Practical Life in New York City

Bank services in New York City

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Currency in the USA

In the United States of America, the official currency is the American Dollar ($).

  • Notes are $1, ‎$2‎, ‎$5‎, ‎$10‎, ‎$20‎, ‎$50‎, ‎$100 and $500
  • Coins are $0.01‎, ‎$0.05‎, ‎$0.10‎, ‎$0.25‎, ‎$0.50 (and the rare ‎$1)

Remember that higher denomination notes, such as $500, may not be accepted in retail outlets, so bring cash in lower denominations when traveling to New York City.

Banks and ATMs in New York

Banks and ATM's can be found just about anywhere in New York. Most banks are open Monday-Friday from 9am to 5pm with some offering limited hours on Saturday.

ATMs often charge for using other bank's machines and there are frequent fees for international accounts. Different banks offer different benefits and monthly charges, so shop around to find the bank that best meets your needs.

If you plan to use ATMs in New York City, make certain your bankcard is of the four PIN number type. Most ATMs in the US are compatible with the Cirrus or Plus system; if you have any doubts about the usability of your ATM card, contact your bank prior to leaving. You should ask your bank about their fees for international exchanges at ATMs and find out if they have US partners.

Services at Banks in the USA

Typically, banks offer savings and checking accounts. A savings account usually offers a higher percentage of interest per month, while the checking account is where money is automatically taken out unless otherwise specified.

  • Debit cards are very common and accepted almost anywhere. When making a purchase with your debit card, it is immediately deducted from your account.
  • Credit cards are also frequently used. When a purchase is made, it is in the name of that account and the money is not automatically taken out. At the end of the month it is expected that you pay a lump sum for all the purchases made on that card for the month.
  • Checks are another method of payment which are used less frequently today, and may not be accepted at some stores and restaurants. When purchasing by check, the store gets the check and you keep the receipt of the check. The store turns the check into their bank and several days later the money is withdrawn from your account.

Major US Banks

Bank of America
261 Broadway
New York, NY 10007
(800) 432-1000

50 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
(212) 627-3999

The Bank of New York Mellon
One Wall Street
New York, NY 10286
(212) 495-1784

For a complete list of banks in New York visit:

Exchanging Money in NYC

In the past, the best place to exchange money was a bank ATM machine, but some banks are now adding high fees on to foreign ATM withdrawals. It is still the easiest way to access money abroad.

Exchange counters can be found at places like the airport and main train station, as well as tourist centers like around Times Square. They are usually marked "Combo/Exchange" and are very easy to find.

Money may also be exchanged at banks, often for the best rates but least convenience.

Electronic Transfers

Banks in the US offer a wide range of services electronically - both online and via mobile - often making it unnecessary to visit a bank branch in person once the bank account has been opened. The costs of electronic transfers differ from bank to bank and the agreement between them. Typically, electronic transfers between accounts in the same bank are free of charge and are completed within minutes.

What is becoming more popular are international transfer sites like Transferwise.

Open a Bank Account in New York

To open an account, you will need to show your ID as a primary form of identification, as well as proof of address, social security number as well as an initial deposit. As a foreigner, it might be necessary to show your visa or right to stay. Some credit unions have additional membership requirements like location, union, etc.

It is recommended that you open an account with a bank that has a local branch in case you need any kind of assistance. For example, you will probably need to visit the bank to transfer money to an international account.

Update 13/02/2020


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