Payments can be a big issue for startups and companies operating in countries where Stripe & PayPal is not available. In fact, it is something that kills the creativity in young entrepreneurs and forces them to either give up or relocate to other countries where these payment gateways are available.
Stripe is a wonderful service that lets the companies accept payments over the Internet in multiple currencies. If you’re developing a website or mobile app and want to accept payments, Stripe does it in a matter of minutes, literally. You can integrate Stripe APIs in your website to receive payments. It can process major international debit or credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club and JCB. But, unfortunately, it does not support all countries yet (that also includes my country). It is only available in limited countries like USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland and dozens of more European countries (only merchant account, you can pay from anywhere).
It’s been a long time, I’m waiting for Stripe to expand the services to include more countries (specifically Asian countries) but no luck so far. Recently, I came across an interesting solution to use Stripe from any country. It is very fast and legal way of accepting payments with Stripe. You can start accepting payments from all over the world in minutes once you completed all the requirements.
Following are the Stripe requirements to accept payments from the United States:
- US Bank Account
- SSN / EIN
- US Mailing Address
- US Phone Number
The straightforward way is to register an LLC (Limited Liability Company) or C-Corporation company in the United States and open the bank account. However, even if you’re able to process the LLC registration (which is simple and can be done remotely), there is no bank in the United States that is willing to open an account without the potential owner first visiting the branch.
Also, Stripe requires you to enter SSN or EIN to verify your identity, which is an other hurdle. For US address & phone number, you can get them easily remotely or even use fake details (not recommended).
But the good new is you can still get all the necessary details without visiting the US and starts using Stripe in minutes. Let’s discuss how you can successfully sign up for Stripe from the United States.
1. US Bank Account
You can get a valid US bank account thanks to Payoneer — a global payment service that can be used as an alternative to PayPal to send and receive payments worldwide. It provides the users a prepaid MasterCard (you must have funds in prepaid card before you can use it online) and a US bank account to accept ACH payments from US companies. ACH is what Stripe uses to payout the customers. You’re done!
Sign Up for Payoneer
Payoneer is a very reliable and secure payment service available worldwide. I’ve been using it since early 2013 to accept payments from US clients, marketplace earnings, affiliate payouts etc. Since it is MasterCard supported that is widely accepted over the Internet, so it is my primary payment method whenever I want to pay online whether it is to buy an airline ticket, pay web hosting bills or to pay Amazon AWS monthly fees etc.
Registration for Payoneer is straightforward and can be done in couple of minutes. If you will use my link to sign up at Payoneer, you will get $25 sign up bonus.
Once you sign up successfully, there is a waiting period, up to a week and then they send you a prepaid MasterCard on your address. Once you receive the card and activate it, Payoneer creates a virtual US bank account for you to accept ACH payments from US companies. That’s all you need. Now you’ve an official US bank account and can start accepting payments from Strip right away.
2. SSN / EIN
Since SSN (Social Security Number) is only issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary (working) residents by the United States Social Security Administration, it is impossible for foreigners to get it.
The alternative to SSN is EIN (Employer Identification Number), also known as Federal Tax Identification Number, used to identify a business entity in the United States. To get EIN remotely, you’ll need to make a call to IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and do the following:
- Download the form and fill it in beforehand.
- Call the IRS — phone number (800) 829-4933 — and tell them you need an EIN. They will insist you to send the form by fax, but there is a workaround for this. Just say that you do not have a fax machine and would like to do it by phone.
- The operator will ask you to have the form on hand and read out the fields.
- In next 15 minutes, you will have an official EIN which will also be sent to you by mail at your home country address.
3. US Mailing Address
It is pretty easy to get US mailing address, you can sign up for any PO Box service to get it. There are number of online services that offers this. I recommend MailBox Forwarding. They provide you with a mailing address which is accessible online. You can receive and view all your mail online: letters, documents, and packages, whether delivered by the USPS, FedEx, or UPS.
You can even use any fake address but it is not recommended. You may have to receive important documents by mail in future like from IRS or even Stripe etc.
4. US Phone Number
You can get a US phone number from Sonetel and forward it to your local phone number. It costs less than $2 per month and you can receive all calls directly at your current phone number.
Stripe Sign Up
Once you have everything you need to sign up for Stripe payment service, the remaining is simple and straightforward. Go to Stripe.com and create an account by filling all the details (email, password etc.) and confirm your email address. Then log in to Stripe and switch the LIVE/TEST switcher to LIVE, then click Activate Account. You will need to fill out all the necessary details but be extra cautious with following:
Country: United States
Business type: Individual / Sole Proprietorship
EIN: The number you got from IRS
Address: Your mail-forwarding address in the US
Phone: Sonetel US phone number
Bank Account: Log in to your Payoneer account, click Receive -> Global Payment Service and copy all the bank information from there.
That’s all. You now have fully functioning Stripe account and ready to accept payments!
Honestly speaking, it is not a 1-hour task but certainly a workable solution that can open the access to the best online payment platform — Stripe. If you’re left with no other option to accept payments, it is worth trying. To wrap up the discussion, let’s go over the steps once again:
- Sign Up for Payoneer Prepaid MasterCard (to get US bank account)
- Get EIN from IRS (download the form)
- Get US Mailing Address (from MailBox Forwarding)
- Get US Phone Number (from Sonetel)
- Sign Up at Stripe
- Update Your Stripe Account
Do you have any question or want to add something to this article? Write to us in comments and we will get back to you as soon as possible. If you need our assistance or want to discuss anything, please contact us.
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