The simple answer is - no you don't. Not officially anyway. However, there are several reasons why you might consider getting one.
- Right upfront, Amazon requires that you provide the with a "US or internationally chargeable credit card". The purpose is to pay your basic seller central fees of $39 per month on a pro-package plus any costs associated with using the Amazon Promotions platform to advertise your product to Amazon browsers. Usually you can get away with any MasterCard or Visa but occasionally Amazon will tell you that your credit card is not eligible - and that means you need a different one. This will not happen to you if your credit card is issued by a US institution.
- Amazon fees, promotion fees, Google Adwords costs, customs bills (where applicable) labelling fees, gift-wrapping charges, Fees for listings on Ebay (US) and Etsy, Sales Tax. These are some of the charges that you may find yourself pain in US dollars once you have an Amazon product. After all, you have just set up a USD revenue business. If you elect to get Amazon to pay into an account in another currency (like GBP, SGD or AUD) then Amazon will charge you to change that currency from the USD you earned when they make your fortnghtly payment. If you then want to pay these other USD costs, you will be charged AGAIN to convert your currency back to USD to pay from your credit card.
So how do you get a US Bank Account? You can consider either setting up a USD denominated account with your home bank (expensive) or getting hold of a US Bank account with a Bank in the USA (difficult). If you look into getting an account with eg. Citibank or JP Morgan directly you will find that it is much harder if:-
- you are not a US domiciled person or business
- you are not able to visit a branch inside the USA
As a guide, getting set up as a US domiciled business will cost you ~$500-$1000 set up plus a few hundred per year in filing fees and...of course you will be liable for US tax as a domestic company.
If none of the above sounds attractive then you might want to consider Payoneer, Payoneer offers both access to a US domiciled Bank Account (with Bank of America) and a USD denominated MasterCard to make payments. To find out more about Payoneer and get a $25 credit for setting up your account, check out my linked site GetmyUSbankaccount and follow the link. (full disclosure. If you sign up - as I have - and you do it from this link then both you and I will get $25 from Payoneer. That's great for both of us but it's not about the $25 it's about getting one more obstacle out the way so you can start making $500 before breakfast!