Bringing money to the U.S.

Traveler’s Checks are a good way to bring money with you. You can use them in almost any store, just like cash, but you will probably need your passport or some other ID. If they get stolen or lost, you can have them replaced, but only if you have the receipt(s).

If you would like to bring bills with you, you should change your euros bills in the US. It is always more interesting to buy the currency of the country: U.S. dollars are cheaper in the US.

Opening a bank account

Withdrawing and paying with your French card costs fees. If you stay longer than a month, we advise you to open a US bank account.

Banks require a social security number (SSN) to open an account. However, Bank of America agrees to open an account to students without SSN but with a VISA. Bring your passport, a letter of the company detailing your salary, and the letter you received from your VISA sponsor. You must provide your social security number to the bank as soon as you get it.

BNP & Bank of America partnership

If you are a BNP customer:

  • you can withdraw cash with your BNP card from any Bank of America ATM without any fee

  • money transfers are free between BNP and Bank of America accounts

  • maintenance fee are free for BNP customers who open a BOA saving account. US saving accounts are similar to French “comptes-courant”

Sales Tax

Beware! The price you see on a price tag is not always what you will actually pay at the register. Some States have sales tax that is added to the price of the items. Sales tax and taxable items differ from state to state. For example, some states place a tax on clothes, but others do not. Sales tax varies from 4% to 9%.


Tipping is a common practice across the U.S., and people generally give a tip to anyone in the service industry. This includes restaurants, hotels, taxis, and bars. Individuals who work in these areas receive low wages because tipping is the custom, and in fact they make most of their income from tips. You must consider it as an obligation, only a very bad service justifies not letting a tip. A tip of 15-20% is standard in restaurants, and $2 to $3 is typical for food delivery, taxis, and hotel service.

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