Money Information

Traveling to a foreign country means you have to be equipped with money and be safe about it. Here are some suggestions to help you. For information on current exchange rates, visit .

U.S. money

U.S. Currency and Cash

You should carry a small amount of U.S. currency with you when you travel to the United States. As long as you do not intend to take a taxi from the airport to your institution, $200 is a reasonable amount to carry. This should be carried in small denominations such as $20, $10, $5, and $1, as well as some change in the form of coins.


Local Bank Account

Once you are settled on your campus, you will want to open a bank account at a local bank. Ask the International Student office on your campus for recommendations. It is usually a smart choice to bank with a US national financial institution with ATM machines on your campus and which has a branch office close to campus. You will want to open a checking account and obtain two cards:

  • A U.S. credit card* (MasterCard or Visa are the preferred credit card companies in the U.S.)
  • An ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) card. It is wise to obtain one that has a MasterCard or VISA logo on it.

*There are some businesses that only accept credit cards for reservations, such as rental car companies.

Credit Cards

Credit Cards

As you may know, Americans like to use credit cards, and therefore they are widely accepted at stores and restaurants in the United States. While you may already have a credit card from your home country, it is strongly advised you obtain an American credit card for use in the United States. Some of the more popular and most widely accepted credit cards are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card.

ATM machines

ATM Cards

ATM cards are also useful, and you may be able to access funding from your home bank from your host institution's city or town if you have an ATM card. Most bank accounts in the United States include the issuing of an ATM card, so you can expect to have one if you open a bank account here.

Personal Checks

Personal Checks and Currency Not in U.S. Cash

Both of these forms of money will be accepted by U.S. banks, however, your money will not be immediately available to you. Usually, it is necessary to have an account with the bank that accepts these funds. If you open a bank account here, you will be able to deposit checks and currency from your home country, but you must wait a few days to withdraw these funds. Most U. S. banks cannot exchange foreign currency for immediate exchange. Only major banks in the largest U.S. cities can exchange foreign currency in the same day.

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