Register a U.S. Company and Shopify Payment for $40 USD

Today, let's introduce how to use Northwest Registered Agent, an agency platform, to register a U.S. company more efficiently and then use that U.S. company to set up Shopify Payments and Stripe. This process consists of three main steps

Step 1: Register a U.S. Company

Currently, the registration fee for Colorado is $49, but with just a $1 registration fee, you can register until June 30, 2023.

When you add the platform's agent fee, it costs a total of $40 to register an LLC company in Colorado. Additionally, the annual maintenance fee for a Colorado LLC is approximately $235. So, not considering tax issues, registering an LLC in Colorado is a cost-effective option.

The process for registering an LLC company through Northwest Registered Agent is as follows:

  1. Through the following discount link (the price is $226 if you apply without the discount link), here is the discount link:

  2. Click the button to start the registration

  1. Select the company type as LLC and choose the registration address in Colorado (CO). On the right side, you can see the total cost is $40 USD. Then, click the 'Continue' button.

  1. Enter the company name without the 'LLC' suffix; it will automatically be added after registration. You may choose a slightly complex name, as there could be duplicate names. For both the physical and mailing addresses, you can select the default options. This way, you can utilize Northwest's free mail forwarding service, and you can upgrade to receive the EIN confirmation letter

  1. In the next step, you can leave the default option of one company member. Fill in the name of the registered agent (virtual legal person), and you can use the Pinyin of the name. Keep the address below as the default.

  1. Next, enter your email and password to create an account on the Northwest platform. Make sure your email is valid and accurate, as Northwest will use it to contact you if there are any issues during the registration process.

  1. Next, provide detailed contact information for the registered agent. You can use your actual contact information. Ensure that the phone number is valid and accurate, as you may receive verification codes in the future. (Please note that this address and phone number are for platform contact purposes only and will not be provided to U.S. tax authorities or other agencies.)

  1. The next step involves some additional services, and you can choose not to select any of them. If you plan to have Northwest assist you in obtaining an EIN, you can select the 'Tax ID' service, which costs $200. If you intend to handle it yourself, you can skip this service

  1. Finally, you can complete the entire registration process by making the payment using a dual-currency credit card, such as Visa or MasterCard.

Once you've submitted as required, your company will be registered within 5 business days. You can monitor the application progress by logging into the platform or checking your email. If you have any questions, feel free to email them, and they will respond during U.S. business hours.

Step 2: Apply for an EIN Tax ID

After successfully registering your U.S. company, the next step is to apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number), which is a requirement for setting up Shopify Payments and Stripe

Yes, non-U.S. citizens can apply for an EIN. In fact, you can find detailed explanations about EIN on the official website of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For more information, please visit the official link below:


Applying for an EIN is a free service provided by the IRS. You don't need to pay for it.

For non-U.S. citizens, there are three ways to apply for an EIN as provided by the IRS:

  1. Phone Application: This is the fastest method. You can apply by calling (1) 267-941-1099. Phone service is available from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. It's advisable to fill out Form SS-4 in advance as the IRS representative will ask you questions based on the information in this form. If everything is in order, you can get your EIN number over the phone, and the EIN confirmation letter will be mailed to the address you specify. The confirmation letter is important for future use, and this is where the Northwest Registered Agent's address can come in handy. Once they receive the EIN confirmation letter, they will scan and upload it to your account, allowing you to download it for your use.
  2. Mail Application: Applying for an EIN via mail is not recommended due to the longer processing time.
  3. Fax Application: If your English language skills are not strong, you can use the fax application method. You can receive your EIN in as little as 4 business days with this method, provided that you include your fax number on Form SS-4. After filling out the SS-4 form, you can fax it to (1) 304-707-9471.

There are many online fax services available that you can try, and some of them offer free trials, although they can be somewhat cumbersome.

You can indeed opt for outsourcing services to help with the EIN application process. Prices for outsourcing the EIN application for an LLC company typically range around $35. It's advisable to choose a reputable and highly-rated service provider for this task.

Additionally, if you decide to use a fax service for the application, you can expect to pay around $10 per page for sending and $5 per page for receiving faxes in the United States. This can be a convenient option for those who prefer to use fax as their method of application.

Even when hiring a service, you would still need to provide them with the information of your registered company. Therefore, it's often more straightforward to fill out the application form yourself. The official link to the SS-4 form is as follows: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss4.pdf

This form consists of two pages, but when faxing, you only need to send the first page, which contains the essential information.

I have prepared a sample that you can download and review:


Step 3: Apply for Shopify Payments and Stripe

Regarding Shopify Payments and Stripe, I covered the details in my previous article, so I won't go into much detail here. In brief, if you're not in the U.S. or not a U.S. citizen, you won't qualify for Shopify Payments. However, even if you're not in the U.S. or not a U.S. citizen, if you have a U.S. company, you can still apply for Stripe. Therefore, the first step is to apply for a U.S. company. (In fact, Stripe's application process is not very strict; sometimes you can even pass with some loosely provided information, but that's a risk not worth taking. So, it's better to follow the standard process.)

When applying for Shopify Payments and Stripe, you can use the information and EIN from your U.S. company. The process is quite simple, so I won't include images here.

Even if you don't qualify for Shopify Payments, my recommendation is to first get your U.S. company registered and obtain your EIN. Afterward, you can try applying for Shopify Payments. If your Shopify Payments application is approved, you can use it continuously unless you have a high dispute rate or other issues that trigger a reevaluation.

If your Shopify Payments application is not approved, then you can apply for Stripe and switch to using Stripe for payments. Even if you've been using Shopify Payments for some time and it gets shut down, don't worry; as long as you're running a legitimate e-commerce business, your money will be safe and will be sent to you.

Additionally, while Stripe requires you to have a physical bank account for receiving payments, using virtual cards like Wise, Payoneer, or Revolut should not be a problem, and there are no concerns about your card being closed. Do not use physical cards like Hua Mei, Velo, or other physical cards for receiving payments; personal cards cannot be used for business, and the consequences can be severe, regardless of the country.

New stores might face a small issue when they initially start receiving payments. Since the order volume is low, Stripe's daily payouts may not be substantial. In such cases, if a customer requests a refund for an order, for example, a $100 order, and you process the refund directly to the customer, your account balance may become negative when Stripe makes the payout today. Stripe will attempt to debit the refunded amount from your linked bank account to balance this. However, since we typically use virtual bank cards, they don't support such debits. This may result in a failed payout, and you'll receive a notification from Stripe (or Shopify Payments) indicating that you need to update your receiving card, and they will attempt the debit again.

In such situations, don't worry. Firstly, it won't affect your website's payment processing. You can also update your receiving card. Stripe now supports a top-up feature, meaning you can add funds directly to your Stripe balance from your bank account (e.g., using Wise). For Shopify Payments, there's no top-up feature, but you can get your balance back into the positive by placing a few orders on your website, allowing Shopify to make a payout and return your balance to a positive state, so they can proceed with future payouts as usual.

Once your order volume stabilizes, such situations become rare. This is a problem a friend recently encountered, so I wrote about it for reference.

Finally, here's the discount link again:

If you encounter any issues during the registration process, feel free to reach out to me via direct message. You can also contact me on WhatsApp at [phone number], although my response time may be a bit slower.


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