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There are many banking options in the Chapel Hill area.  When selecting a bank, an accessible location, availability of ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) and bank fees are important considerations.

Employees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are eligible to become members of the North Carolina State Employees’ Credit Unions and use their banking services.  You must have a Social Security Number to become a member.

Opening a Bank Account

Most international students and scholars will want the convenience of a local bank account.  A social security number (SSN) is not required to open an account at most banks. Take the following documents to the bank when opening an account:

  • Passport
  • Immigration paperwork (Form I-94 and Form I-20 or DS-2019, I-797 Approval notice)
  • Those without a Social Security number will be asked to complete a form W-8BEN for tax purposes.

Debit Cards

Debit cards are linked to a bank account. These are a good alternative to carrying cash. Different banks may have restrictions on the use of debit cards, so make sure to understand specific terms of use.  It is important to keep track of account balances to avoid costly bank overdraft fees.

Debit cards may be issued with a PIN (Personal Identification Number) needed for purchases and ATM withdrawals. Keep this PIN number separate from your card to avoid unauthorized purchases and withdrawals. Do not share your PIN with anyone.

Wiring Money

In order to wire money to a U.S. bank account, the following information is generally required. Check with your bank to confirm this information. Additional fees may apply.

  • Name of both banks, addresses and telephone numbers
  • Both bank account numbers
  • Accepting bank’s routing numbers
  • For wiring funds to the university to pay for tuition and fees, please email for instructions or questions.

Credit Cards

In most cases a social security number will be required to apply for a credit card.  Please check with your bank for information regarding credit cards. There are many credit card options with a wide variety of applicable fees. It is important to do some research. Beware of companies charging exorbitant “insurance” fees.

Some credit card companies will require a secured credit card for those without Social Security numbers. A secured credit card requires funds on deposit for the credit limit on the card.