Getting a Bank Account

International students in Davis find that opening a U.S. bank account can make managing their finances significantly easier. Many banks issue debit cards, which are accepted anywhere credit cards can be used. This is particularly important, as not all U.S. banks will accept foreign ATM cards.

The Two Types of Bank Accounts

  1. Student* Checking Account accounts are used for depositing and withdrawing money on a regular basis. For this reason, they are especially useful for paying monthly bills. A new checking account generally comes with a check book and a debit card. Most international students only require a checking account, which they use for managing living expenses while in Davis.
  2. Savings Accounts These are for long-term deposits for accruing interest. International students that will be in Davis for less than a year usually do not choose to open savings accounts.

*Some banks will waive monthly account maintenance fees for students enrolled in university. Students must provide a valid student ID in order to have this option.

Choosing a Bank

It is important to compare the services and costs of several different banks before choosing one to open a bank account. Banks in Davis often have incentives for signing up with them, so it is alright to wait and research the different options. For example, U.S. Bank made a deal with UC Davis that allows students to use their student ID cards as debit cards. It can be used for PIN-based purchases, but it cannot be used for signature purchases like a credit card. Students are required to go to the U.S. Bank branch in downtown Davis to activate the card.

ATM machines are located on campus in the Memorial Union and Silo, as well as all over Davis, and are open 24 hours. ATM machines do not charge transaction fees if the debit card is from the same bank. If the debit card is from a different bank, the transaction will have an additional fee attached.

Some of the banks with branches in Davis are:

Bank of America
Golden 1 Credit Union
U.S. Bank
Wells Fargo
Chase Bank
Premiere West Bank
Union Bank
Yolo Federal Credit Union
River City Bank
USE Credit Union
Travis Credit Union

Note: This does not represent an endorsement of any of these banks.