Banking in the USA

Having money available for school expenses, living costs and fun activities is important for international students studying in the United States through the HTIR Work-Study USA, Inc. program. Students are encouraged to set up an account with a local bank in the community so they can directly access their accounts in person.

Some universities will have a partnership established with a local bank, which can be especially helpful for international students. However, you can open a bank account with any financial institution using the following tips:

* Compare services provided by local banks if you have several options available to you. Be sure to compare interest payments for checking and savings accounts, as well as any fees that might be applied to those accounts. Look for no-fee accounts that also offer you online banking services. Also look for banks that offer “student” accounts, which might be a better service for your needs.

* Visit the bank with your passport, funds you wish to deposit, your I-20 form and I-94 form to open an account. You may also want to bring your student ID. When first arriving in the United States, many schools recommend students bring with them around $2,000, which you can then deposit. For security reasons, using travelers cheques or a foreign bank card that will work in U.S. cash machines are better than bringing cash.

* Ask the bank about money transfer costs in case you need to receive money from friends or family during your schooling in the states, or want to transfer money back to your home country when you’ve graduated and are ready to leave.

* Once you have a work-study job established, ask your employer if your paycheck can be directly deposited into your bank account. This service can help you save time and keep a higher balance on your account.

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