You are literally on the top of the world and feeling great as your long cherished desire of studying abroad has come true. You have crossed every hurdle and you have reached your destination - the place where you always wanted to study. Once the initial euphoria passes and you realise that you have to settle quickly into your new life as an international student; there are a number of essential tasks that you need to complete. One among these tasks is opening a new bank account. This article will examine the importance of opening a new bank account and how it will help you.
Student Orientation Programme:
Every leading institution has a ‘Student Orientation Programme’.This can be a single-day event or in the case of really large universities be a week-long event with a sequence of informative and fun-filled sessions. During this programme, the university staff will assist international students in opening a local bank account and securing medical insurance; both of these are really important.
Advantages of a Local Bank Account:
- You have a quick and effective way of transacting.
- You do not have to pay hefty international service charges for using your Indian debit card.
- Most student accounts come with a zero or minimum value balance facility. Believe us; this can be very handy at times.
- A local account will help you when you secure a part-time job or a study-grant. The money can be directly transferred to your account.
- All big universities have multiple banks on their campus and you can visit the banks with ease.
- Your parents and friends can transfer money to you directly into your new account.
- Some banks offer students an integrated student medical insurance cover with the account and this is very useful.
- Associated benefits like loyalty rewards programme benefits for filling fuel, frequent flier benefits, discounts at leading stores, restaurants and theatres are other attractive features of a local bank account.
Some of the leading banks in the USA, which offer attractive account options for students are:
- Bank of America
- Wells Fargo
- U.S. Bank
- PNC Bank
- Top banking options for students in the UK are:
- Bank of Scotland
- Bank of Ireland
Popular banks among students in Australia are:
- Commonwealth Bank
- ANZ Bank
The three major local banks in Singapore are POSB/DBS, UOB and OCBC. All three banks offer attractive bank account options for international students and have branches in easily accessible places in Singapore.
Some banks like Westpac in Australia allow you to open an account even before you reach Australia. Once your admission is confirmed at your university you can use the offer letter to start an account even before you land in Australia. Once you reach Australia, you can go to your nearest Westpac branch, show your university identity card and activate your bank account immediately.
If your bank has some regulations regarding minimum balance, overdraft facility and money-transfer, please ensure that you stick to the rules. Do not do something inadvertently that will cause the bank to freeze your account suddenly.
Some banks use attractive freebies like a portable music-player, a mobile phone or a cash deposit to lure students to open an account with their bank. Do not fall for such tricks, thoroughly research the benefits of each and every bank; check how far their nearest branch is from your student accommodation, their transaction rates, etc., before you sign-up for an account. It will be fruitful to discuss with existing students on-campus for tips on which bank would offer the best benefits. As stated earlier, check if any bank offers integrated medical insurance cover with your account. The cost may be a bit higher but in case of a medical emergency or illness the insurance would be very useful.
Once you receive your welcome kit with the cheque book, debit card, transaction and ATM PIN letters keep them safe. Note the ATM and transaction PIN and trash the letters. Note down the account and debit card number for safety. In case of theft or loss, call your bank immediately and block the card. As always, stay safe and keep your debit card and cheque book safe.
We hope that you found this article useful. If you would like to recommend a bank that offers exceptional service to Indian students abroad please share the details in the ‘Comments’ section below.
Image Source: US News