Types of accounts
A checking account enables you to have a place where you can deposit money that you receive – like salary from an on-campus job and money from home. It also enables you to spend money by writing checks, using a debit card, or going online to pay bills or to make purchases. A checking account provides you with an accurate, monthly record of your finances – what was deposited and what was spent or withdrawn.
A savings account is used to safeguard money for an extended period of time and is often reserved for future financial plans and investments. Typically, you cannot pay for items using money in your savings account – you need to transfer it to your checking account first. You may also want to talk to your bank about other types of savings accounts such as Certificates of Deposit (CDs) and Money Market accounts.
Opening an Account
When you are ready to open an account, you will be asked to provide personal information such as your name, U.S. address, home country address, email address, and phone number. If you do not yet have a local U.S. address, you must go back to your bank or to your bank’s website to update your address as soon as you have one.
You should also bring your immigration documents with you (passport and I-20 or DS-2019) when opening an account. You will be required to show your valid passport as well as another form of identification such as your driver license or student ID card. You should not need a Social Security Number [HMLM1] to open a bank account. If the bank asks you for your SSN and you do not have one, you may want to consider another bank.