percent of households are part of the “banked” population – the highest figure ever recorded in the organization’s decade of studying how average Americans deal with their finances. But what about those individuals who may not be represented in the research?

When non-U.S. citizens arrive in America, they face a range of serious difficulties, including figuring out how to keep their money safe and how to avoid paying excessive fees for check-cashing services.

“Without a bank account, new Americans will have less access to their funds, have to pay fees to cash their checks and do without so many of the conveniences available through a checking or savings account,” says Rebecca Morris Hoeft, chief brand officer at Minnesota-based Sunrise Banks.

However, there is good news for non-U.S. citizens: They can open a bank account to avoid some of those high fees and benefit from the security of FDIC insurance. Doing it isn’t easy, but it’s well worth it.

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