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Suppose it is a banking situation:

  1. He has an account at a bank.
  2. He has an account with a bank.

Should "at" or "with" be used? Is one of them wrong?

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The Google Ngram (here) shows that they are used about equally. If there is any difference, 'at the bank' might mean 'physically', as in 'I keep my jewellery at the bank', but an account is not kept physically 'at' the bank.

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My documents are with the bank - physically! – Maulik V Jul 5 '14 at 7:53

In school I learnt that "account at a bank" is American English and "account with a bank" is British English.

They have the same meaning and are both correct.

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This does seem to be borne out by the NGram, although you can find substantial usage of both phrases in both US and GB corpora. – choster Mar 4 at 2:24

As SydneyAustraliaESLTeacher said in the answer with an Ngram, it's clear that both the phrases are used equally and convey the same meaning without creating any complexity. None of them is wrong.

But still, if we want to dig in further, I in my opinion we use at to refer the bank as the place as in I'm at bank, I forgot my cellphone at the bank and so on. On the other hand, with talks about being a part of bank. We often say My documents are with bank, Collaboration with bank, Tie up with bank... and etc.

So, my account is at X bank talks about the place, the bank which I may not prefer. My account is with X bank shows my account is a part of bank.

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Both are correct but they have different nuances. "With" refers to the company but "at" could refer to either the company or the specific branch. So "He has an account at/with MegaBankCorp" are equivalent but you'd probably say "He has an account at MegaBankCorp on Main Street", rather than using "with" in that case.

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So, "an account at a bank" is probably wrong, because "account" is an abstract thing, but "at" refers to a physical location? – meatie Jul 5 '14 at 12:11
I wouldn't say it's wrong, though "with" would probably be more normal. In the old days, your account would physically be at a particular branch of the bank, of course. – David Richerby Jul 5 '14 at 12:30

While they are generally used interchangeably, there is one exception that I know of. If a bank employee wants to know if you already have an account, he or she will ask "Do you have an account with us?", and never "Do you have an account at us?" Likewise, you would tell a bank employee, "I would like to open an account with you", and not "I would like to open an account to you."

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