- You should keep most of your money safely deposited in a bank or savings institution, except for the amount needed for daily expenses. You can open a savings account, a checking account, or both, at a bank. Money kept in a savings account will make money for you in the form of interest. You can deposit and withdraw money from a savings account whenever you wish. A checking account allows you to write checks to withdraw money to pay for items and services at local businesses. Some banks and savings institutions require you to keep a minimum amount of money in a checking account; others do not. Some banks charge you each time you write a check; others do not.
- There are a number of banks and savings institutions in Lawrence to choose from. You should choose a bank that fits your needs and the type of account that would be most beneficial to you. The AEC cross-cultural advisors or the Office of International Student Services can help you understand the various kinds of services offered by these institutions in Lawrence.
- You should use a check for any business transactions if a large amount of money is involved, for example, buying a car or paying your rent. If you pay in cash, be sure to get a complete receipt. Receipts or canceled checks should always be kept as proof of payment.
- You should not sign any contracts or business papers unless you completely understand them. You should talk to the Office of International Student Services, Legal Services for Students, or the AEC cross-cultural advisors before completing contracts.
Keeping Good Records
- You should always keep a record of checks that you write so that you will not spend more money than you have in your account. It is against the law to write checks for more money than you have in your checking account. Banks will add an extra charge for each “insufficient funds” check, and you will usually have to pay an extra charge to the person or business to whom the check was written.
- If you have to borrow money, it is best to do so from the university or from your bank. The Office of Student Financial Aid, 50 Strong Hall, may be able to assist you, but their funds are often very limited. Before you borrow money you should consult the Office of International Student Services or the AEC cross-cultural advisors.
- Credit cards are used for purchases without using cash and are issued by banks, various stores, gasoline companies, and dining associations. Your name and account number are stamped on the card. When you make a purchase with a credit card, the cost and the information on the card are recorded. You will get a monthly bill for all your purchases. Extra charges are added for bills that are not paid each month. If you use a bank checking card or debit card to buy something, the amount of the purchase is deducted from your checking or savings account. Lost cards should be reported immediately. It is advisable for students from abroad to use cash or checks rather than credit cards.
Other Types of Payment
- In most cases, your personal check will be accepted. However, in the case of money sent abroad or very large sums of money, or if you do not have a checking account, you can use other forms of payment. You can buy “money orders” at any bank, at the Post Office, and at some stores. “Cashier’s checks” from your bank can also be used.
- Most stores require at least two forms of identification when paying by check. KU student identification cards may or may not be accepted by stores. Each store has its own rules for identification. The most common form of identification is a Kansas Driver’s License. If you do not drive, the State of Kansas also has an official Kansas identification card, which you can buy at the Kansas Driver’s License Bureau at 1035 North 3rd (across the bridge in North Lawrence 843-9593). Many stores have their own check cashing cards. If you want one of these, you need to apply for them at the stores.
- When traveling, you should use traveler’s checks for large sums of money. You can buy them from any bank at a one-percent charge. You can cash them at banks, hotels, and most stores. It is not wise to carry more than a small sum of currency.
- In the United States, a service charge or tip is not included in the bill. If you eat in a restaurant or ride in a taxi, you should give money equivalent to 15 percent of the total bill to the waiter or waitress or taxi driver. If you have your hair cut or styled, you should plan to give the person approximately 20 percent of the total bill. Tips are not given in theaters or at gas stations.
- “Phishing” is when someone tries to get your personal information (social security number, date of birth, account number, card number, PIN number, mother’s maiden name) over the phone or through email. They say they are from a company, but they are not. They may show you a website that looks like a company website, but it is not. They want this information so they can get your money out of your bank account or get a credit card in your name. Never give personal information by email or phone. If you get an email like this, print it and take it to the International Student Services Office or to an AEC cross-cultural advisor. If you get a phone call like this, get their phone number and tell the caller that you will call them back later. Then talk with someone in the International Student Services Office or to an AEC cross-cultural advisor.