Best Bank Accounts for International Students in USA

Every student’s wish list includes studying abroad. Studying abroad is all about making the right decisions and making the next few years enjoyable and smooth, from deciding on the best college for you to choosing the right bank account. It can be difficult to understand what you want from a bank account, especially if you have no idea about the best bank accounts for international students in USA.

In this blog, we’ll look at how you can make your transactions in a foreign country go more smoothly by selecting the best bank for the job! Continue reading to learn more about the best bank for international students in USA and how to open an international student bank account!

What Is An International Bank Account?

Carrying large sums of money around when pursuing higher education in a foreign country is risky. The best way to manage your money safely is to deposit it into a secure account for payments, withdrawals, and transactions. This job is made easier by having an international bank account. 

These are, by default, bank accounts that scale and exchange monetary transactions for international residents to manage their money smoothly and efficiently, much as a localized bank would. Each account has a unique IBAN (international banking account number) that identifies the customer’s banking information at their financial institution.

IBAN numbers are made up of alphanumeric characters made up of alphabetic characters A to Z and numerical digits ranging from 0 to 9.

How To Open An International Bank Account?

Here’s how to open an international bank account before learning about the best bank accounts for international students in the USA. Students will need identification documents such as a driver’s license or passport, proof of residency, as well as the lease agreement, and any utility bills. 

International students in the USA must deposit some seed money to meet the bank’s minimum balance requirement. Depending on which bank asks for it, students must provide students proof, such as a university offer letter or a university transcript.

What Is The Process For Opening A Bank Account?

Now that you’ve determined which bank account is best for you, you’re probably wondering how to open your new account. Fortunately, opening a new bank account is now easier than ever, as long as you have the necessary documents. To open your new bank account, you will need a few things. If you’re an international student, you’ll need the following:

  • Your last three bank statements, as well as a recent utility bill (not phone) or any government-issued document that includes your address.
  • If you’re an international student, you’ll need a debit/credit card from your home country.
  • Your full name, home address, home phone number, campus phone number, and college address are all required.
  • Your travel document
  • An I-797 approval notice or I-20 (certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant student status).
  • Any other form of identification (e.g., your student ID card, birth certificate, driver’s license, or a letter from your university’s international students and scholars office)
  • Your credit history report
  • A letter from your university stating that you have been accepted
  • The sum of money to be deposited in the account (this will vary between banks)

Almost all banks allow you to open a new bank account online in a matter of minutes by simply entering the requested information. If this option is not available to you (for example, if you are an international student attempting to open a bank account), you can schedule an appointment with a bank branch to resolve the issue in person.

Is It Possible For International Students To Open Bank Accounts Online?

International students can apply for an account online and submit supporting documentation. Although many banks offer online account opening, some may require you to visit a branch. Your student visa and any other documents, as well as the status of your visa, confirm your right to live and study in the United States. 

Proof that you are a student at the university is one of the most important documents required for verification. Some banks will only open accounts for students who have a specific student visa, such as an F1 visa (for academic studies), a J1 visa (for practical training), or an M1 visa (for medical training or vocational studies). 

You must check with the bank to ensure that you are aware of all the requirements.

What Type Of Student Bank Account Do I Require?

The checking account and the savings account are the two main types of bank accounts to be aware of in the United States. 

1. Checking account

A checking account is an account that you will use daily. These accounts allow you to access your funds whenever you want and provide a secure storage location for your funds. These accounts are great for keeping track of your daily expenses and paying bills. 

2. Savings account

The bank account you’ll use for longer-term deposits is a savings account. These accounts allow you to earn interest on your savings, so it’s worth looking into the savings account interest rates at each bank to see which one offers the best deal.

Benefits And Extras Explained In Detail

Banks frequently try to entice students by offering a variety of extras and benefits, but what exactly do they imply? Before we begin comparing the various student checking accounts available in the United States, let’s take a look at the various perks that banks may use to compete.

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1. ATM charges

If you withdraw money from another bank’s ATM in the United States, your bank will almost always charge you. As you can see in the table below, some banks will provide you with a bonus by lowering the fees you will be charged for using an ATM of a different bank.

Others will compete by providing numerous ATMs throughout the United States. This is especially common in larger banks with many branches, such as Bank of America and Chase Bank.

2. Cash bonuses

You might think to yourself, “Free money!” when you see this. However, be aware that certain restrictions may apply, such as the requirement to deposit a certain amount in the bank account each month. But, in the end, it is unrestricted cash.

3. Overdraft protection

You will go into an overdraft if you spend more money than you have in your student bank account. Your bank may reject your payment and charge you a non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee if this happens. Overdraft protection prevents this by allowing transactions to go through even if you don’t have the funds available right now.

Linking an eligible savings account, which automatically transfers money from a savings account to cover the amount, linking a credit card, an overdraft line of credit (a line of credit for overdrafts based on your creditworthiness), or even overdraft coverage for one-time transactions are all options your bank may offer. However, keep in mind that all of these come with possible fees, so keep that in mind before you go on an online shopping binge!

4. Monthly service fees

Monthly service fees are fees charged by banks to maintain your bank account monthly. They typically range from $6 to $50 per month, depending on the bank and the type of account you open. These fees, on the other hand, are easily avoidable. They are frequently waived as a benefit of student bank accounts, and they can also be avoided by making a regular monthly deposit or maintaining a certain amount of money in your bank account. Check with your chosen bank to see what their policy is on monthly service fees.

Top 7 International Student Bank Accounts

1. Chase Bank College Checking Account

The Chase Bank College Checking Account has all the banking features that a student requires. This is one of the best bank accounts for international students in USA and among the best bank for students in the USA. The Chase College Checking Account has no monthly service fee until after graduation for college students between the ages of 17 and 24 (up to five years after opening the account).

A $100 sign-on bonus is available from Chase: Within 60 days of account opening, you must enroll for paperless statements and complete 10 qualifying transactions (direct deposit, debit card purchases, and online bill payments). Chase’s nationwide network of over 4,700 branches and 16,000 ATMs adds to its allure.

Students attending school out of state may be able to access their Chase student account on campus and from home, and they can trust that finding a Chase ATM will save them money. Despite Chase’s massive footprint, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont have no Chase branches.

2. Capital One MONEY Account

For students under the age of 18, the Capital One MONEY Teen Checking account is a great option (in fact, they can be as young as 8 years old). This is one of the best bank accounts for international students in the USA and among the best international student bank account. There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, and teens get a free debit card in their name.

Teen account holders can access their money anywhere with more than 70,000 fee-free Capital One and partner ATMs. The account also pays 0.10 percent APY (Annual Percentage Yield) on all balances, allowing high school students to learn about the importance of saving. Parents are joint owners of the account and have access to transaction information as well as text alerts. They can also link their own bank account to the MONEY account (even if it isn’t with Capital One) and transfer a recurring allowance or a one-time amount.

While this account is ideal for teenagers under the age of 18, it does not have to be closed or rolled over once the account holder reaches the age of 18. Account-holders, on the other hand, can open their own Capital One 360 Checking account and transfer some or all of their balance there. Also, because MONEY accounts are paperless, no checks are available.

3. Bank of America Advantage Banking

The Advantage Banking program from Bank of America is a general checking account that waives the monthly maintenance fee for any student under the age of 24. (including high school, university, and vocational programs). To open the account, you must make a minimum deposit of $25 or $100, depending on whether you choose the Advantage SafeBalance or Advantage Plus version.

This is one of the best bank accounts for international students in the USA and among the best bank for students in the USA. The Advantage SafeBalance account is not only checkless but also has a no-overdraft feature. With an Advantage Banking account, you can take advantage of BofA’s Keep the Change® program, which automatically rounds up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the difference in your savings account. 

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This account is especially beneficial for beginning savers because of this benefit, as well as the customizable account alerts via email or text. And the interactive Spending/Budgeting tool, which allows you to track your spending and other financial habits and create a budget. You can keep it after you graduate or reach the age of 24. 

However, you will be required to pay monthly maintenance fees, which are quite high: $4.95 per month for SafeBalance and $12 per month for Advantage Plus.

4. Discover Cashback Debit Account

While the Discover Cashback Debit Account isn’t designed specifically for students, it’s a great option for anyone 18 or older who wants all the benefits of a student account plus the convenience of a debit card. This is one of the best bank accounts for international students in the USA and among the best international student bank account. This account has no monthly fees, no minimum deposit, no overdraft fee, and no ATM fee, so you can keep it even after you graduate. 

Another attractive feature is the 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in monthly debit card purchases, which can add up to $360 in cashback per year. Free checks, free online bill pay and ACH payments, and free replacement debit cards are among Discover’s other perks. Discover also works with the Allpoint ATM network, which gives you free access to over 60,000 ATMs across the country. 

However, there are no physical locations where you can visit, so any issues must be resolved over the phone. Deposits must be made via an online transfer from another account, direct deposit, mobile check deposit, or mail.

5. PNC Virtual Wallet Student Account

When opening an account online, the PNC Virtual Wallet Student Account requires no minimum deposit and waives the monthly service fee for up to six years for actively enrolled students. This is one of the best bank accounts for international students in the USA and among the best bank for students in the USA. 

There are three accounts in the PNC Virtual Wallet: a primary checking account called Spend, an interest-bearing checking account called Reserve, and a long-term savings account called Growth. These accounts, as well as PNC’s interactive mobile tools and online educational articles, make it simple for students to budget, save, manage bills, and set financial goals.

PNC also offers some unique benefits, such as an automatic courtesy refund of an overdraft fee on your first overdraft, one free incoming wire transfer per statement, and up to $5 in ATM fee reimbursement from other banks per statement period.

6. BB&T Student Checking Account

This is one of the best bank accounts for international students in the USA and among the best international student bank account. The BB&T Student Checking Account, which is geared toward students aged 23 and younger, has some useful features (see below), but the U by BB&T mobile app is what makes it stand out in this category. The app is cutting-edge and simple to use, allowing you to personalize your dashboard with whatever information is most important to you, from checking your credit score to paying bills. 

You can also use your phone to set savings and spending goals, send money to friends using Zelle, store and attach receipts, and even connect with a personal banker. The app currently has a 4.8-star rating on the iTunes App Store and a 4.6-star rating on Google Play in the Finance category. It’s cheap to keep your money in this account because there’s no minimum deposit, no monthly fee, and no requirement for direct deposit. 

BB&T also waives the fee for non-BB&T ATM transactions twice per statement cycle, though you will not be reimbursed for the fee charged by the other bank. Although the account is fee-free, overdraft fees are common, though you can avoid them by opting out of Overdraft Review. 

Unfortunately, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia are the only 15 states where BB&T is currently available. However, BB&T recently merged with SunTrust to form Truist, which will expand the company’s geographic footprint.

7. U.S. Bank Student Checking Account

The U.S. Bank Student Checking Account is the best option for students attending one of the 47 schools in 16 states (mostly in the West, Midwest, and South) that use the U.S. Bank campus banking program. This is one of the best bank accounts for international students in the USA and among the best bank for students in the USA. You’ll be able to link your student ID to your checking account and use it at ATMs and for PIN purchases on many of these campuses. 

You’ll also have access to financial education for students through the campus banking program, which will assist you in managing your finances. To open a U.S. Bank Student Checking Account, you do not need to be a student at one of the affiliated schools. And there are several compelling reasons to do so, beginning with the $0 monthly maintenance fee and the complimentary U.S. Bank Visa debit card. 

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U.S. Bank, which has over 3,000 branches and 4,800 ATMs, provides student accounts with the same suite of tools as non-student accounts, including online and mobile banking, no-fee transactions at U.S. Bank ATMs, mobile check deposits, and Zelle payments. You’ll also get your first order of checks free and the ATM fee waived for your first four non-US Bank ATM transactions per statement period.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Student Account

Some factors to consider when selecting a bank are:

1. Monthly fees or service charges 

While these are sometimes waived for students, many bank accounts have them. Charges are frequently based on the amount of money you transfer and the minimum amount you want to keep in your account, so keep that in mind as you do your research. Paper statements, for example, may be subject to additional fees at some banks.

2. Is there an ATM near your campus that you can use? 

Choose a bank with a branch and ATM close to where you will be schooling in the United States. There’s a chance you’ll be charged for withdrawing money from the bank where you have your account if you use an ATM from a different bank. The bank with ATMs on your campus likely has some sort of relationship with your school.

3. Is it better to have a state bank or a national bank? 

If you are an international or out-of-state student, it is preferable to open a bank account with a national bank, such as Bank of America or Chase. Rather than a state-specific bank, so that you can use ATMs across the country. If you’re staying in-state for university, however, it’s probably best to stick with your local bank, especially if you already have an account with them.

4. Is the bank insured by the FDIC? 

If you choose a bank that is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, you can rest assured that your funds will be safe in the unlikely event that the bank fails.

5. What kind of banking services are you looking for?

Check with your bank to see if they offer digital banking, debit cards, or credit cards.

6. How much money are you planning to transfer each month?

The amount of money transferred and the minimum amount you want to keep in your account determine the bank’s charges.

Conclusion

To use a money transfer company to receive or send money online, you’ll need a bank account to complete the transaction. Because most banks charge high transfer fees and take longer to transfer money than their digital counterparts, the bank account you open will serve solely as a means of transferring funds.

You are certainly not alone if you are perplexed about student banking. Continue reading to learn about the benefits that some of the country’s largest banks provide to students and how you can take advantage of them. Anyone up for some free cash?

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are International Bank Accounts, and How Do They Work?

International bank accounts work in the same way as domestic bank accounts. They assist customers by providing the best financial services, such as payment accounts, and ensuring safe monetary services to foreign clients, in this case, international US students. Every bank has a banking policy that outlines how it conducts business.

What is a Foreign Bank Account’s Minimum Balance?

There isn’t a set upper limit. Students are required to maintain a minimum balance, which varies depending on the bank. Students have complete control over how much money they keep in their bank accounts and how they manage their transactions.

How Do International Students Choose The Best Bank Accounts In The United States?

International students can open two types of bank accounts in the United States: a savings account and a checking account. A savings account is ideal for earning a higher interest rate and saving money over time, as well as for students who plan to work part-time. A checking account, on the other hand, allows you to deposit, withdraw, and send money online as often as you want.

Is Having an International Bank Account Legal?

Yes, it is legal for a foreign student to open an international bank account. To ensure smooth financial transactions at a low cost, most students/clients are required to maintain a minimum balance.

What are the Benefits of Having an International Bank Account?

The most compelling reason for international students in the USA to open an international bank account is to have a legal and secure means of transferring funds to pay semester or yearly tuition fees. Financial services such as digital banking and card systems such as banking debit or credit cards are also available to international students who have a bank account. Furthermore, because these services are available to any international student, they can access their funds at any time in the event of an emergency.

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