This will be one of the first things you should set up on arrival. To set up an account you will need two forms of ID including your passport, and a letter of earnings which will be provided by the military or civilian HR team.
- Credit and Debit cards are used frequently, and very often for small amounts, though chip and pin is not as prevalent in the US yet.
- You can use your UK credit/debit cards to withdraw cash from ATM’s and to make purchases in stores, subject to your bank’s charges.
- US websites do not tend to accept UK cards and will require a card with a US billing address.
- To set up store cards you will probably be asked for a social security number.
You are welcome to choose which bank you prefer based upon your own circumstances, and what is available to you locally. Many people choose HSBC, Bank of America, or Citibank.
An advance of pay is available for all MOD personnel assigned to the US. Rules differ for military and UKBC. You should ensure you are aware of the repayment requirements and budget for this. It is your choice on how much and whether to take the advance.
Some personnel find using their UK savings is necessary on first arrival particular for start-up deposits and large pay-outs.
It is very difficult to bring your UK credit rating with you to the US and this can prove a frustration for new arrivals who wish to obtain a loan for a car and find it difficult because of no credit rating. Personnel who bank with HSBC may be able to bring across their credit rating, however this will need to be explored direct with HSBC.
All personnel assigned to the US can have their salary split between their UK and US accounts. Money paid directly into a US bank account will be paid at the current FFR exchange rate. This rate can fluctuate and is balanced out through LOA.