Finances & Banking

We recommend that international students use the banking services available in the Syracuse area, rather than relying on services in their home country. Banks in the U.S. offer many different services. Standard services include savings and checking accounts, in addition to Automated Teller Machine (ATM) access. In addition, most banks offer currency exchange at fair rates, wiring and electronic transfer of funds, and various other services.

You should take your passport and other immigration documents with you when you go to open your bank account, the bank representative will need you to show proof of your identity. When you first set up a bank account, you will have to sign a statement called a W-8. The W-8 certifies that you are a non-citizen and are not subject to the withholding of income taxes on interest on your deposit.

We strongly suggest that you use a checking account for a variety of reasons:

  1. The bank provides safety against loss or theft.
  2. It is convenient to make transfers to deposits for any purchases, to satisfy debts, or to make withdrawals by writing checks.
  3. A canceled check serves as your receipt of payment.
  4. You will receive periodic statements of balance.
  5. You can make withdrawals by mail.

We also suggest that you "shop around" for a bank that offers the best interest rates and lowest fees for the services that you will be using. The fees and hours of any bank you choose are subject to change.

There are four banks located close to Syracuse University north campus:

  • Key Bank
    Address: 1004 E. Adams St. - Phone:1 (315) 476-2530
  • M&T Bank
    Address: 725 Irving Ave. - Phone: 1 (315) 422-2121
  • NBT Bank 
    Address: 101 Marshall St. - Phone: 1 (315) 703-1300

These banks are located near South Campus:

  • Key Bank
    Address: 215 Tecumseh Rd. - Phone: (315) 446-8091

It is important to keep a record of all payments and deposits you have made to your bank accounts. You should always keep your checkbook balanced and in agreement with the monthly statement you receive. If the bank's records disagree with your records, inform the bank immediately, and they will work with you to locate the error.

Checking accounts are a necessity for most students. Checks can be used to pay for items in most stores as well as to pay your monthly bills (you should never send cash in the mail). For many students, writing a check is a new experience, below is an example:

Image of a Check

Some recommendations regarding your money:

  • Keep most of your money in the bank.
  • Do not carry large amounts of money with you; there is always the risk of losing it or having it stolen.
  • Keep your financial records in order.
  • Carry your identification card(s) with you at all times; banks require it before cashing checks and so do most stores.
  • Be cautious when using ATM's. Use well lit ATM locations.
  • Also at ATM's, keep alert when other people are around. Protect your personal ATM pin number from being seen as you enter it.

Please note: The U.S. Social Security Office will not issue a Social Security Number for the purpose of opening a bank account. For students at SU and SUNY-ESF the school issued number is sufficient. For spouses and dependents, please refer to the information on Social Security Numbers.

Student Discounts