Bank Account

A US bank account will make managing your finances a lot easier, and you should set one up as soon as you arrive. You can deposit your financial aid awards, loans and stipends, all of which are typically paid to you by check, as well as money from home.You will need a bank account for all your money related transaction when you are here.

How Do I Open a Bank Account?

VCU international student orientation day is very important to attend as on that day VCU usually arrange a person from Wells Fargo bank that will help you set up your bank account with only minimum number of documents also you will be having all sets of documents with you in a file when you attend orientation. It will be convenient for you to set up account on that day itself.  If this is not available then you can walk in at the branch and this is the convenient option being an a international student. You can ask any seniors or friends to walk with you or you can go by yourself and trust me it is so simple to open a bank account in US. When you go make sure you have your passport, I-20 and other original important documents with you. You do not need to have a social security number to open an account. If a bank asks for it, offer up your passport and any of the other id documents you have.

Things to keep in mind:

  • You can open a checking account or a savings account. Usually you don’t get any interest on the money deposited in a checking account. Savings account give interest but is generally very low (e.g. Wells Fargo gives 0.25%) and may not be worth the effort of maintaining two separate accounts
  • Banks generally charge a fee for issuing checks (~$15 for 200 checks). When you open the account, ask them if you have to pay for checkbooks. You can also get your checks made from agencies other than your bank (e.g. Wal-mart makes 200 checks for $5). Again people may not find it worth the hassle, but you can choose different designs, layouts and custom text on your checks.
  • Banks may charge you of you do more than a specified number of transactions (withdrawal, deposits or balance enquiry) from their branch in a month. You can use ATMs for all these transactions instead.
  • If you use your ATM card on another bank’s ATM, you may be charged a fee.
  • Ask for all these details when opening an account in a bank

Most major US banks offer “student checking”, accounts and services designed specifically for students like

WellsFargo Bank:

VCU has a couple of WellsFargo ATMs and a branch of WellsFargo Bank on the campus making it very useful to have an account with them. Besides, your VCU Card can be set up to use as an ATM card in WellsFargo ATMs.

Branches close to VCU:

  • 401 North 11th Street (MCV campus)
  • 122 East Grace Street
  • 801 East Main Street
August 27, 2013