Are you an international student in the U.S.? Then you should consider opening a US bank account.
It will be much easier to manage your finances and cheaper than withdrawing money from a foreign bank account. You can also pay your bills online or by check, and use credit cards without hassle or hefty international banking fees.
There are two types of bank accounts in the U.S.:
Checking Account – Great for day-to-day expenses. A checking account lets you make numerous withdrawals and unlimited deposits. Checking accounts can include business accounts, student accounts and joint accounts along with many other types of accounts offering similar features.
You can use your checking account for living expenses, daily transactions, and paying bills. It comes with a checkbook and bank card, and incurs monthly service fees. Many banks will offer online and mobile banking, so you can manage your money 24 hours a day.
Savings Account – Perfect if you want to save money. A savings account requires a minimum deposit and provides a modest interest rate of return. Savings accounts are generally for money you don’t intend to use for daily expenses.
They are usually used for more long-term investments. Depending on the type of savings account, the account holder may not be able to write checks from the account without incurring extra fees. A savings account is also likely to have a limited number of free transfers/transactions.
How to choose a bank
Every bank in the US offers different services to students. Don’t get blindsided by freebies, and make sure you read the small print so you’re fully aware of what service fees they charge.
Find out which banks are closest to you, as most university campuses will have at least one or two onsite.
Consider the following:
- What’s the minimum balance required on the account?
- Are there extra fees if the balance goes below the minimum?
- What are the monthly service fees?
- Are there transaction limits?
- Does the bank offer online and mobile banking?
Documents you’ll need:
A current passport.
Proof of address (e.g., utility bill, apartment contract).
College address (e.g., enrolment verification letter).
An identification number, such as one or more of the following:
A taxpayer identification number
A passport number and country of issuance
An alien identification card number
Number and country of issuance of any other government-issued document showing nationality or residence and bearing a photograph or similar safeguard.
Remember, some banks may ask for additional documentation to establish your identity, such as:
I-20, DS-2019, or I-797 approval notice
Another form of identification, such as a foreign driver’s license or credit card
Form W-8 BEN if you’re not eligible for an SSN or ITIN.
Choose wisely when it comes to your finances, and click here if you want more helpful tips on managing your money. Good luck with your studies, and happy banking!