A US bank account will greatly facilitate the management of your finances, and you should set one up as soon as you arrive. You can deposit your financial aid subsidies, loans and stipends, all of which are normally paid by check, as well as with household money.
You can pay all your bills by check, and with most bank accounts, you can even manage and make all your bill payments online. In addition, most banks now issue debit cards with a MasterCard or Visa emblem, which means you can use the card to make purchases in your account anywhere you accept credit cards, including online and in stores. Paying cash or buying money orders for payments is inefficient, carrying cash can also be dangerous and paying in cash does not leave much evidence to prove your payment in the event of a dispute. Certainly, a bank account will greatly facilitate the budget.
How do I choose a bank?
Banks offer many different financial services for students. You may want to compare the services and costs of several banks before choosing one in which to open an account. If your school has a relationship with a particular bank for all its international students, you should consider that bank first. You will need a checking account for proper money management (to write checks, online bill payments, debit cards, etc.), and if you have large amounts of money only in your account, it may make sense to open a savings account I eat well.
It is also a good idea to ask the international services of your school if your school has a relationship with a particular bank for all its international students. If a bank is used to dealing with international students, the process of setting up your account will be much simpler.
Types of bank accounts
Checking accounts allow you to deposit and withdraw money frequently, which makes them an excellent way to pay your monthly bills. When you open a checking account, you usually receive checks and a bank card, which you can use to make purchases and pay bills. In general, there are minimum monthly balances and service fees, which vary according to the type of account you have. Most students just need a checking account and use it to manage expenses at school.
Banks offer different types of current accounts according to individual needs. Some banks charge per transaction, others have a basic monthly fee and others offer free checking accounts as long as you keep a certain minimum balance in your account. You must be able to access your account information through the bank’s website.
Savings accounts are intended for long-term deposits to generate interest. Interest, minimum balances and service fees vary from one bank to another. These also depend on the amount of money you deposit. Most international students do not require a savings account.
Ask how long it will take to “approve” a check, that is, how long it takes from when a check is deposited into your account until the time you are allowed to withdraw the funds. Typically, wireline funds are available immediately, but the “retention” of checks (local, out-of-state and foreign) varies by state and bank and can range from several days to a week or even more.
How do I choose an account?
Investigate and compare the accounts that the bank has available, with a view to how much it will cost to maintain the account. Ask about accounts specifically for students. Find out if the bank offers interest on checking accounts, what is the interest rate on savings accounts and if the account offers overdraft protection. There may also be a minimum balance requirement in an account, so be sure to ask the bank about this. It is expected that you never accidentally write a check for more than what you have in your account, but if you do, does the bank pay the check and find it, or do they deny payment to the company to which you sent the check? check)? If so, both the company AND the bank will find you, and that accumulates quickly!
Ask how long it will take to “approve” a check, that is, how long it takes from when a check is deposited into your account until the time you are allowed to withdraw the funds. Typically, wireline funds are available immediately, but the “retention” of checks (local, out-of-state and foreign) varies by state and bank and can range from several days to a week or even more. This is crucial if you have a scholarship fund that sends you money through a check.
Most of the major banks in the US They offer “student checking accounts”, accounts and services designed specifically for students.
How do I open a bank account?
Although many banks now announce that they allow new customers to open accounts online or by phone, as an international student, they plan to open their account in person at a local branch. It does not fit perfectly into a category for US banks. And, if you need additional services, it’s always good to have established a face-to-face relationship. When you go, be sure to bring your passport and the funds you wish to deposit. In addition, you must bring as many of the following documents or IDs as you have, although each bank has slightly different requirements, you may need to:
- Your full name, home address, home phone number, campus phone number, and address of your university. (Letterhead with the local address, that is, utility bills, apartment contract …)
- Valid passport
- I-94 card
- Notice of approval I-20, DS-2019 or I-797
- Any form of secondary identification (acceptable identification includes, your passport, your student identification card, the birth certificate (international / English version), the state driver’s license or a letter from international students and academics)
- Letter of verification of enrollment of your school.
Initial money needs upon arrival
You must assess your needs during the first weeks of school; Most schools suggest that they contribute around $ 2,000 in available funds. You can enter this amount in traveler’s checks or, better yet, bring your foreign bank card, after verifying that it will work in ATMs in the US. (ATMs), to access an account at home. The rest of the money can be transferred to your new US bank account. After your arrival. Remember, if you have a scholarship, assistantship or other forms of employment, it will normally take you a month or more to get your first payment, so make sure you have enough money to live during the first weeks.
Before arriving, find out at your bank in your country how to transfer money to the US. And how much it will cost in installments. After setting up your new bank account, you can arrange the transfer by providing your bank with the US bank details. You must provide your account number, the name and address of the US bank and the ABA number of the US bank. Electronic transfers usually take between 2 and 5 days. Ask your bank of origin for confirmation once the funds have been transferred.
Types of cards and checks
A debit card, also known as a check card, allows you to withdraw or deposit money in your bank account through an ATM and make purchases at stores that accept the card. However, debit cards are not credit cards and can only be used to the extent that you have funds in the account to which they are linked.
Many banks issue bank cards that allow you to withdraw and deposit money 24 hours a day through an ATM. These machines are frequently found outside the bank (and in most university campuses). By using a bank card, you can avoid long lines and have access to money even when the bank is closed.
Credit cards can be extremely useful, especially if you have unexpected expenses. You can use credit cards to pay medical bills, for car repairs and to buy plane tickets. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is easy to accumulate large bills accidentally with credit cards and, before you know it, you may be in debt. Most banks charge an annual fee. If you can not pay your full balance each month, you will be charged high-interest rates on the remaining balance and any additional charges you make, so be sure to stay within your budget when making purchases with a credit card.
To cash a check, you must endorse it by signing your name on the back. In addition, you will be asked for personal identification. Some stores will charge you a check if you buy there regularly, and supermarkets can allow you to pay by check with authorization from your credit department.