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International Student Resources: Bank Accounts & More

Use this guide to find academic, cultural, and career resources specifically for international students.

How Do I Open a Bank Account?

Having a bank account in the U.S. will make managing your finances significantly easier. There are two types of bank accounts: a Checking Account, which allows you to easily withdraw and deposit money, and usually comes with a checkbook and debit card; and a Savings Account, which are for long-term deposits and accruing interest. As an international student, the former will probably be most useful to you.

Different banks offer different services for students-- you can compare them and find one that works best for you. But, it is helpful to find a branch that is close to the college or to your home, as these will be the most convenient and most used to working with international students.

When opening an account for the first time, it is best to go to the bank in person, as opposed to doing it online or over the phone. The information you will need to bring may include:

  • Your full name, address, telephone number, and your college's contact information
  • Your passport and student ID
  • Your I-20
  • An enrollment verification letter from your school
  • Funds which you can deposit to open the account

Opening up a bank account may seem intimidating at first, but not to worry! There are many banks in Boston that are used to working with international students, and there are many resources available to help you along the way. The resources on this page can help you to understand more about setting a U.S. bank account.  And if you need more help, Simmons' office of International Student Advising can answer your questions!

How Do I Get a Cell/Mobile Phone in the US?

There are two ways students can purchase a cell phone (mobile phone) through a service provider. The first is through a pre-paid or pay-as-you-go plan. The second is through a monthly or yearly contract, which is often more cost-effective but may require a Social Security number or an extra deposit (which is returned at the end of the contract) to purchase.

Service providers offer many different plans and pricing options depending on the amount of phone calls, text messages, and data you expect to use. You may compare different plans and contracts to decide which best fits your needs. It may be important to note that extra fees may be required in order to call or text internationally.

Finally, if already have an unlocked cell phone purchased abroad, an option is to purchase just a sim card and service plan from your provider. AT&T or T-mobile are two examples of service providers which offer this service.

Major service providers in the U.S. include: