Office of International Students and Scholars

Drop Shadow

Money Matters

When coming to live in a foreign country, it is important that you learn to manage your finances especially because of the currency measurement difference. Converting your home currency to U.S. dollars is important to do as soon as you arrive as you may need to pay for taxi, transportation, food, etc.  Managing your finances also involves making sure that you have a U.S. bank account that you can use to safe keep your funds and to facilitate any payments that you may need to make.  Having a local bank account is especially helpful for students or visitors that are going to be in the country for an extended period of time.

There are two different types of bank accounts that most people usually have – a checking account and a savings account. Both types of bank accounts have different purposes but both help manage your money.

Checking Account

  • This is a transaction account, designed for you to write checks or use your ATM (automatic teller machine) and/or debit card.
  • You will need to have enough money in your checking account to able to write checks, withdraw money, or use your debit card.
  • Having a debit card provides more options for using and accessing your funds.
  • Be careful not to overdraw money for your account, there will be fees for lack of funds.

Savings Account

  • This interest-bearing type of account is designed for you to make deposits into your account and watch your money grow.
  • The money for this account is dealing with money you don’t need for everyday living. Access is more limited and many banks charge you a fee on your transactions.
  • Each bank varies as some require a minimum amount to avoid a fee.

Opening a Bank Account

Take your passport, another form of identification (your USD student I.D. card) and, if applicable, your Form I-20/DS-2019 to the New Accounts Section of the bank

Please be aware that you may be asked for a Social Security Number (SSN).  Make sure to explain to the Account Representative that you are an international student at USD and therefore would not be eligible for an SSN at that point.

You must have money (at least $25.00-100.00 depending on the bank) to open an account.  Again depending on the bank and the type of account you choose to open, you may be given an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) card, and/or a checkbook.

If you deposit cash or traveler’s checks the bank will allow you to use your checking account immediately; if you deposit a check the bank will not allow you to spend the money for 2-4 weeks.

Banks close to USD




On-campus branch at the University Center

2341 Ulric Street
San Diego, CA 92111
( (858) 654-6794

Depart on Linda Vista Road (northeast)
Turn right into Ulric Street

1359 Fashion Valley Road
San Diego, CA 92108
( (619) 296-4951

Turn left on Linda Vista Road
Turn right on Villa Las Cumbres
Turn left on Friars Road
Turn right on Fashion Valley Road

5394 Linda Vista Road
San Diego, CA 92110
( (858) 524-2850

Depart on Linda Vista Road going southwest
Look for MFCU on the right side of the road