U.S. banks offer many services, including checking and savings accounts, investment accounts, ATM and credit cards. Different banks in New Jersey will have different fees for these services, so shop around before choosing a bank. Convenience is also a factor: choose a bank that is nearby and has convenient banking hours and ATM services. The University also houses a credit union in the Bart Luedeke Center and many students use their banking services.
Rider and Westminster students often use the following banking centers:
- Wachovia Financial Center: 1.800.922.4684 http://www.wachovia.com/
- Bank of America: 1.800.432.1000 http://www.bankofamerica.com/
- PNC Bank: 1.888.762.2265 http://www.pnc.com/
- Sovereign Bank: 1.877.768.2265 http://www.sovereignbank.com/
AUTOMATIC TELLER MACHINES (ATMs)
ATMs are usually located outside of banks and in shopping areas. If you have an ATM card from an affiliated bank, you can use these machines to withdraw cash, make a deposit, and other transactions. ATMs are open late at night (sometimes 24-hours a day), and usually you do not have to wait in a long line. Although many ATM cards can be used at any member ATM, your bank may charge a fee if you use another bank’s ATM. Be sure to ask your bank about ATM fees so you are not surprised.
There is an ATM located on Westminster’s campus inside the lobby of Talbott Library. There are ATMs located on the Lawrenceville campus in the lobby of Moore Library, the bottom floor of the Bart Leudeke Center, and the lobby of Daly Dining Hall.
Checking Accounts are very popular in the U.S. There are several different types of accounts available. Some may allow you to earn interest on the money you deposit, and some may require a minimum balance. Keep an accurate record of every check that you write. If you overdraw your account, most banks will charge a penalty. If you write a check, but do not have enough money in your account for the amount of the check, the check will “bounce” and both your bank and the recipient of the check may charge you $25.00 or more. Try to ask for a cash advance of $200 to cover any overdrawn checks. Then you won’t be charged that extra $25.00 for a bounced check. Checks may be used to pay bills and services, and at many stores. You will usually be asked to show a photo ID and a major credit card when writing a check at a store.
If you want to deposit a check in your bank account or exchange a check for cash, endorse it by signing your name and writing your account number on the back of the check.
A Savings Account allows you to earn interest on the money in your account, usually at a higher rate than a Checking Account. When writing a check, you may transfer money from your Savings Account to a Checking Account. Ask your bank for details about transferring money.
Credit Cards are a popular and widely accepted form of payment. Mastercard and Visa are the most widely recognized credit cards. You can make purchases up to your assigned credit limit, and you will receive a monthly bill from the credit card company. Most credit cards charge an annual fee and a high percentage (15% to 19%) on unpaid balances. Ask your bank for more information about credit cards. If your credit card is ever lost or stolen, call the bank or credit card company immediately and cancel the card. Make a note of the customer service telephone number, and keep it in a safe place in case this happens.