Banking & Finances

Once you have arrived in the United States, you will likely need to open a bank account to pay rent or if you are getting an on-campus job. Financial institutions in the United States offer many kinds of services, including:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Foreign currency conversion
  • Bank drafts
  • Money orders
  • Credit cards
  • Loans
  • Interbank transfer
  • Traveler’s checks
  • Safe-deposit boxes for storing valuables
  • Investment services

Opening an Account

Several credit unions and banks are located on or near the UNM Campus. All financial institutions offer similar services, with slight differences. Take the time to learn about the services and fees offered before choosing a bank or credit union. Be careful to select the account that best meets your financial needs and ask if they have a student account with fewer charges.

Opening an account is like entering into a contract. Be sure to read everything and ask questions if anything is not clear to you.


Customer Identification Programs

In an effort to prevent fraud like money laundering, U.S. financial institutions are required to verify the identity of every person who opens a bank account. Banks must obtain the following information from you before allowing you to open an account:

  • Your name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your street address—you cannot use a P.O. Box
  • An identification number—you may provide one of the following:
  • A passport number and country of issuance
  • An alien identification card number
  • A number and country of issuance of any other government-issued document proving nationality or residence and bearing a photograph or similar safeguard

Each bank has its own customer identification programs and may ask for documentation in addition to what is described above.

What to Bring

When you go to the bank to open your account, you should bring the following items:

  • Your unexpired passport
  • Your I-20 or DS-2019, I-94 or I-797 approval notice
  • Any secondary form of identification you may have, such as your student ID or a credit card

Secure Your Money

  • Use credit/debit cards or traveler's checks when you are traveling, and ATM cards, credit/debit cards or personal checks while in Albuquerque.
  • Never carry a large amount of cash. Do not leave backpacks, wallets or purses where they can be easily seen or stolen.
  • Always report the loss of a checkbook, ATM card, or credit card to your bank or credit card company immediately (to do this, you will need to keep a list of all your cards and contact numbers in a safe place separate from the cards).
  • Only use ATM machines during the day or use well-lit machines at night. Do not let others see the amount of money you are withdrawing.