For an international student, opening a bank account in the US has many benefits. For example, it makes it easier to transact business with many establishments in the US, such as paying bills, rents, tuition fees, and so on. Also, for working students, it is easier to get their salary through a bank account than getting it directly from their employer. 

Should You Open a Bank Account?

One of the things many international students ask when they study in the US, or any country abroad, is whether they should open a bank account in their host country or simply use their bank account from their home country. The answer depends on how long a student will stay in their host country. For example, if the student will only be staying for a short study program or an exchange program, which usually lasts for two to eight weeks, there may be no need to open a bank account. However, for students staying in the country for one to four years, it is better to open one to make daily and monthly business transactions more convenient. Plus, students won’t have to always pay foreign transaction fees. 

How to Apply for a US Bank Account

Typically, to open a bank account in the US, one needs to have a social security number. However, for international students, most banks would usually accept their student ID number. 

Consider These Things

Before opening your US bank account, consider these things first: 

Types of Bank Accounts

Students can choose between opening a checking account or a savings account. 

Checking Account

A checking account is useful for day-to-day or other regular transactions, such as paying bills, rent, credit card, utilities, and so on. Most check accounts also do not require a maintaining balance, which means there’s also no interest. 

Savings Account 

A savings account includes interest, but it cannot be used to write checks. This is probably the most useful for students who will be staying for more than one year, to maximize the interest they can get while in the US. 

Requirements for Opening an Account 

After deciding which bank account to open, students should bring the following documents to their bank of choice: 

Opening a bank account in the US will make it easier to do various business transactions including paying stuff for studying, travel, and other activities. For other practical tips about studying abroad, check out MSM Unify’s article on Using Your International Student Discount Card for Studying, Leisure, and Travel

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