When you arrive in the United States we strongly recommend that you carry only small amounts of cash with you. You will probably want to set up a bank account in the Cambridge area as soon as possible. Commercial banks are preferable to savings banks, since commercial banks offer a greater variety of international services. To open an account you will need to bring your passport as identification. A list of local banks is listed below and in the resources section.

The transfer of international currency can be a time-consuming process. Students are advised to bring enough money in traveler's checks to cover expenses for two weeks, since it often takes ten days to honor drafts.

US currency comes in two forms: paper and coin. US paper money, known as dollars (bills), comes in denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Common US coins are the penny (1 cent), nickel (5 cents), dime (10 cents) and the quarter (25 cents). One hundred (100) cents is equivalent to 1 dollar.

Local Area Banks

  • Bank of America - Located in the Stratton Student Center.
  • Cambridge Trust - This local bank has a new International Students and Scholars Account. You can open an account BEFORE you arrive at MIT, wire money into the account, and access the money upon arrival. Please click the Cambridge Trust link for more details.
  • MIT Federal Credit Union - Only MIT students and employees can join this credit union.
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