How to Open a Bank Account

It is fairly easy to open a bank account. Most banks will require the following forms of identification in order to open an account: passport; I-20 or DS-2019; I-94 information; school ID card or copy of admission letter. You do not need a U.S. Social Security number in order to open a bank account. However, if you have one, you must provide it to the bank.

Please note that there will be a delay on funds from bank drafts or bank checks from a bank in your home country. It may take up to 6 weeks for you to be able to get money from your account if you open it using a bank draft or bank check. If you use cash or traveler’s checks (U.S. dollars), you generally will have immediate access to your money.

Types of Accounts

Most students have two types of bank accounts. A checking account is generally used for regular paying of bills and monthly expenses which allows you to write checks. You can also open a savings account which earns interest on cash which is not needed immediately. Banks offer various free services, such as free checking, automatic teller, online banking and more. You may want to check on these before establishing your account.

Which Bank to Use

There are quite a few multinational banks with branches in Claremont. Generally, banks will offer similar services such as online banking, check/debit cards, access to automatic teller machines, and other common financial services. Banks will have varying fees for services such as electronic transfer – you should check with both your home bank as well as the new bank to see what they charge to electronic funds transfer.

Below is a list of banks accessible from The Claremont Colleges. We recommend browsing their websites to see which bank best fits your personal needs.


Bank of America

Chase Bank

Wells Fargo


*Some banks may ask you for a zip code to continue to their website. Claremont’s zip code is 91711.