Texas Tech University

Opening a Bank Account

man looking at money

STEP 1: Choose a bank! 

We recommend doing a little research! Ask fellow students which bank they use and if they like it. Why and why not? Read online reviews and look at bank websites.

There are couple of options: 

  • National bank: These are large banks that can be found throughout the country. This is a good choice if you want to travel around. The biggest national banks in the US are Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citibank, and US Bank.
  •  Regional bank: These are smaller banks that are only in your specific area. Sometimes, these banks offer more personal customer service and better terms. 
  • Credit Union: Credit unions can be thought of as community banks owned and operated by the members. They offer most of the same services as banks. You can check if your campus has a credit union. Sometimes, they offer more flexibility.


Here are a list of banks within walking distance or on Tech campus: 


Chase Bank

Prosperity Bank

Texas Tech Credit Union

Bank of America

City Bank

Wells Fargo

Step 2: Choose an Account!

There are two different types of bank accounts in the US: a checking account and a savings account.

Checking account: a checking account allows you to deposit and withdraw money as often as you like. Usually when you open a checking account you receive a chequebook and a debit card. Most international students will only need to open a checking account to pay for their living costs while studying in the US.

Savings accounts: a savings account is a place to collect money over a longer term. Some students may consider opening one of these, if they are working or want to save money for travel or emergencies. 

Most banks even have specific checking accounts for students, such as the Chase College Checking Account and the Santander Student Value Checking Account. 


Pay Attention to the Details that Affect You!

Here are a few things you might need to ask about when setting up a bank account in the US.

  • Inquire about Bank Fees. If you plan to travel outside of the US, be sure to ask for information on international in-network ATMS.
  • Is there overdraft protection available? You don't want to be charged a large fee if you accidentally spend to much on TTU merch one night!
  • Can you quickly transfer funds from account to account in the same day if there is an emergency or is there a waiting period?
  • Look into adding a savings account if you'll have large amounts of money that you won't need to spend right away. This way, you can earn interest on your balance.
  • Are you required to keep a certain amount of money in your accounts at all times?

Opening a Bank Account

Although it is possible to open a bank account over the phone or online, if you are an international student it might be easier to open your account in person in case there are any complications. When you go to the bank to open your account you will need:

  • Your full name, home address, home telephone number, your campus telephone number and your college address (yes this means you need to have an apartment or dorm before you can open an account! You need a US address and you will not be able to use the internaitonal office's address).
  • Your passport
  • An I-20 (certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant student status) or I-797 approval notice
  • Any secondary form of identification (such as your student ID card, birth certificate, driver's license, or a letter from the international students and scholars office at your university)
  • A letter of acceptance from your university
  • An amount of money to deposit into the account (this will vary between banks)

These requirements may be slightly different across banks, so make sure you check what your bank requires before heading over. 


Quick Tips

Happy Banking!