Aloha from Hilo on the Big Island!
When you are planning your study abroad, I’m sure everyone is wondering about money!
Many new services for study abroad students are available nowadays and students can easily maintain your finance.
Upon your arrival
We recommend you to prepare different options for your payment.
Credit cards/ Debit cards
In the US, credit cards are the most popular method of payment so most of shops/restaurants are accepting cards. Especially, Visa and Master Card are accepted at many places. It’s best for you to contact your credit card company that you are studying abroad and going to use the card abroad. By doing so, you can avoid the security lock get activated which will prevent you making purchases in the US. Some students had issues with the monthly limit so it may be a good idea to have a few credit cards.
Travel Money Card/ Cash Passport
Some countries offer Travel Money Card services. You can put some funds on the card with your country’s currency and you can use the card abroad. This option is popular for younger students who haven’t own a credit card yet.
Some stores take only cash. In Hilo, you would like to carry some cash when you go to farmer’s markets. Also, when you do your laundry, you need some cash (coins). For the first week, maybe $100 would be good for you to carry. There is a cafeteria at the Hawaii Community College and they only take cash if your total is less than $5.
On the 2nd day of orientation, you will pay your tuition. All the new students will learn how to make tuition payments online so you will learn quickly. The payment methods are cards including travel money cards (Excluding American Express) or cash or check.
Opening a bank account
Study abroad students can open a bank account. Especially, many long-term study abroad students have decided to open accounts. However, lately, many students are making use of the travel money card/ cash passport services and they don’t see the need of opening bank accounts.
Here, I will introduce some good points of opening a bank account.
- You can get a debit card. (The purchase will reflect instantly so it’s easier to maintain your finance than credit cards.)
- You can receive wire transfer money from your country.
- You will receive some checks when you open an account so you can use it for your rent payment. (Most of the apartments do not accept payment by cards.)
The process of opening a bank account may sound difficult but our support staff can help you so do not worry! When you open an account, you need at least $100 cash so if you are thinking about opening one, you should prepare some extra cash for that.