Banking & Personal Finance

Choosing a Bank

There are many banks in the Ann Arbor Area. The Local Bank Survey has basic information about banks close to campus.


  • Try to choose a bank that has branch offices or ATMs near your home or place of work, and set up online and mobile banking.
  • Usually using your own bank’s ATM is free. If you use another bank’s ATM you will most likely be charged a fee.
  • Always inquire about no fee accounts or other special offers.
  • If you plan to use your U.S. bank account debit card while traveling outside of the U.S, inquire about foreign transaction fees.
  • Check if any U.S. banks located in Ann Arbor have partnerships with your bank from your home country.

Opening a Bank Account

You will need identification such as a passport to open an account, but you do not need a Social Security Number (SSN) to open a bank account for most financial transactions. And, most banks do not require an SSN for online banking; however an SSN is needed in order to obtain a credit card

It isn’t difficult to change banks, so even if you choose one that you are not happy with, you can always choose a different one later.

Budgeting Your Money

  • The U-M Financial Aid Office has a variety of resources to assist students with managing the various costs of being a student and navigating personal finance. Check out the Budgets and Spending on Campus and the Your Money Your Life pages for more details. The International Students tab on the U-M Financial Aid website gives information about funding options for international students.
  • There are many free apps and websites you can use to help manage your personal expenses by creating personalized plans. Review options to find the best app for you. Some of the most common apps are Mint and YNAB (You Need A Budget).
  • Even with these tools, living in Ann Arbor can be financially challenging for individuals and families. The U-M & Ann Arbor Community: Free & Lower Cost Necessities guide lists resources for food, household items, clothing at free and lower costs to assist those experiencing financial constraints.
  • If you are experiencing a financial emergency and are unsure of your ability to remain in the U.S., please visit the International Center’s Emergency Fund page and review eligibility requirements. You may also check the Provost’s Office Emergency Funds list.

Social Security Numbers & Taxes

A Social Security number (SSN) is used to report your wages to the U.S. government and to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits. Social Security numbers are assigned to international students and scholars who are authorized to work in the United States. Navigate to the International Center’s page on Taxes & Social Security Numbers to learn more.