Banking & Currency

If possible, you should open a bank account in Boston before you arrive or bring funds in a form that local banks will allow you to use immediately, such as traveler’s checks. It’s not safe to travel with large amounts of cash, so we strongly encourage using traveler’s checks if you plan to bring a large amount of money to Boston. Using a personal check is not recommended since there may be a delay before you can withdraw funds from your account.

Bank Accounts

To open an account, you will need to provide the following forms of identification:

  • A passport and visa documents
  • Proof of attendance at Boston University
  • A Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if you have one – If not, you will need to work with the bank to open an account without one

Please see more information on eligibility and process on applying for a Social Security Number or an ITIN.

Common Account Types

Checking Accounts

These allow for easy access to your money to pay bills and make purchases. Most banks charge a monthly fee, so be sure to compare bank rates and fees. Also inquire about the locations of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) for your convenience.

Savings Accounts

These accounts allow you to save your money and earn interest. Again, compare interest rates, fees, and rules regarding minimum balances among different banks. Many banks offer linked savings and checking accounts as a package.

There are several well-known banks in the Boston area with locations across the city. They are likely to offer special services for students, and a few, including Bank of America, Citizens Bank, and CitiBank, have branches on BU’s campus. Boston University is not affiliated with nor does it endorse any banks.

Currency Exchange

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

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

1 State Street, Ground Level
Boston, MA 02109
Phone: 617-723-8400
39 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-868-2600