Money Matters

Banking and budgeting while abroad

Figuring out your budget while abroad is best done before you leave home. Ask your program about any advice with banking and read the following tips:

  • You may or may not be able to open a bank account in your destination country. However, you will have access to your United States bank account.
  • It’s best to have access to multiple types of funds (i.e. cash and debit or credit cards)
  • Be sure the PIN number for the debit card you’ll use abroad is four digits
  • Ask your bank if you can get a new card with a chip in it. A chip is a small, magnetic square that many new debit and credit cards have that most international transactions require. 
  • Ask your bank and credit card companies about any international transaction, currency exchange or ATM fees, and if they have any affiliated banks.  
  • It‘s also a good idea to make copies of the front and back sides of your important cards in case they get lost or are stolen. Leave these copies at home with a family member.

Tips

  • Know the local currency and the current exchange rate
  • Familiarize yourself with local customs. For example, is tipping the norm or is a service charge included in your bill?
  • Do some research into the cost of everyday food and health items like contact lens solution and medicine or shampoo.
  • Are there any apps or resources that are useful in the location you’re going for money or budgeting?