International Students in the U.S. – Figuring Out Your First Financial Steps

car financeManaging your finance in the U.S. is a big deal, especially for international students. You have tuition to pay, perhaps loans you’ve taken; you might be receiving financial aid or stipends, and you’ll probably want to transfer some money from home when you first arrive. A U.S. bank account will make all that much easier, but that could seem a bit confusing. Here’s some information to help you figure it all out.

First, you’ll need to choose a bank, and there are many to choose from. When you compare banks, be sure to check interest rates, services you receive, and fees. You’ll also want to choose a bank that is convenient for you: location, hours of operation, and nearby ATMs are some factors to consider. One option we recommend is Bank of America – being one of the largest banks in the U.S. means convenience. Bank of America also offers students’ checking and savings accounts, as well as other resources, such as credit cards, for students. Ask your school’s international services for other recommendations – a bank close to the university is most likely used to dealing with international students like yourself. Santander Bank is one example of a bank used to working with international clients. As an international student at Santander Bank, you might be eligible for lower fees or other benefits. And don’t forget you can try and negotiate fees based on the initial amount of money you plan to transfer and any expected earnings.

Next, try to evaluate your needs before you arrive, so that you can prepare accordingly. See if your school has any suggestions for the initial amount of money you should bring. There is no single number here – the amount will vary depending on where you are in the U.S. and what your personal needs are. You can bring cash but you might not want to physically carry a large amount – you’ll have to report any amount over $10,000 in cash when passing through customs. Just to be on the safe side, consider having an international credit card with you for the first few weeks.

Once you’ve set up your account, you’ll want to apply for a local credit card. However, that might prove to be hard – banks are slow to approve credit cards when you don’t have established credit history in the U.S. You might initially receive a secured credit card – that means you’ll deposit a sum of money and will be able to use it as a credit card, but not charge more that the deposited amount. Another option is a debit card, which is not a credit card, but will enable you to withdraw money from your account and make purchases.

The international student faces many challenges, but knowing what to expect when it comes to money and credit will make things much easier. Still confused? Contact us at Lendbuzz and we will gladly answer all of your questions.


Lendbuzz  is an online lender for expats & international students in the U.S. Our car financing platform offers international professionals attractive car financing solutions – without U.S. credit history or SSN.

If you are looking to buy a car –  new or pre-owned – Lendbuzz partners with a wide range of auto dealers, to offer you a seamless car purchasing experience. Lendbuzz offers the lowest rates, quick & easy online approval (less than 5 minutes), and consulting services on how to build your U.S. credit history.

Visit or contact to learn more:

(617) 528-9834

Lendbuzz is an online platform providing car loan for international students and car loan for expats in the U.S.

Any questions? contact us for more details

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