UMD: A Globally Connected University

Money & Banking

Many countries operate on a cash-only basis. Not so in the United States, where credit cards and debit cards are very popular options for payment even at McDonalds. As a long-term international student, visitor or scholar, you will probably want to open a bank account in the United States to take full advantage of the services offered.

On the UMD campus, Capital One Bank operates a branch in the basement of the Stamp Student Union. You do not need a social security number, but bring your immigration documents (passport, I-20 or DS-2019, etc), as well as your university ID. Another on-campus option is SECU, State Employees Credit Union. Other banking options are available in College Park and surrounding communities.

Arrival Expenses
Please plan ahead! You should budget at least $1000 for your first week here to cover such expenses as hotels, taxis and general setting-up costs. Try to bring the majority of your money on credit or debit cards. Please do NOT carry large amounts of cash with you.

Cost of Living
The cost of living in the Washington, DC area is generally higher than other parts of the United States, and is higher than most students anticipate. For short-term housing, hotels in the Washington, DC metro area are more expensive than hotels in other areas of the U.S. Apartments and setting-up costs can take more of your budget than planned, so it might be to your benefit to add at least 10% to your expected budget to get started here.  Spend time on the University of Maryland Off-Campus Housing Services website to get an idea of what is typical to spend on rent, utilities, transportation, etc.

Currency conversion
Also, don't forget to check currency conversion rates before you arrive as the rates change very quickly and can affect your budget. Many area banks will exchange money for you, but it's best to call ahead to make sure. In Washington, DC and Baltimore, Travelex has several branches where you can exchange money or you can try the American Express Washington, DC branch.