Carrying Money

What you should have in your wallet? Americans seldom carry large amounts of cash with them. Instead, most people pay for their purchases using either a check or credit card. Most bills are paid by mail, by automatic withdrawal from your checking account, or through your Bank’s teller machine (ATM). This is very convenient and timesaving but can also cause some trouble if you do not handle your accounts wisely. Overextending or overdrawing your accounts leads to expensive service charges and will damage your credit history in the United States. Therefore, it is important that you learn to use your checking account correctly and that you set up a budget for yourself.

Bank Accounts

Opening a bank account is very important. There are many banks in town so we suggest that you shop around to find the one that best fits your needs. All U.S. Banks are under Federal Regulation.

Aspects you should consider when choosing a bank:

  1. The location and convenience to the university and/or to your place of residence.
  2. Where the automatic teller machines (ATM’s) are situated.
  3. International banking relationships and procedures. Will these enable you to transfer funds easily to your account.
  4. Types of accounts offered by the bank (i.e., credit card services, emergency transfer from savings accounts, interest bearing checking, etc.)
  5. The interest given on savings and checking accounts
  6. Any charges and fees for checks, services, and savings accounts.

Opening a Bank Account

To open an account in a bank in DeKalb, you will need your passport, NIU ID, and a local address. Most banks will give you temporary checks to use immediately (if you have deposited money) and they will send you your printed checks in about one to two weeks.  You should be aware that most stores in DeKalb do not accept temporary checks, so keep some cash with you for purchases.