Opening a Bank Account
How do I 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:
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 on 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?
Setting up a Bank Account
Banks & Customer Identification Programs (CIPs)
U.S. financial institutions are required to verify the identity of every individual who opens a bank account. In compliance with federal regulations, all banks operating in the United States have established Customer Identification Programs (CIPs) that they are to follow for anyone who seeks to open an account. The following minimal information that the banks must obtain from you before allowing you to open an account are:
- Your name
- Your date of birth
- Your Street Address (you can not use a PO box)
- An Identification Number
An identification number can be one or more of the following:
- A taxpayer identification number (see discussion below);
- passport number and country of issuance;
- alien identification card number; or
- number and country of issuance of any other government-issued document evidencing nationality or residence and bearing a photograph or similar safeguard.
It is important to remember that banks establish their own CIPs and may ask for additional documentation than is described above because they are ultimately responsible for establishing the identity of their customers.
Documentation to Bring with You
Documents you should take with you to open your account:
- Your Passport
- Student Visa (Types of eligable visas include, F-1, J-1 & M-1)
- Proof of enrollment or student ID card
- A local US residential address (a utility bill or your signed apartment lease will work! You need something printined with your address on it)
- Money to deposit (some banks require you to deposit a certain amount to open an account)
To assist you, your institution's ISSS office may provide you with a letter to the bank confirming your status at Texas Tech and asking for their assistance in opening your account.
Credit Card Advice: