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International Student Life: Banking and Money

Opening a Bank Account

To open a bank account you will need your passport and a form of photo ID, such as your PSU ID card. You are not required to have a Social Security Number to open a bank account.

You may look online for information on local banks. Different banks will offer different services with their accounts. Be sure to ask questions and make sure you understand the bank’s fees and services before opening your account.

Occasionally, the International Student Life team will work with a representative from a local bank to offer an informational workshop for students. Here is a link to an informational powerpoint presentation from one of those workshops. Please note that PSU and the International Student Life team does not necessarily endorse Wells Fargo, the authors of this basic information about banking. 

Basics of Banking Information 

Money Matters

We advise you not to bring large amounts of cash with you to Portland. Please choose instead to use traveler’s checks (some in amounts under $50.00 so that you can cash them easily).
If you arrive in to Portland (PDX) airport, you can exchange travelers checks and foreign currency at the Travelex Currency Exchange branch. The open hours are 5:30am-4:30pm.

Bank drafts will not provide immediate cash because Portland banks will hold them for at least two weeks to verify that funds are available. Visa and MasterCard credit cards are accepted in hotels, restaurants, stores, and most businesses in Portland and the US.

If you are a new graduate student who has been offered employment in your academic department, you will not receive your first paycheck until about five weeks after beginning work. Please note that all paychecks are subject to applicable tax deductions.

Portland State offers several payment options for tuition, University housing, and other charges added to your student bill.