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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 use immediately, such as traveler’s checks. Using a personal check is not recommended, since there may be a delay before you can withdraw money from your account.  Below is information regarding personal banking and some major banks in the Boston area.

In the U.S., it is not safe to travel with large amounts of cash.  For this reason, we strongly encourage students to use traveler’s checks if they will be bringing a large amount of money with them to Boston.

To open a bank account, you will generally need to provide the following identification materials: a passport and visa documents, proof of attendance at Boston University, and a Social Security number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). For visit this page [ISSO social security page] information on how to apply for a Social Security number or an ITIN.

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.  Boston University is not affiliated with any banks; however, below are links to some major banks in the area:

Bank of America
Citizen’s Bank
Santander Bank

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:

One State Street
Ground Level
Boston, MA 02109

Phone: (617) 723-8400

39 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Phone: (617) 868-2600


Boston University
April 28, 2014

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office