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Opening a bank account is not a complicated process. Many banks offer free checking accounts to students. These accounts typically come with an ATM card or debit card, the ability to write checks, and the option to access your account online to review the balance and transaction history.

Any bank location near the University of Denver is familiar with the needs of international students. They will be able answer your questions and assist you in opening an account. Most banks do not require an appointment to open an account.

When you open an account, you will typically need your current mailing address, a form of picture identification, such as your passport, and in some cases, a minimum amount of money to deposit. These procedures vary by bank, so contact the branch office or consult the bank's website to confirm what you will need to bring.

Before opening an account, make sure you understand the different fees that the bank may charge. At some banks, checking accounts are free only if certain conditions are met such as maintaining a minimum account balance each month.

ATM (Automated Teller Machine) Card

An ATM card can be used to withdraw cash from your checking account. There are no fees if cash is withdrawn from one of your bank's ATMs. However, if money is withdrawn from a non-network ATM, you will likely be charged a fee.

Debit Card

A debit card is an ATM card with a MasterCard or Visa logo which allows you to make purchases in stores and online. Since each transaction is taken directly from your bank account, you will need to monitor the balance to make sure that you always have sufficient funds. The fees for an overdraft—spending more money than is available in the account— are very high.

When buying something with a debit card, the cashier may ask you if the purchase is 'credit' or 'debit.' While either option will take the funds directly from your checking account, there are different procedures to complete the transaction. If you choose credit, you normally will sign the receipt (though many merchants no longer require a signature for purchases under $25). If you choose debit, you will need to enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Choosing debit also gives you the option to 'get cash back'—withdraw additional cash from your account at no extra charge.

Be aware that some firms including gas stations, hotels and car rental agencies may place an authorization hold for the estimated cost of a debit card transaction which is greater than the actual purchase price. These funds are blocked until the bill is paid which temporarily reduces your account balance. In some instances, it can take a few business days for the hold to be removed. Therefore, you will need to cautious about making such purchases if your account balance is low in order to prevent an overdraft or having a transaction denied for insufficient funds.


Checks are another form of payment used in the United States though more and more stores will no longer accept them.

When a new bank account is opened, a set of temporary checks will typically be issued that can be used to make purchases. You can then order checks with your name and address printed on them from your bank or from a check printing business. Please note that USCIS will NOT accept temporary checks.

For the steps to properly write a check in the U.S., you can visit this wikiHow web page.

As with a debit card, do not write a check unless you have enough money in your bank account to cover the purchase. If a check is returned because of insufficient funds in the account, you will be required to pay one or more overdraft fees which are very expensive. Therefore, it is in your best interest to closely monitor your bank balance to prevent 'bouncing' a check.

Online Banking

Most major institutions now offer online banking to their customers. Online banking allows you to view and print account statements, transfer funds between accounts, and perform a variety of other financial tasks that you would otherwise need to visit a bank in person to perform.

Bank Branches Near DU Campus

There are several banks located near the DU Campus. Neither the University nor International Student and Scholar Service endorses a particular bank. Before visiting a bank or opening an account, carefully consider your personal financial needs and be ready to discuss the services you would like to receive with a customer service representative.

Name Telephone Closest Location
1st Bank 303-778-8300 1316 E. Evans Ave.
Bank of the West        303-202-5521 2050 S. Downing St.
Chase Bank 720-570-0751 2040 S. University Blvd.
Key Bank 303-753-1779 2305 S. Colorado Blvd.
TCF Bank 303-839-3030 2090 S. University Blvd.
US Bank 303-542-0325 Driscoll Student Center
Wells Fargo 303-733-3560 2150 S. Downing St.   (inside Safeway)

Other Resources

Descriptions and images of U.S. coins
Descriptions and images of U.S. banknotes


The purpose of this web page is to provide a broad overview of the subject. It should not be considered an authoritative resource. No company listed above is affiliated with or endorsed by the University of Denver.