HANDLING YOUR MONEY.
1. Banks in the US usually open at 9 or 10 a.m. and close between 3 and 5 p.m., but some banks have longer hours. Most American banks are confined to a particular state, but it is always possible to use checks for cash in states other than the one in which your bank account is located, although many businesses only take local checks.
2. When you open a checking account at a bank, be sure to have an ID (your passport, driver’s license. etc.) There is usually no need to fill out any forms: the information is fed directly into the computer. After that you may deposit your checks (e.g., pay checks) into your account. You must endorse these checks by signing them on the back. Be sure to use the form of your name that appears on the front of the check. It is also necessary to fill out a special form that comes with your check book, indicating the sum you, deposit. You can withdraw money after the deposited checks have been verified, which usually takes a couple of days.
3. When you write out a check to pay for goods or services you will be asked for an ID — a driver’s license will usually do. Should you write out a check and it is returned by the bank or shop as worthless you´ll have to pay a high service charge.
4. When you open an account, you are issued a PIN — a four digit personal identification number, and in a few days you receive a check book and an ATM card by mail. The latter has two functions: it allows you to withdraw money from your account (24 hours a day from ATMs) and confirms your account automatically. You receive a receipt after each transaction stating your balance. Often you can transfer the required sum of money to another account (that of a supermarket, department store, etc.). It is also possible to deposit money using a cash machine. In this case you have to put a check into an envelope and slip it into the machine. Be sure to remember your PIN; you will have to enter it into the machine every time you use it
5. From an ATM you can get a pre-determined amount of cash each day. Some banks will pay no more than one hundred dollars at a time, and no more than five hundred per day. These easy-to- use machines make it unnecessary to carry around a lot of cash, therefore reducing the risk of robbery. The only inconvenience is that you have to repeat the process several times if you want more than one hundred dollars, so it makes more sense to use checks to pay large sums of money.
6. If you happen to lose your ATM card there is little chance that someone else can use it. The thief will have to guess your PIN which is kept secret even from the bank clerks. Still, to be on the safe side, you should call the bank, and they will change the number.