Skip to main content

Empty pocketsAs far as banking practicalities go, never put your faith in the effectiveness of international monetary transactions. 

Although English bank cards work in most American ATMs, there is no point in draining your Lloyds account, incurring extra charges and constantly having to calculate the dollars/pounds exchange.

By far the best option is to set up an American bank account. 

As students return to school, all the banks compete to offer the best possible options, and it is easy to get a good deal. Getting an American credit card is important too, especially for those who plan to stay on in the United States. Building up a credit history will help you later when you need to start paying for a mortgage or car.

Your school will probably have a way for you to pay your tuition and fees by credit card. It’s worthwhile to try to make those payments with a card that gives you air miles!

Help! Need Cash! Please Hurry!

If you have to transfer large sums of money (or cheques) between countries, make sure you give it plenty of time. Banks often impose long waiting periods before they clear cheques or wired funds, and this could prove catastrophic if your rent is due the next day!

(Having said that, it should be noted that there are a number of non-traditional financial services getting ahead of the surprisingly creaky mainstream banks, who claim to be less expensive than a bank and able to get the money into your bank account in the US on the same day it's sent.)

Tipping 

Finally, a couple of other financial points. America is a nation that expects heavy tipping (to compensate for its remarkably low minimum wage). If you are paying for dinner or taking a taxi, leaving around 20% is considered normal. The traditional Brit who tips at 10% is treated with considerable disdain, and won’t necessarily be welcomed back.

What Exactly is a Nickle?

And for those of you who are struggling with all the coins – here’s a breakdown:    

  • 1 dollar = 100 cents
  • 1 quarter = 25 cents (the big coins, like the 10p and with fun state facts on them!)
  • 1 dime = 10 cents (this is really confusing, they’re the small ones – like 5p’s)
  • 1 nickel = 5 cents (bigger than the dime but less valuable!)
  • 1 penny = 1 cent (borrowed from the English)

Most popular Good Schools Guide articles


  • School reference letters for US universities

    Most universities ask for at least one reference from a student’s careers advisor, headteacher etc. It’s different from a personal statement, with a different focus from what UCAS wants.

  • Deadlines & early decision

    You must meet your deadlines! US universities will not accept late applications unless they have ‘rolling admissions’, meaning they accept students on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Financial statements for US university applications

    Most universities will require you to complete a financial statement along with your application. Do this carefully as it will be used to determine your eligibility for financial assistance. 

  • Interviews

    Although interviews are rarely mandatory for admission into any American university, they are often recommended and are an excellent way of finding out about the place in which you are planning to spend the next four years. Interviews for international students can function in two ways...

  • Help!

    I need help: find a University Consultant!, How can a consultant help me? About our university consultants, This just in! UU in the news and Student uni fairs: don't miss...


Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
 Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
 Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools
 Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

The Good Schools Guide subscription

GSG Blog >    In the news >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

The Good Schools Guide Newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.

Monopoly Money

 
 

The Good Schools Guide 22nd edition is out now, and for a limited time get a one month free subscription with any purchase of The Good Schools Guide 22nd, or The Good Schools Guide to London.