Banking in the U.S.

Accessing money from a foreign bank can be expensive. For example, if you use a cash machine, you may be charged a service fee by the U.S. bank and by your home bank. Check with your home bank to find out what procedures they recommend while you are at NC State.

Bank Services

Banks are typically open Monday through Friday, and a few have office hours on Saturdays. Banks are always closed on Sundays and public holidays. You can expect to receive monthly or quarterly bank statements, mailed to your local address. Some banks offer online banking that allows you to track your accounts on their website or mobile app. Most banks will offer additional services for a fee, such as safety deposit boxes, which is one way to securely store your passport and other valuable items.

Opening a U.S. Bank Account

If you come to the U.S. with a lot of money, we recommend you open a bank account as soon as possible. Many bills in the U.S. are paid with checks, and opening an account is easy. Banks usually offer checking and savings accounts. Services and fees vary, but most banks in the area offer special student accounts with minimal or no monthly charges. There may be fees if you withdraw or spend more than the amount of money in your account. If you have questions about what type of bank account is best for you, we recommend calling a bank and scheduling an appointment. Bring photo identification and your U.S. address with you when opening an account.

Large group of NC State students in parking lot at a tailgate

Checking Accounts

Checking accounts allow you to deposit and withdraw money in person at the bank or through an ATM (Automated Teller Machine). If you are approved for a checking account, you should be issued temporary checks to make payments. Some businesses may not accept these "starter checks," but the bank will also ask you to order checks with your name and address and have them mailed to you. Many banks offer a combination ATM/Debit card, which allows you to withdraw cash from your account through a machine, as well as use the card to deduct purchases from your checking account (similar to a credit card). There may be limits on how much money you can withdraw at one time, so check with your bank.

Savings Accounts

Savings accounts are usually used for larger amounts of money, and allow you to earn interest on the money that is deposited at the bank. If you are in the U.S. for a year, this may be a good option for you. However, you may be restricted by how often you can withdraw money from a savings account. It is a good idea to have a checking account as well.