Using an ATM card is a common way to withdraw money in the U.S.  ATM machines are very common. ATM stands for Automatic Teller Machine, and is a machine that allows you to withdraw cash from your bank account, without having to be at your bank.  Be aware that most banks will charge a fee if you use ATMs of another bank on their machine. This can add up quickly – so be careful!

Credit Card:

It is also common for people to pay for items by credit card. Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards are usually accepted in most grocery stores, retail shops and restaurants.

Exchanging Currency: 

Most money can be exchanged at major banks and at most Currency Exchange Stores.  In addition to exchanging currency, this store provides other services, such as sending money through Western Union, and providing  CTA passes for purchase.

The following information may be helpful to those unfamiliar with United States currency:  One dollar ($1.00) equals “100” cents.  Paper money or “bills,” come in denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.  Coins are in denominations as follows:

U.S. Currency
Coin Name Value Value as $
Penny 1 cent $.01
Nickel 5 cents $.05
Dime 10 cents $.10
Quarter 25 cents $.25
Half Dollar 50 cents $.50
Dollar 100 cents $1.00

To avoid delays and cash-flow problems, you may want to open a bank account with a U.S. bank before you arrive.



The two banks which are accustomed to working with Internationals and that you can find on-campus are Credit Union 1 and PNC Bank.  There are also many banks around Chicago including Citibank, Chase Bank, and Bank of America, to name a few.

Following are UIC’s on-campus resources:

Credit Union 1

Complete banking services are offered by Credit Union 1, which has three convenient locations on campus. Credit Union 1 members can get free checking accounts and saving accounts with a minimum balance of $5, ATM/Debit cards, money orders, and traveler’s checks.  Clients must show a photo identification (I.D.) to qualify for opening an account.

PNC Bank

PNC Bank is the banking partner of UIC.  PNC Bank offers the Student Checking Account with online banking, bill pay, and mobile banking. PNC also offers international wire transfers. To open a PNC Bank account, visit the nearest branch with your valid passport and UIC ID card.

*OIS does not endorse or have an agreement with any of the banks listed.