Though everyday purchases like groceries and gasoline are still accessible to cash-carrying consumer, nowadays there are many things which cannot even be paid for in cash. As a result, a bank account which allows consumers to pay for services like electricity, rent, and tuition with a check or check card is becoming increasingly necessary for domestic and international students alike.

While many students, regardless of their background, have already faced this problem by the time they start college, the same solutions that international students used in their home country may not work in the U.S. As a result, international students should plan to set up a bank account soon after they arrive in the U.S. Choosing a bank in the U.S. from among the many choices available on or near campus, though, can be difficult – especially for recent arrivals. Fortunately, we are here to help. Here are a couple of tips:

1. Check with your school.
If your school has relationship with a particular bank – or if your international student advising office recommends one – you should certainly consider the recommendation strongly. After all, things will be much easier for you if your bank is accustomed to serving the needs of international students.

2. Find out if the bank meets your specific needs.
Whether your school can recommend a bank or not, you should consider how your potential bank can meet all of your unique needs before setting up an account. For example, how easy is it to transfer money to your U.S. bank from overseas? After all, even the bank with the most ATMs on campus is next to useless to you if you cannot fund it! Here are some other questions to consider:

What are the fees for:

  1. wiring money from overseas;
  2. using another ATM;
  3. going below the minimum balance; and
  4. maintaining the account in general?

How long does it take to:

  1. open the account;
  2. clear a deposited check; and
  3. clear a check written from abroad?

Considering questions like these can not only save you a lot of time and money but also make your transition to life in the U.S. that much easier! Interested in learning more? Check out our recent post on what to consider when opening a U.S. bank account.