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Best Bank Accounts for International Students in the USA

Updated on Apr 09, 2020
Student holding a card

In order to cover your day-to-day expenses, you need money. However, lugging around loads of cash in your hand is not a good idea, especially as a student pursuing higher education in the USA. 

Furthermore, unless you have a work permit and you’re on the road to financial independence, your parents would need to send money online for you to survive. In this case, opening a bank account to receive and save money becomes of utmost importance as it is the only way to receive these funds. But, to know which bank to choose and the type of account to be opened is of vital importance.

Choosing the right bank

To make the right choice, you need to keep the most important factor for sending money online easily in mind and find answers to the following questions:

  • What type of banking services would you require?

Check with the bank if they provide services like digital banking and debit cards and credit card

  • How much amount will you be transferring every month?

The bank’s charges apply based on the quantum of money transferred and the minimum amount you wish to keep in your account. 

  • Is the nearest branch and its ATM within your residential vicinity?

Choose a bank whose branch and ATM is nearby to the place where you will be living in the USA. 

  • Does the FDIC insure the bank?

You should choose a bank which is secured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It will ensure that you receive funds even if the bank goes under. 

Banks offering a bank account service to international students in the USA

There are several banks which offer the service of opening a bank account to International students in the USA. Just like a normal bank account, these banks offer the same banking services to the International students and allow them to send money online or receive it from the family. Some of the popular banks and account types are:

Refer to the chart below for more details on fees and benefits.


Selecting the perfect bank account

There are two types of bank accounts an international student can choose from in the US: a savings account, and a checking account. A savings account would allow a student to earn a better interest rate and save money over an extended period or if you are working part-time. On the other hand, a checking account allows you to deposit, withdraw, and send money online as often as they would like. Some banks only allow students to open accounts with a specific student visa such as F1 Visa (academic studies), J1 Visa (practical training) or M1 Visa (vocational studies). It is important that you check with the bank and see their dependency on visa applications.

Process of opening a bank account

As an international student, you would typically require the following documents to open a bank account in the USA:

  • Your Passport
  • Student Visa
  • Second ID proof (student card or driver’s license)
  • Proof of university enrollment
  • Seed money to open the bank account (differs with each bank)

You can visit the bank’s branch to open your account or visit their website to see if they allow students to open an account online.


To receive or send money online through a money transfer company, you would require a bank account to complete the transaction. As most banks incur high transfer fees and take more time to transfer money than its digital counterpart, the bank account you open would work specifically as a medium through which the money is transferred. A useful feature by CompareRemit allows you to compare money transfer companies and their exchange rates with American banks and with other transfer firms, helping you find the most affordable money transfer service. 

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