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Should you open a bank account in the U.S.?Personal banking

 

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Should You Open a Bank Account in the U.S.?” color=”blue” size=”sm”][vc_column_text]Our answer: “Yes. You should because your life will be a lot easier.”

Before you learn further about doing your personal banking, let’s see how many ways you could pay an energy (usually for electricity and gas) bill.

  1. Pay by phone or online: you need your bank account or debit card or credit card ready.
  2. Mail in your personal check to the energy company.
  3. Pay your bill in person at one of the energy company service locations.

As you can see, handling your living in the U.S., a U.S. bank account can do plenty for you.[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Documents You Need for Opening a Bank Account” color=”blue” size=”sm”][vc_column_text]

  1. Your unexpired passport and I-20.   Remember, there is an I-94 form attached in your passport.   Do not detach the form.
  2. Your student ID
  3. A driver’s license (if you have one)
  4. Proof of your residency in the U.S. (many banks don’t need this one.

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Checking or Savings Account? Or Both?” color=”blue” size=”sm”][vc_column_text]”Is a savings account better than a checking account? ”
“Do I earn more interest with a savings account?”
Below are the answers.[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Checking Account” color=”vista-blue” size=”sm”][vc_column_text]

  • It’s for your daily expenditures.   You are likely to pay your bills and purchases with this account.
  • You are going to obtain your personal checkbooks and you can pay for something by your personal checks.
  • There may be a required monthly minimum balance for this account to get service fee waived.
  • There are certain checks (for example 5 or 10 checks)  you could write a month without extra charges.
  • Usually, a checking account has a lower interest rate or it may have ZERO interest.

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  • This account is for the money you are not going to use immediately.
  • There could be a minimum amount for opening a savings account.
  • The interest rate is higher for this account.

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Personal Banking: Debit Card vs Credit Card

Let’s take a look at their differences.   First, before you decide which one you are going to have, please keep in mind that many U.S. banks now only issue debit cards but not credit cards to international students.  Without a Social Security Number, most  banks could not issue a credit card to you.     (You still could look around.  Some banks may do without the requirement.)

The differences between a debit card and a credit card are:

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  • It does not build up your credit scores.
  • Every time you use your debit card, the amount you spend will be subtracted immediately from your bank account’s balance.
  • Don’t need your signature to use your debit card.

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  • It can build your credit scores gradually if you pay your credit card bills on time every month.
  • Every time you use your credit card, the amount you spend will be added to the total amount for your credit card’s monthly bill.   You have to pay the bill partially (interest will occur) or in full to avoid any penalty.
  • Usually, you have to sign to verify you are the authentic card owner.

Related reading: Tips on Saving More.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]