How to Open A Student Bank Account in the USA

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Casita Team

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12 May, 2020

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4 mins read

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Having a US bank account as an international student in the United States will make it significantly easier for you to manage your finances and day-to-day expenses. However, it's important to choose the right bank before considering the steps it takes to open an account.

How to choose your American student bank?

  1. Look for extra perks and freebies. ( ex: sign-up bonuses)
  2. Check restrictions and international money transfers.
  3. Check transfers between your checking and savings accounts.
  4. Ask about the all-time minimum balance.
  5. Make sure a branch of the bank is located near your student dorms in the USA.
  6. Locate ATMs within your residential vicinity or near your university/college.

What are the US bank accounts options for international students?

There are two primary types of bank accounts in the U.S; checking accounts and savings accounts.

The Checking Account. 

If you’re looking to safely store your money and easily access it anytime, this type of student bank account works like a treat. Managing your daily expenses and paying your monthly utility bills are all easy when using this account. It gives you a debit card to withdraw money from ATMs and make purchases when you are shopping. Make sure to ask about the monthly balances and maintenance fees to be paid as they vary from one account type to another. Most international students go for this US bank account since it is easier for managing living expenses while at college.

The Savings Account. 

It is mostly used for long-term deposits and high-interest rates. They’re incredibly beneficial for students with large sums of money; however, opening a checking account alongside this one is a great option to consider, since most international students will transfer large amounts of money to their savings account, then transfer it to their student checking account. 

Minimum balances and service fees vary from bank to bank, so make sure to inquire about that. Remember! Bank advisors are salesmen, after all.

Can You Open a US Student Bank Account From Abroad?

Although numerous banks might advertise that opening a student bank account could be done over the phone or online, it’s better to make it happen face-to-face. In short, as an international student, you might face some complications or misunderstandings to fit into one of the US banks’ categories, so doing it in-person will clear things up. Additionally, it’s beneficial to build rapport with someone at the bank so you can have a better understanding of your financial situation and ask for help when you need it.

To open a student bank account, you will need to provide your full name, home address, home phone number, campus phone number, and your college/university address. Your college address should be presented within a letterhead, like utility bills, apartment contract, etc.

You’ll need to bring your passport, I-94 card, I-20, DS-2019, or I-797 approval notice. Also, bringing any secondary form of identification, such as your Student ID, original birth certificate, or driver’s license will be required. You should also get an enrollment verification letter from your school, and make sure to ask the bank you chose about handling funds, deposits, and student loans through them. 

What Are the Best USA Banks for Your Student Bank Account?

There are many banks where you can open your account online or face-to-face. Choose a bank close to your student accommodation to save time.

1.Chase Bank

This is the largest bank in the USA with dozens of branches in almost every city. According to Nerd Wallet, the bank offers a valuable checking account for students from age 17 to 24 years old with a sign-up bonus. In addition, there are no service fees for Chase saving accounts that are linked to a checking account t. They also have a mobile application to monitor and manage your account easily.

2.Wells Fargo Bank

This well-known bank has multiple advantages if you intend to sign up for an account with them. It offers a sign-up bonus for creating an account and has a good interest rate. The best advantage for Wells Fargo bank, however, is its widespread branches and ATMs. Wells Fargo Bank has the biggest network of ATMs throughout the country making it accessible anytime.

3. Regions Bank

As an international student in the USA, you can apply for the student checking account at Regions Bank and benefit from many advantages. There are no monthly fees on this checking account. Moreover, you will get free access to online banking and free online bill payments through the mobile application, which is easy to use and has many options at the touch of a button.

4.BMO Harris Bank

When you apply for a student account at BMO Harris Bank, you will get a valuable checking account with the ability to withdraw from a large network of ATMs all around the USA. You will not be charged any monthly fees, and you will be granted unlimited online transactions so you can buy and pay for your online purchases and subscriptions.

5.Capital One

You can create your student account at Capital One for free. With this account, you will get a free debit card which you can use to withdraw cash from ATMs near your student home. Capital One 360 online account is one of the best online banking accounts when it comes to low account fees.

So once you have settled in your student accommodation, start to locate a nearby bank that offers a student account and ATMs in your neighbourhood. It is better to apply for the account in the bank branch. You should start with a checking account and plan for a savings account related to the checking account with no extra fees.


Finally, your bank account is the perfect way to track your spendings and monthly savings. It seriously helps you stay on budget. Read our 7 Savvy Ways to Live on a Budget as a Student blog if you want to know how to save more effectively. 

You could also save money by choosing a good student accommodation option with the facilities you need. Casita will help you find your student accommodation in the USA as we have multiple student accommodation in many states, including Alabama, Florida, New York, Connecticut, Texas, and Wisconsin. 


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