Money and Banking


U.S. currency is based on the decimal system, with 100 cents to each dollar. Metal coins include pennies ($ .01), nickels ($.05) dimes ($.10), quarters ($.25), half-dollars ($.50), and dollars ($1.00). Paper currency comes in $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, $10.00, $20.00, $50.00, and $100.00 denominations. The $2.00 bill and $ .50 coin are very rare, but you may see them from time to time. All U.S paper currency and most coins have an image of a former president. There are two versions of the $1.00 coin, and both have images of women: Susan B. Anthony, or Sacagawea. Both women are heroes to the American people.  

Most Americans do not keep large amounts of cash with them, or in their homes. Americans prefer to keep their money in the bank, where it is much safer.  


Banks offer many services, including checking and savings accounts. It is advisable to open an account at a commercial bank. This will give you access to your money easily and safely for paying any bills by check or card. Also, all banks can accept wire transfers from your family overseas, and automatically post the money to your account. There is usually a charge for this service, and you should check with your bank to find out how much it is. 

Your bank will send you a statement every month. Your bank statement will contain copies of checks you have written, plus a list of all transactions you made that month. It is important to check your statement every month. You must let your bank know about any mistakes you find, so the bank can correct them. Banks in the United States have a responsibility to protect your account, and mistakes are very rare. However, if it happens, they will quickly correct any mistakes once you report them.  

Most banks in the Atlanta area offer the same general services, but many Mercer students choose Wells Fargo Bank because they have an ATM, or bank machine, located on campus.


You will need to show at least two forms of identification with your photograph.  You should take your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, and I-94 with you to open your account.  YOU DO NOT NEED A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER to open a normal savings or checking account. If you deposit a large amount of money in a savings or some checking accounts, the bank will usually pay you interest. Ask the bank personnel about the different kinds of accounts available to you.


Checks can be useful in conducting business in the United States. If you lose your checks and quickly notify the bank, the bank will protect your account. Also, your cancelled checks serve as receipts, and your monthly statements from the bank will indicate how you are spending your money.  

NEVER sign a blank check and give it to another person. Make sure that everything is filled out properly.  When you are writing checks at stores, you will be asked for some form of ID, usually a driver’s license with current address. 


Most banks offer the computerized services of a 24-hour Automated Teller Machine, also known as an ATM. You will be given a small plastic card to use this service. This card, along with your Personal Identification Number (PIN) will allow you to conduct transactions with the bank (deposits, withdrawals, check your balance, transfer money between accounts, etc.) DO NOT GIVE YOUR PIN NUMBER TO ANYONE! EVEN THE BANK!   If you use your ATM card at your bank, there is no charge for the service. If you use your ATM card at another bank’s ATM, you will usually be charged a fee, usually between $3 - $5. 


Wells Fargo

404-865 2780 – 5772 Buford Hwy, Doraville

Wells Fargo Bank and Mercer University are cooperating institutions. Your BearCard can be linked to your personal account opened at this bank, so you can use your student ID as your ATM card. This service is free of charge. 

Bank of America

770-452 2145 –  5001 Buford Hwy, Chamblee-Tucker

Bank of America has many locations throughout the city and you can find it also in Kroger grocery stores.  Bank of America offers a student account you may be interested in.

Suntrust Bank

404-365 3700 – 4030 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA, 30319

Also you would be asked to fill out form W8BEN/ECI Form stating that you are an international student, not a resident or citizen of the US.  Suntrust can be also found in some Publix Stores.

Chase Bank

404-633 2247, 3300 Clairmont Road, Atlanta, GA, 30329