Banking, Credit Cards, Money Management,
Opening a Bank Account
There are many expenses when you first arrive in the US: transportation, personal purchases, tuition, books. We recommend that you carry traveler’s checks to cover your expenses during the first few days. It is very helpful if you have a VISA or MasterCard credit card with you. Please do not carry a large sum of cash or a bank draft.
You should open a bank account immediately. Before leaving your home country you should contact your bank to assure that they can transfer money to a US bank. When you open an account you will need to show your student ID and passport. Your student ID card is available from our Student Resource Center, The Paperclip, which is located in the Parks Student Union.
Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)
There is an ATM machine on campus that recognizes most credit cards. ATMs are also available around the city. When you open an account with a bank that operates an ATM system, you’ll be issued a plastic ATM service or "debit" card. You will be assigned a personal code or "PIN number" which identifies you as a bank customer. Never give anyone your personal code. Be careful when accessing an ATM machine. Using the machine at night time or early in the morning in an isolated area is not a safe practice. Withdrawing large sums of cash from the machine is also not a safe practice. Be aware of people who are around you and what they are doing.
Using credit cards is very common in the US Credit cards are convenient, but unless you are careful, you may be surprised when you get your monthly bill or statement. Credit card interest charges can be very expensive, so it is wise to charge only what you can afford to pay back in a month. Keep all of your receipts to keep track of what you spend and remember, if you purchase goods or services on "credit," you are in fact "borrowing" the money from your lender.
Managing your finances is an important aspect of a successful and enjoyable academic career. You will have to budget your expenses carefully. For example, you may have to decide if you can afford a car, or your own apartment, or frequent trips around the country. If you have questions about the cost of living in this area, or of payment deadlines for tuition and books, talk to our International Student Advisor.
In Washington State you will also pay a sales tax on most items which you purchase. This tax ranges from 8-9.5%, depending on location and the type of purchase. Grocery items (food) are not taxed. The price marked on the item or on the shelf usually does not include the sales tax; it is added onto the price of the item when you pay the cashier.
If you are employed, your income is reported to the US Internal Revenue Service. Income tax is normally deducted from your paycheck each month. At the end of each year, you receive a W-4 form which has the information on the total income you have earned and the amount of tax you have paid. You are required to file an "income tax return" each year. Our International Student Advisor provides students with this information during the winter.
Healthcare costs in the US are very high. International students are required to have health insurance while attending EvCC. You must purchase a health insurance policy if you do not have your own health insurance policy that provides a comparable coverage.
Attending school in the US can be stressful. Students who try to carry a heavy study load may be at risk health wise. You need to balance your schedule carefully, stay healthy by eating right, exercising and getting enough rest. Your advisor can help you plan a schedule that is realistic.
Normally, EvCC's campus and the Everett area are safe places. Of course, it is always wise to take precautions, such as being observant of the people around you, traveling with friends instead of alone, not carrying a lot of money, and knowing where and when to ask for help.
In your apartment or home, please establish a safe and secure place to keep valuable items, such as travel documents, etc. You are required to carry your passport and I-20 at all times, so it is wise to develop a careful way to always have them with you. Do not leave valuable items in cars or backpacks.