How Does a US Bank Account Work?

Before leaving for the US, we want you to feel prepared and equipped with the right resources and knowledge to help you during your time abroad. This is why we wrote an article on how to pack for college in America as well as a first arrival in America guide. However, we realized that money is also an essential factor in living a good life in the US which is why we wanted to explain how a US bank account works so that you’ll know exactly what you’re signing up for!

What are the different types of bank accounts?

The two main types of bank accounts are checking and savings accounts. Here is a chart to show the differences between the two options:

a table showing the key differences between a checking and savings bank account
Table: Key differences between a checking and savings account

Why is it important to have a US bank account?

A US bank account is one of the most important things that you should have during your time abroad in the US. It will keep your money safe, allow you to conveniently buy items, and help you save money on foreign transaction fees as well as currency exchange fees. 

Here is a helpful article, where we dive more extensively into the topic: Why International Students Should Have an American Bank Account

What is it used for?

Depending on the type of account that you choose to open, a US bank account can be used for everyday spending or saving large sums of money that you may have brought over from your home country. 

How can you deposit money into your account?

This depends on your specific bank’s policies, but most banks allow you to deposit money via cash, checks, and transfers.

How can you take your money out?

You can take money out through your bank’s ATMs or you can also transfer money to another bank account. 

How can you open an American bank account?

You can either wait for hours to open an account at a commercial bank after a long, tiring flight to the US with a large sum of money that you risked carrying with you from overseas, or you can easily open a safe, accessible, and flexible bank account online in 5 minutes through Ellis. Here’s how you can get started!

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