We strongly recommend that you carry only small amounts of money with you. We suggest that you open a bank account in a U.S. bank; choose a bank that is conveniently located, with the features you need and reasonable fees. The MIT Payroll Office will deposit your MIT paycheck directly into your bank account.
To open a bank account, speak to someone in customer service. You will need a local address and two forms of identification, typically your MIT ID card and your passport. Most U.S. banks offer many different types of personal account services for checking and savings. Your daily transactions may include writing checks to pay bills directly from your checking account, depositing money into your checking or savings account, or using the ATM (Automated Teller Machine) to withdraw money out of your checking or savings account.
When writing a check, be sure to use the full space indicated on the "Dollars" line. You are advised to draw a straight line from the end of your writing to the preprinted word "Dollars" on the check. This is a safeguard so that no one may take more money from you than you intend.
Bank of America and the MIT Federal Credit Union have ATMs located near Lobby 10 (10-186). Both the MIT Federal Credit Union and the Bank of America also have branches on campus located in the Stratton Student Center (W20). The Credit Union offers savings and loan services (including car loans). Its services include a checking account (Share Draft Account) with an ATM card for withdrawals. Those with an account may apply for a Visa credit card. The annual fees and interest rates may be lower than at a regular bank. It is important to compare such features when making choices.
Credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in most stores, including major supermarkets. Most car rental companies require a major credit card to rent a car. When you apply for a bank account you can often obtain a credit card at the same time, and typically a Social Security number will be required. You may also need a letter of reference from your home bank regarding your credit history.
More information on bank accounts and bank/credit cards may be found in MIT spouses&partners' Newcomers' Guide.
Last Updated: June 2015