Basics of banking in the US



Opening a Bank Account in the US 

To open an account in the US you are required to submit an official document such as a passport or Drivers License and make an initial deposit. You may open a checking account, which is the most common type of account in the US to carry out most day to day transactions such as receiving wages, paying your rent and utility bills. A checking account generally allows you to transfer money between accounts, set up regular payments, use internet and phone banking services and entitles you to a free ATM card. You can also open a savings account which will pay you a higher rate of interest than a checking account but will not offer any other services.   

A good credit history is of great importance in the US. This is determined by the promptness and regularity with which you pay your bills. A good credit report is vital in procuring mortgages and loans from American banks. 

ATM, Debit & Credit Cards in the US 

Opening a checking account automatically entitles you to a Debit/ATM card which you can use for withdrawals from cash machines. If you have a card from your home country, check to see if it works in the US - but getting an American ATM card ensures lower transactions costs. Credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa and American Express are widely accepted in America and most credit card companies don't even charge an annual fee. Some American banks are reluctant to issue credit cards to foreigners who have recently arrived in the country. To get a credit card in the US you will need a Social Security Number. 

Money Transfers in the US 

To transfer money from the US to another country you may use the services of money transfer agencies like Western Union and MoneyGram, bank transfers, wire transfers, money orders through the United States Postal Services and PayPal.