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Bank refusing to open new account because SSC "valid for work only with DHS authorization"

#1 Hypnos

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 11:50 PM

After recently receiving my social security card (my I-485 is still pending, so I used my EAD to obtain the SSN) I tried to open a new bank account at the online bank Perkstreet.

As part of the process, they asked for a copy of my social security card "for verification", which I supplied. A couple of days later I received a notice in the mail, stating that they "could not open an account at this time", due to "bank policies" preventing their acceptance of "a tax identification number that is 'Valid for Work Only with DHS Authorization'".

Needless to say, I am not happy about this.

1) They stated I provided a "tax identification number" (presumably meaning an ITIN, whereas I actually provided a social security number and card).

2) Isn't this discriminatory against immigrants?

I am applying for an online debit card and checking account. There is no credit check, so my lack of credit history should not be an issue.

I have emailed them asking them to reconsider, and stated that I will file a complaint with the Consumer Help Division of the Federal Reserve, should they continue to refuse to open an account based upon the reason they stated. I am also thinking that it may violate the law prohibiting discrimination against immigrants, although I would need to research that more.

I just wondered if anyone else had run into this issue and had experience in resolving it.
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#2 Dave&Roza

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 12:38 AM

After recently receiving my social security card (my I-485 is still pending, so I used my EAD to obtain the SSN) I tried to open a new bank account at the online bank Perkstreet.

As part of the process, they asked for a copy of my social security card "for verification", which I supplied. A couple of days later I received a notice in the mail, stating that they "could not open an account at this time", due to "bank policies" preventing their acceptance of "a tax identification number that is 'Valid for Work Only with DHS Authorization'".

Needless to say, I am not happy about this.

1) They stated I provided a "tax identification number" (presumably meaning an ITIN, whereas I actually provided a social security number and card).

2) Isn't this discriminatory against immigrants?

I am applying for an online debit card and checking account. There is no credit check, so my lack of credit history should not be an issue.

I have emailed them asking them to reconsider, and stated that I will file a complaint with the Consumer Help Division of the Federal Reserve, should they continue to refuse to open an account based upon the reason they stated. I am also thinking that it may violate the law prohibiting discrimination against immigrants, although I would need to research that more.

I just wondered if anyone else had run into this issue and had experience in resolving it.


We went to a local bank and opened a joint account and all I did was rattle off my wife's SSN. They never saw the card with the restriction. You might want to find a local bank you can visit in person to get the account rather than dealing with a faceless on-line bank. You will find that banks are just like the SSA and USCIS in that it depends on their training. I had real fun dealing with the idiots at my bank when it came to dealing with my Mother's estate. They kept insisting that I needed this or that from the court but we did not need to probate her will and only had to follow the instructions outlined in her trust. What a royal PITA. By the way, the SNN is a tax ID number as my SSC states that it is "valid for tax purposes only, not valid for identification." Boy have we come a long way since then :blush: . Have you tried supplying the DHS authorization i.e. the EAD card?

Like I said it might be easier to deal with someone in person.

Good luck,

Dave

Edited by Dave&Roza, 25 December 2012 - 12:39 AM.

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#3 hnubno

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 12:42 AM

I think the banks logic is that you opening your own acct without being able to work meaning you can over draw or use checks without being able to put money into the bank with no job. I'm not sure the laws on opening bank acct but each bank probably has their own standards on it. Also why don't you open one with your spouse or is that what you did and was denied. My husband was able to be added onto my acct but Im not sure they would have let him open on his pen.., we didn't even think to do that
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#4 Hypnos

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 12:57 AM

I had researched a lot of banks and Perkstreet was my bank of choice because of the rewards they offered. Online reviews of them also seemed quite complementary.

I already have a bank account elsewhere that I ultimately want to migrate to somewhere else. That "somewhere else" was going to be Perkstreet; now I'm not so sure...

I'm just not even sure it's legal for them to discriminate like this.
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#5 blankmedia

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 01:59 AM

Its because they don't want to bother verifying with DHS that you are legal to work as the authorization on your particular SSN/EAD can be revoked by DHS at any time (for instance if your I-485 were to be denied). Just find another bank.
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#6 Hypnos

Hypnos

    Every deletion adds to my power



Posted 25 December 2012 - 03:11 AM

That should not be an issue. Illegal immigrants can open bank accounts using ITINs. Legal presence isn't required to open a bank account; proper ID and either an ITIN or a social security number (for interest-bearing accounts) is all that is mandated by law.

I am kicking up a stink about it, because I think it's bs, but if they dig in I guess I will just move on.
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#7 Nich-Nick

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 08:32 PM

2) Isn't this discriminatory against immigrants?



Are you an immigrant yet or just a B2 visitor? Seems like without permanent resident status, you are not likely guaranteed any rights. Maybe you just need to calm down, get the greencard, change your Social Security card, then start making demands. Many K1s can't get a driver's license or work immediately, but thats the rules and I don't see it as discrimination. It takes a while for things to fall into place, especially adjusting from a tourist visa.
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#8 Hypnos

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 11:54 PM

One thing I won't accept and never will is someone trying to pull a fast one on me. In this case the bank did not even attempt to ask to see my green card and / proof of legal status (though as I said above, they should not need to; they only asked me to verify my social security number by showing them the card, which was done) which I guess should be an alarm bell in itself that something is fishy here.

"Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity" is the saying, and I'm not sure which of them applies in this situation.

My "demand" is to be treated the same as every other legal immigrant (which I am since my AoS is pending); heck, even illegal aliens can open bank accounts using an ITIN (although probably not with Perkstreet!).

Edited by Hypnos, 25 December 2012 - 11:55 PM.

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#9 Nich-Nick

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 06:33 AM

One thing I won't accept and never will is someone trying to pull a fast one on me. In this case the bank did not even attempt to ask to see my green card and / proof of legal status (though as I said above, they should not need to; they only asked me to verify my social security number by showing them the card, which was done) which I guess should be an alarm bell in itself that something is fishy here.

"Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity" is the saying, and I'm not sure which of them applies in this situation.

My "demand" is to be treated the same as every other legal immigrant (which I am since my AoS is pending); heck, even illegal aliens can open bank accounts using an ITIN (although probably not with Perkstreet!).

Did you provide a copy of the EAD card also? Your social security card basically says it's invalid without the authorization from DHS (an EAD or greencard). So what is the bank supposed to think when they get a SS card looking fishy? Connect the dots for them because they don't study immigration law.
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#10 Hypnos

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:07 AM

The social security card is only not valid for work with that endorsement, for all other purposes there should be no issue. For banking there should be no issue, but they are choosing to make a big deal out of it.

All that is required for opening a bank account is (1) valid picture ID, and (2) either a social security number or an ITIN if it is an interest-bearing account. This is only to prove my identity, that I am who I am say I am and that my social security number is what I say it is.

Edited by Hypnos, 26 December 2012 - 07:11 AM.

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#11 LIFE'SJOURNEY

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:20 AM

A bank can refuse you the option to open an account, based on not credit worthleness. Since your SS card indicated you aare unable to work, their logic is you are not credit worthleness (s.p)
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#12 LeftCoastLady

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:43 AM

A bank can refuse you the option to open an account, based on not credit worthleness. Since your SS card indicated you aare unable to work, their logic is you are not credit worthleness (s.p)


Banks also look at banking history. Is your other account based in the U.S.? If you don't have any in the U.S., that can also be a reason for denial. Online banks are great for some, but have their limitations unless they're used in conjunction with a bank with a physical presence (e.g. Chase, Bank of America, a local credit union, etc.)
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#13 LIFE'SJOURNEY

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 01:17 PM

Since it is an online Bank, it could be located any where in the world. Subject to it's country rules and laws.
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#14 Darnell

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 01:29 PM

The EAD is your DHS authorization.

Fire off a nice letter, include a copy of it and the ssn card
and ask them to redo all, carefully noting in the letter
that the EAD is the official DHS authorization document that they require.

Don't like letters? Call in, get a CSR, explain all, be prepared to fax in yer EAD.
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#15 FoundMy#1

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:48 PM

No, it is not discriminatory towards anyone. I'd recommend that you go to any one of your local banks. If you still have an issue have your spouse assist you as a co-signer at the bank they use

Best of luck!
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