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Money & Banks


American coins come in various sizes and metals: $0.01 (penny or cent) is a copper-colored coin; $0.05(nickel or five cents) is a silver colored coin that is larger than a penny; $0.10 (dime or then cents) is a silver-colored coin of the smallest size; $0.25 (quarter or twenty-five cents) is a silver-colored coin, larger than a nickel. The largest coins are the silver-colored $0.50 (half-dollar or fifty cents) and $1.00 (one dollar or one-hundred cents).

Paper money is all the same size and color, so be careful! Paper money comes in $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, $10.00, $20.00, $50.00, $100.00, and larger denominations. You should look carefully at the dollar amount on any bill you give for payment. $1.00= 100 pennies= 20 nickels= 10 dimes= 4 quarters= 1 dollar. $0.35 is referred to as “thirty-five cents.” $9.85 is referred to as “nine dollars and eighty-five cents” or “nine eighty-five.”

   (NOTE:  American cashiers may count your change back to you - if you paid 6.75 and paid with a ten dollar bill, they may give you your change back by handing you the quarter and saying seven, then laying the bills out "eight, nine, ten."  T his is the preferred way and lets you know you got the correct change.  Other cashiers who weren't well trained hand you the money back in a lump and say, 'three twenty five's your change."  This is the lazy way.  Make sure you count your change.)

Money & Banks

It is a good idea to open a bank account if you plan to stay in the U.S. for more than three months. It is the safe way to keep your money.  (Traveler's checks do not need to be kept in a bank.)  

To open a bank account

To open a bank account in the United States, you need to bring your passport, a driver’s license or another form of official identification from your country. There are saving account and checking account, it is best to get a checking account. Usually, to open a saving and checking account, you need minimum $100.00. When you open a checking account, you should make sure that if you can get overdraft protection. If you open a saving account and checking account together, they are linked to each other so you can transfer money from saving to checking or checking to saving account. Once you open an account, you will get personal checks and ATM card. The bank will give you ATM card to use for cash machines. Many banks offer ATM cards that also work as credit cards. However, each time that you use it as a credit card, the amount of purchase is taken directly from your account. Personal checks can be used to pay bills such as rent and utilities, or to purchase clothes or food. It is very convenient to use check because you don't need to carry a large amount of cash with you. When you write a check, you should be careful because it is illegal to write checks for more money than you have in your bank account. Most Americans use ATMs to do their banking. There are ATMs located in most of the shopping areas of Santa Barbara as well as at the banks. When you open your bank account, ask for information about ordering your ATM card and which machines you may use.

Traveler's check

If you are on a trip, it is the safest way to use traveler's checks. It is easier to get cash with a traveler's check than with a personal check. When you buy traveler's check at a bank, you may sign these checks, and when you pay for something you have to sign them again to prove that they are your check. Most banks offer their customer free charge checks, but sometimes there is a small charge to purchase them. When cashing any type of check, you will usually be asked for identification. You should have your passport, student identification, or a California Driver’s License.

Banks in Santa Barbara

 There are many banks in Santa Barbara. A lot of international student use Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. You can check out some detailed information on the bank web sites.

Monday-Friday 9:00am-6:00pm
Saturday 9:00am-2:00pm

195 North Fairview
Goleta CA 93117
3804 State St.
Santa Barbara CA 93111
163 Turnpike Rd
Santa Barbara CA93111


Monday-Thursday  9:00am-6:00pm
Friday 9:00am-7:00pm
Saturday 9:00am-2:00pm

900 State St
Santa Barbara CA 93101
(805) 564-2064
5892 Calle Real
Goleta CA 93117
(805) 564-2064 24 hour customer service


Monday-Thursday 9:00am-5:00pm
Friday 9:00am-6:00pm
Saturday (drive up) 9:00am-1:00pm

299 N Fairview Ave.
Goleta CA 93117
(805) 683-1403
820 State St
Santa Barbara CA 93101
(805) 564-6200
3451 State St
Santa Barbara CA 93105
(805) 687-1321


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