international student life

international student

Banking for International Students:

Money Transfers, Paying bills, Checks, Debit & Credit cards, Online banking, Credit line, Direct Deposits and More.

When you travel as an international student, you need to bring with you a substantial amount of money. Imagine you brought with you thousands of dollars in cash, probably your parent's lifetime savings and then all over sudden, you lost it or were robbed?

You would then be alone in a foreign country with no money, a very dangerous situation. To avoid such a scenario, use the various banking and money transfer services available.

First, don't carry a lot of cash when you immediately come to a foreign country, just carry what you need for a few weeks and then carry the rest in international travelers checks or have it wired to you later when you settle.

The first day you arrive at your college, ask the international student advisor to show you how and where to open a bank account. You will need some cash to deposit in the new account and an address where they can send your checkbooks and other information. Use your apartment or dorm rooms address. If you don't have one yet, use the international student's office address and you can change the address later when you get your apartment.

After you get a bank account, you can ask your parents or relatives in your home country to send you money through bank transfer to your bank account. This is much safer because your money cannot be stolen or misplaced, and if it does, you will have a paper trail and the bank will refund you.

You will need a bank account to pay your day-to-day bills such as rent, utilities, Internet, cell phone and college fees. Most institutions will not take cash for payment. The bank will give you temporary check books that you can use before the main check books are mailed to you.

After you open your bank account, the bank will send you checkbooks and a debit card. A debit card is a card you can use to purchase things in the stores/shops and on the internet, but the funds are drawn from your checking account. So make sure there is enough money in your account before using the debit card, otherwise it will be rejected at the store and leave you embarrassed.

Managing your finances is very easy because it can be done entirely online. Banks have websites where you create an account. You can then view your account balances and pay bills online at any time wherever you have access to a computer with internet connection. As well as being fast and efficient, online banking creates permanent records of your transactions and also eliminates paperwork. This saves paper, hence saves trees and the environment. Doing online banking helps you preserve the earth and reduce global warming.

After staying in the foreign country for a while, you will be introduced to the concept of credit. This is where they have a record of how reliable you are at paying your bills and financial institutions use that record to decide if you can get credit in future and at how much interest rate. For example, if you always pay your bills promptly, you are deemed reliable and your credit score is higher than a person who always pay their bills late. If your credit is high, you can easily be allowed to buy things on credit because they know that you will pay them.

However, while paying your bills and rent promptly will help improve your credit score, that alone is not all you need. You will need to try get a credit card, or buy something on credit and then make payments promptly and this will build your credit. For more information about credit, and how to get your free credit report, visit:

What is a Credit card? This is when a financial institution lends you money to use and then you pay them back monthly with interest. It's called a credit card because it comes in the form of a plastic card. A word of caution about credit cards. Please don't get into too much credit card debt because they usually have very high interest rates and may be difficult to pay off.

If you have a job, make sure to enroll in direct deposit. This is where your employer electronically deposits your paycheck directly to your bank account every time you get paid. You don't have to walk to the payment office, wait in line, get your check, walk to the bank, wait in line again, then deposit your check before you can use your money. Direct deposit will save you a lot of hustle and it's also efficient for your employer and your bank. You just sit back and your money automatically shows up in your bank account. If you are worried you may be conned of your money, you just get to the internet, log in to your account and check how much money has been deposited. Direct deposit is very safe and also eliminates paper usage hence help the environment.