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Washington DC - Banking, Money and Costs
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It is a common practice to maintain a "checking" or "check" account (also known as current account by British banks) for making utility and other regular payments. Paying bills by standing instruction (known as "direct debits" in the US) is not as common as writing out monthly checks or paying bills on-line via banking services.
When opening a bank account, you will need to produce some documentation, such as your social security number. If you do not have your social security number, ensure that you have a good substitute document, and a residence address. In some cases, a letter of appointment from your company indicating your salary level can help open an account. Take note that some banks take a long time to cash checks from foreign or international banks.
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are usually open 24 hours in DC, and you can withdraw cash from various international networks, such as Exchange, Accel, Plus and Cirrus.
Expatriates should not expect to be granted a US-based credit card easily, even though they may have an excellent credit rating in their home country. This is because there is no credit history record in the US. Therefore, it is useful to keep one or two of the credit cards issued by your home country while you work towards establishing a good credit rating in the US in order to be eligible for credit / loan services. Some expatriates apply for US based credit cards that are offered by gasoline or departmental stores.
Costs of Living
As compared to other US cities, the cost of living in DC is slightly higher (177.2) than the national average (173.8). See DC's cost of living details at www.cityrating.com
Expat Health Insurance Partners
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