A bank account is essential when you go abroad. At minimum you need to have an account from home and, depending on where and how long you decide to study abroad, consider opening an account in your host country too. The benefits to having a bank account include:
Before you leave:
- Keeping your money in a bank account is safer than carrying cash
- Family or friends can deposit money into your account if your cash runs low or in an emergency
- It’s easier for you to keep track of your spending
Notify your bank that you will be going abroad. This will prevent your bank from blocking your ATM/Check card because of unusual charges being made abroad. Get paperless banks statements or have your statements forwarded to your address abroad (this helps prevent fraud) U.S. banks abroad
U.S. banks Citibank and HSBC both offer branches and ATMs abroad. An account with either will save you money by avoiding fees for ATM withdrawals. Other U.S.-based banks offer customers international services. For example, Bank of America doesn’t have branches or ATM's abroad, but it does have affiliations with foreign banks. Bank of America customers can withdraw money from affiliated foreign banks ATM's without paying a fee. Wells Fargo (en español) also provides international banking services through its International Personal Banking.Opening an account with a foreign bank
If you choose to open an account in your host country, wait until you arrive. In other words, open the account in person, not online. Most study abroad programs will explain the options for opening bank accounts during your orientation. Shop around and find the bank that meets your needs.