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Boston is one of the more expensive areas in the United States. If possible, you should either open a bank account in Boston before you arrive or bring funds with you in a form that local banks will allow you to immediately use (travelers checks in U.S. dollars, for example). If you open a bank account with a personal check from a financial institution that is not in Massachusetts, local banks will require you to wait a week or more before you can withdraw money from the account. If your check is not in U.S. dollars, you will have to wait even longer before you can use your money. Banks do this to allow time to make certain that the check will be honored by the bank on which the check was written. Please do not bring large sums of cash with you as it is not safe to travel with.

To open a bank account, you will generally need to provide identification materials such as passport and visa documents, proof of attendance at Boston University, and a Social Security number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). For information on how to apply for a Social Security number or an ITIN, please contact the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) upon arrival to Boston University.

There are two types of accounts that you may open: checking accounts and savings accounts.

Checking accounts allow for easy access to your money to pay bills and make purchases. Most banks charge a monthly fee for a checking account. When opening a checking account, make sure to compare banks and ask about fees. It is often possible to get a better deal. Also make sure to inquire about the locations of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

Savings accounts allow you to save your money and earn interest. Again, be sure to compare interest rates, fees and rules regarding minimum balances at different banking institutions.

There are many banks in the Boston area that are well known and have many branches in the area. They are also most likely to offer special services for students.

Citizen’s Bank

560 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215 USA
Fax: 617.247.1823

Fleet Bank

771 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215 USA
Fax: 617.247.0568

881 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215 USA

Currency Exchange
Currency exchange offices are located at Logan Airport, as well as at many large banks

American Express Travel Agency also provides currency exchange services at the following locations:

1 State Street
Boston, MA
Phone: 617-723-8400

39 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA
Phone: 617-868-2600


Boston University
February 28, 2005

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office