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How Can Foreign College Students Open a Bank Account in the USA?

I’m an international student. I get it. Opening a bank account isn’t the easiest thing for us fellas, but it’s easier when you know exactly how to do it. Why open one you ask? Well, truth be told, students don’t seem to be the most organized people out there. Just think about it: we have 8 am classes to worry about, unbelievably expensive and heavy textbooks to carry around, and only about 3 hours of sleep cached into our system. How in the world would we have time to worry about cash and money managing in the first place? That’s where the advantage of having a bank account comes in.

With a flow of loans, financial aid and money from home, keeping everything balanced and structured is hard without a bank account. An account enables you to pay everything (including bills and food) online, which is the type of convenience that makes life bliss. Most banks issue a debit card to anyone who opens an account, so cash will almost never be needed, and consequently will not get lost on the way to do the laundry. These are just a few reasons why foreign students should open up their own bank account. Now here’s the how.

The first thing to keep in mind is that there are a few ways in which a bank account can be set up. While it’s tempting to simply call in and set it up through the phone or through the bank’s website (let’s face it, you need your precious sleep time), taking the time to set up the account in person is the right decision. Not only is there less room for misunderstandings because you’re there to see the whole ordeal through, but you also begin building a trusting client to bank relationship that often gives you an advantage when facing problems with services. This way, the bank and banker know that you care, and will in turn be more likely to care for you and your finances with the same dedication.

Once the appointment to create the account is set up, knowing what to bring will make the process a whole lot smoother. Generally speaking, an international student who wishes to open a bank account will need to provide his/her full name, campus phone number, personal phone number, address, local address where billing is sent, a valid passport, the I-94 card, a visa approval notice, a student ID and/or secondary ID, and the acceptance letter from the school being attended. With all these documents in tow, the rest of the work is in the hands of the person overlooking your case- and voila, you got yourself a virtual piggy bank.

Photo Credit: OpenClipartVectors
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