Piggy Bank on Money


There are many different banking options in the U.S. When you are choosing a bank, ask about ATM and checking fees, and minimum balances. Some banks offer special student accounts. Wellesley College has a Bank of America ATM in the Campus Center. The banks within walking distance from campus are:

Larger national banks tend to offer more comprehensive international services, such as wire transfers, international drafts, foreign currency exchange, and foreign traveler‘s checks. It may take longer to complete such transactions at smaller banks. 

Other banks in Wellesley are further from campus.

International students may run into some challenges opening accounts in the U.S. and should be aware of what is needed to initiate banking services

Banks’ Customer Identification Programs (CIPs)

U.S. financial institutions are required to verify the identity of every individual who opens a bank account. In compliance with federal regulation, all banks operating in the U.S. have established Customer Identification Programs that they are to follow for anyone who seeks to open an account. Below is the minimal information a bank must obtain from you before allowing you to open an account:

  • You name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your residential address (no P.O. box or campus mailbox)
  • An identifcation number

An identification number can be one or more of the following:

  • A taxpayer ID number (Social Security number or individual taxpayer ID number)
  • Passport number and country of issuance
  • Alien identification card number
  • Any other government-issued document evidencing nationality or residence and bearing a photograph or similar safeguard.

What to Bring When Opening an Account

  • Money to deposit
  • Your passport and one other form of identification
  • Form I-94 (electronic version may be required)
  • Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
  • Local mailing address
    • Be sure you know all address details (street name and number, mailbox number, town zip code). Bring proof that this is your address, like a bill or letter you have received there.
  • Your mother‘s maiden name
    • The bank will ask you for your mother‘s maiden name (your mother‘s family name before she was married) or some other family name. This name is used as a security check when you need to contact the bank with questions.
  • Taxpayer Identification Number – Required by some but not all banks. The following are acceptable to use:
  1. Social Security number (SSN)
    • If you have applied but not yet received your SSN, bring your receipt notice
  2. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
    • Issued by the IRS to those not eligible for a Social Security number. If you will apply for an ITIN you will need to open your bank account and then apply for an ITIN.
  3. Form W-8 BEN (for those not eligible for a Social Security number or ITIN)