The US dollar is the official currency of the United States of America as well as a handful of South American countries. As the currency of the world’s sole superpower it is one of the most powerful and well known currencies in the world being recognised as the currency most used for international transactions, being exchanged mostly for British Pounds or Euros. It is also one of the globes preferred reserve currencies.
Although foreign currencies can be changed into US dollars at currency exchange kiosks at airports, banks and border crossings (among other places) transferring your funds at the right time and getting the best exchange rate possible can save you money and really help your global transition. If you’re emigrating it’s really recommended that you seek advice from a trusted currency broker.
If you’re emigrating to the USA or just going for a really long holiday then you will almost certainly need to open up a bank account in the country. There are loads of banks to choose from and competition is rife amongst them. This means that a customer can get some pretty good deals and services such as investment and insurance services as well as property purchasing advice.
As well as the big international banks such as HSBC et al, there are a number of huge American banks that have their headquarters based in cities right across the country.
US banks opening hours are generally from 9am to 6pm in the week and 9am to 12pm on Saturdays. The majority of banks have cash machines or ATMs that allow you to withdraw cash, get bank statements and transfer money 24 hours a day.
In America your financial history is crucial. A good credit history is when you pay your bills on time and are able to buy goods and services with the understanding that you will be able to pay it back later. A bad one is if you spend beyond your means and get into debt. A bad report makes it a lot harder to borrow money needed for a mortgage and other costly endeavours.
The US is home to three main credit reporting agencies. These agencies gather and sell information about consumer’s credit histories. They collect information about consumers’ payment habits from credit grantors, stores the information on a database, then sells the information to other credit grantors in the form of a credit report. When you apply to rent (or buy) a house or to get a loan, the owner or the bank will order your credit report and analyze the information. What is contained in your credit report can greatly impact their decision.
The Credit report
A consumer credit report contains four types of information: information, credit data, public record information and enquiries.
Opening a bank account in the United States is a straightforward process as all you need is to shown an official document such as a passport or drivers license and make a deposit of cash. If you want to put money aside, you can set up a savings account to get a better rate of interest. A savings account cannot substitute a checking account. If you need services such as direct debits, bill pay and a check book, bear in mind that these services are generally not available with savings accounts. Check with your bank what the best interest rate they can offer you are.