- Checking Account: If you are here longer than 4 weeks, you may want to open a checking account to use ATM cards and credit cards for shopping. It’s not customary to keep and carry a lot of cash.
- Send/receive money from abroad using:
- Western Union
- International currency: Can be exchanged to U.S. dollars at the following locations:
- International Currency Express—Beverly Hills
- Travelex Currency Services—Beverly Hills
- Currency Exchange International—Century City
Several banks near UCLA offer student discounts on monthly service charges for checking accounts, but you may have to contact more than one bank to find the one with services you need.
- New accounts—Minimum balance typically required of up to $100. Banks require 2 to 3 days to open an account, but if you deposit an overseas check or bank draft, it may take up to a few days or weeks until you can withdraw money from your new account.
- Identification—A passport, your I-20 and a credit card are typically needed.
- Social Security number (SSN)—Not required. If you are asked for an SSN, ask the bank manager if a supplementary letter from UCLA Extension’s International Student Office (ISO) will help.
- ATM card—Provides you access to cash from the bank’s automated teller machines and other ATM’s for a fee. If your bank issues an ATM that acts as a debit card as well, you can use it at most grocery stores for basic shopping and to get cash.
- Online banking—Manage your account and pay bills via the internet.
- Cell phone: If you have an unlocked cell phone from home, you can convert it to a local cell phone service.
- WiFi: Free Internet service for your laptop computer is available at numerous public areas in west Los Angeles, including some restaurants and cafes, coffee shops, certain parts of the UCLA campus, UCLA Extension (ALC) buildings, and most local libraries.
- Internet at home: Check with your housing provider or building manager for information on accessing the Internet from home.
Express Post Offices
- 10920 Wilshire Blvd., first floor (one block from UCLA Extension’s Lindbrook Center)
- UCLA’s Ackerman Union, inside on the A-level
Full-Service Post Office
- Federal Building, 11000 Wilshire Blvd., a short distance from UCLA and the American Language Center