Financial 4.0 logo
Sign In

Opening U.S. Accounts as an International Student

Written by: Courtney (she/her)

3 min read | Published: March 23, 2023

Image for Opening U.S. Accounts as an International Student

Some things might look a little different navigating college life as an international student, including managing your money. If you’ve been hesitant to opening a savings and checking account while in the U.S., or if you have opened an account and aren’t really sure how to use it, we have you covered! Keep reading to learn about the benefits, ways to pick a financial institution, and things to know during the process.

Why open an account?

It’s pretty common to come to the U.S. and to college with an account already established in your home country. However, there are still benefits to having an account with a local financial institution to help easily access your funds and perform basic financial transactions while you’re in school. These include, but aren’t limited to, being able to easily access cash, manage your bill payments, receive refunds from your university, or make everyday purchases. It can also help with establishing and maintaining a budget.

Identifying a financial institution

One of the best ways to start the process of finding a local financial institution is to ask those around you! Talk to your university’s international office or check their website to see if they have a special relationship with any institutions in the area. It’ll also be helpful to ask your classmates, professors, or advisers if they have any suggestions. From there, you can do a little research to see which financial institution fits best with your current needs, goals, and values. Research what options are available with international accounts, consider how you’ll be receiving funds from your home country, if applicable, and learn about any requirements needed to open or maintain the account.

Items needed to open an account

While there is typically an option to open an account online or over the phone, sometimes it can be easier to do it in person due to the documentation needed. This can also be a great option if you want to ask more specific questions about your personal goals and account uses. What you need can vary between credit unions and banks, but you’ll typically want to bring the following with you when applying to open a new account:

Things to keep in mind


Was this helpful?

Browse Related

Image for Tips for Maintaining International Student Accounts

Tips for Maintaining International Student Accounts


2 min read | April 27, 2023

Opening a checking or savings account in the U.S. creates financial opportunity — a way to easily access your money, pay bills, receive funds from your university or family abroad, and make purchases. Do you know how to manage your account?

Learn More

Image for Three Tips for Traveling as a College Student

Three Tips for Traveling as a College Student


3 min read | June 1, 2023

Are you a college student who’s eager to do some traveling but you’re not swimming in money? Learn some ways you can afford to take your dream trip while still working toward your degree.

Learn More

Image for Establishing Credit as an International Student

Establishing Credit as an International Student


3 min read | September 5, 2023

Whether you’re planning to remain in the U.S. after finishing your degree, need to rent an apartment, or purchase a vehicle during your time here, establishing a positive credit score will make accomplishing those goals much easier!

Learn More

Browse by Category

Image for Budgeting


Image for Career


Image for College


Image for Credit


Image for Fraud


Image for Investing


Image for Lifestyle & Travel

Lifestyle & Travel

Image for Student Athletes

Student Athletes

Image for International Students

International Students

MSU Federal Credit Union

Produced by Michigan State University Federal Credit Union. MSU Federal Credit Union and related trademarks and logos are trademarks of MSU Federal Credit Union. Federally insured by the NCUA. Equal Housing Lender.

If you are using a screen-reader or other auxiliary aid and are having problems using this website, please call 800-678-4968 for assistance. All products and services available on this website are available at MSUFCU full-service locations.

Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Copyright © 2024 Reseda Group LLC, used under license.

Terms of Use
Privacy Policy