In the U.S. it is considered dangerous to carry large amounts of cash. We recommend that you keep a small amount of cash with you and deposit any large amounts of cash in a bank. There are two primary options available to you at the bank: checking accounts or savings accounts.
You deposit your money and receive an ATM card and, if you request them, paper checks. You then are able to use your ATM card to withdraw funds from your bank account or to make purchases. You may also write checks for various expenses. You need to keep a careful record of how much money you have in the bank, the checks you write, purchases you make and your ATM withdrawals. Spending more than the amount you have in your account results in expensive fines and other penalties.
Please be aware that if you travel in the U.S. you may experience difficulty in writing personal checks outside of Richmond or the state of Indiana. (This is a common problem for everyone, including U.S. citizens.)
These accounts are designed for saving money over a long period of time. Interest is paid on the balance of these accounts. You typically cannot write checks from these accounts.
Opening an Account
To open a bank account you must take your passport, visa, I-20 and I-94. Some banks may also require an initial deposit and/or a social security number. During New Student Orientation we will explain the application procedure for social security cards and a representative of U.S. Bank will be available on campus to help you open a bank account.
With a bank account, funds can be wired from outside the U.S., through a corporate bank, directly into your account. Funds may also be sent to you by check or International Bank Draft written in U.S. dollars and deposited into your account.
ATM cards may be used for purchases, with payment coming directly from your bank account. These cards also offer deposit and withdrawal service 24 hours a day through automated teller machines (ATM). There is an ATM on campus in the student center. Be aware of your surrounding and use caution when withdrawing funds at an ATM outside, especially after dark. Also, you need to keep your personal identification number associated with bankcards confidential so that only you have access to your account. If you loose your ATM card, you should report it to your bank immediately.
Credit cards allow you to make purchases and to pay for them at a later date. There is typically an annual fee attached and you pay interest (usually 18%) on any unpaid balance. These charges can add up. Make sure you stay within your financial limits when making credit card purchases.
Most banks also issue traveler's checks, which are the safest way of carrying large sums of money when traveling. They are accepted in the place of cash nearly everywhere.
Banks in Richmond
For a list of banks and credit unions in Richmond, please visit the Financial page on Waynet.org.