Opening a US Bank Account

Opening a US Bank Account

How you will get paid until you have a bank account – You may receive your stipend (weekly pay) in cash until you open a bank account. Or your host family may take you to the bank with your first stipend so you may use that to open the account.

When to open your bank account –

  • It is possible to open a bank account before you get your Social Security Number. If the bank employee you are dealing with is unfamiliar with the process, you may need speak with a manager.
  • Some au pairs choose to wait until after they have their Social Security Number, to open a bank account. Process to get your Social Security Card can be found here.

Banks that are good for au pairs – Almost all banks have some type of free or low cost checking account. As a J-1 au pair visa is very similar to an F-1 student visa, you may ask to open a student bank account.  Below are some bank recommendations because the accounts have specific names you can ask for when you go. Consider which banks are closest to your home and/or have convenient ATM locations.

We are not recommending any one bank over another. We are just providing this for your information. This information is subject to change without notice, so check the websites before going to the bank.

If you find a free or low cost account at a bank we don’t have listed here, please let your Community Counselor know.

  • Credit Unions are a type of not for profit bank. If your host parents are members of a credit union, you may be able to apply since you are living at their address. Your host parents will need to go with you to do this.
  • PNC Bank has the Virtual Wallet Account that is free once you have $500 in the bank and they give you
  • Truist Bank has the Truist One Checking Account with low monthly fees and the fees can be waived once you have $500 balance in your account.
  • Wells Fargo Bank has two low cost accounts if you are age 24 and under. You can see the accounts compared here.

What to bring to open your bank account – The documents required will vary by bank, but this is a list of what you may need. Check the bank website for their specific  requirements.

  • Your passport
  • Your country driver’s license and international driver’s permit
  • Your Social Security Card (if you have it)
  • Your participation letter
  • Your DS-2019 form
  • Money to open the account