There is a convenient place to change your money at the Los Angeles International Airport in the Bradley International Terminal. After leaving the airport, changing money is not convenient. We advise that you bring US$200.00 cash ($20.00 bills or smaller) with you from your country. It is not a good idea to carry large amounts of cash. Please do not bring cash to pay for your program fee or housing. Instead of cash, bring travelers checks and/or a charge card (Visa or MasterCard). You can avoid bringing large amounts of money by paying the program fee before you arrive.
Bank of America is located across Jefferson Boulevard in the University Village. Most students use Bank of America since there are many branch offices all over California and throughout the U.S., however there are many other banks in the area.
To open an account at Bank of America you need:
• Documents that prove you are currently enrolled (for example, I-20, Student ID, registration fee payment receipt, or admission letter.)
• Minimum amount to open an account is US$100.00.
To open an account with a check from your own country takes time. Your money is available only after the Bank of America collects the funds from the bank in your country. If the checks that your bank issues are collectable in the U.S., it usually takes 2 to 11 days. However, if your checks are not collectable in the U.S., the Bank of America will have to send the check back to your country to collect the money. This process can take up to one month! You can ask your bank to see if the checks that they issue can be collected in the U.S.
A better way to deposit money into your account is by bank wire transfer. First, you need to open an account with a minimum of U.S. $100 (cash, travelers check, bank check or charge card). Once the account is started, you can have funds wired directly to your account at Bank of America. It usually takes 3 days for the money to be available. There is a charge of US$8.50 for each incoming wire transfer.
The USC Federal Credit Union is located on-campus on the 2nd floor of King Hall (KOH). Service is provided to members at two full service branches: one on the University Park campus and a second on the Health Science Campus. The credit union can also be accessed via six campus ATMs, PC banking systems, and credit and debit card systems.
To open an account at the USC Federal Credit Union you need:
• Documents that prove you are currently enrolled (for example, I-20, Student ID, or admission letter.)
• $11 to open account
• $1 Minimum Balance
When depositing checks that are collectable in the United States, the money will be available on the seventh business day after the day of your deposit. However, if your checks are not collectable in the U.S., there will be a US$45.00 charge per check to collect the money from your country. Follow the same wire procedures as those given for Bank of America. The charge for each incoming wire transfer is US$8.00.
Automated Teller Machines (ATM)
ATM cards are quite common in the U.S. You can apply for an ATM card when you open your account. An ATM card allows you to withdraw and deposit money, transfer funds between accounts and check your account balance. ATM machines can be found at banks, shopping centers, some supermarkets and on the USC campus. Some businesses now allow customers to use their ATM cards to pay for purchases (most often at gasoline stations and supermarkets). When using ATM machines, be sure to follow necessary security precautions to guard against theft.