For international students

Get a U.S. Bank Account in 5 Minutes

Ellis is the first bank account designed for international students – with zero monthly fees, free international wire transfers, mobile banking, and tons of benefits.
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Preview of the Ellis iOS App
banking without fees

Get a free US bank account in 5 minutes

We know you are new to America, your passport, Form I-20 or DS-2019, and basic personal information is enough to get you started with your Ellis Account. Save ~$300/year on hidden bank fees.
No monthly fees, ever
No international wire fees
Preview of the Ellis iOS App
Preview of the Ellis iOS App
virtual card

Access your money immediately

Start spending instantly with a virtual debit card that you can use with Apple Pay or Google Pay. It’s safer than carrying cash.

We keep your money & data safe

We haven't and will never sell your data. Your account is protected by bank-grade encryption and all transactions are verified through Visa’s fraud algorithm. Your money is also FDIC insured through our partner bank up to $250,000.
and more...

No international wire transfer fees

Open an account before arriving in the US

Unlimited quick bank transfers

No foreign transaction fees

No overdraft fees

Stay in control with alerts

Unlimited free in-network ATM withdraws

Start spending immediately with a virtual debit card

FDIC insured up to $250,000

Bank level security

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1

Are there really no fees?

Unlike regular banks we don’t believe in charging you tons of unnecessary fees. We have no fees to sign up, no monthly or service fees, no minimum balance fees, and no domestic transaction fees, and free international wire transfers. We do charge one fee ($2.50) when you get cash from an out-of-network ATM that is not part of Ellis' fee-free network of 60,000+ ATMs.

Question 2

If Ellis is free, how do you make money?

Ellis makes money from ‘interchange’ fees paid by the merchant bank.

When you use your Ellis Card, card networks collect a service fee (kind of like a tax for the merchant charging your card), and Ellis gets a percentage of that fee. That means we don’t have to rely on traditional fees and we can pass the savings on to you.

Question 3

Which countries can I receive money from?

We currently support free international wire transfers from:

Åland Islands, Algeria, American Samoa*, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas*, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados*, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bonaire Sint Eustatius and Saba, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana*, Bouvet Island, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia*, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chad, Chile, China, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Comoros, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte D'Ivoire, Croatia, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, French Southern Territories, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana*, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam*, Guernsey, Guinea, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico*, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco*, Mozambique*, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niger, Niue, Norfolk Island, North Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville), Réunion, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Berthélemy, Saint Helena Ascension and Tristan, Saint Martin (French part), Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Samoa, San Marino, São Tomé and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Svalbard and Mayen, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turks & Caicos, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, United States Minor Outlying Islands, United States Virgin Islands*, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican City State (Holy See), Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna, and Zambia.

Reach out to our team at if you don't see your country on this list.

Question 4

How long does it take to create an account?

Signing up usually takes under 5 minutes – and you can do it completely online.

Once your account is opened you'll be able to use your virtual Ellis Visa Card for online purchases almost immediately. No need to wait for your physical card to start spending. It typically takes a week or two for the physical card to arrive.

Question 5

Does Ellis have ATMs?

Ellis partners with a few ATM operators and network providers to get members access to 60,000+ fee-free in-network ATMs. Thats more ATMs than Chase (16,000 ATMs), Bank of America (17,000 ATMs), and Citibank (2,300 ATMs) combined!

To find a fee-free ATM near you, download the Ellis mobile app for our ATM map or search our ATM network here.

Question 6

What kind information do you ask for?

During sign up we'll ask for things like your phone number, birthdate, residential address, and Social Security Number. If you are a recent international student and don't have an SSN, no worries! You can use your passport and I-20 form to create an account from your phone.

Question 7

Is Ellis a real bank?

Ellis is a technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., Member FDIC. Ellis is also not a prepaid card. Through its bank partner, Ellis offers a full-service bank account with an Ellis Visa Card for spending and using at 60,000+ fee-free in-network ATMs.

Get the Ellis App

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