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There is a wide variety of banking options in the U.S. and the services they provide are almost as varied. We cannot endorse one bank over another, these are the factors we recommend you consider when choosing a bank.

Convenience. Banking institutions generally have small service centers (called branches) in multiple locations throughout the Hampton Roads area. Selecting a convenient branch can save you local travel time and costs.

Service Fees. Most banks charge a monthly fee (approximately $20.00) for checking account services. This information is contained in the banking agreement, but might not be highlighted verbally before the agreement is signed. For this reason, you should inquire as to applicable fees before a banking agreement is signed.  However, your status as ‘military’ may allow you to be exempt from such fees.  Do ask!

Credit Cards. Most banks offer credit cards to members who qualify. However, qualification is based on credit checks of U.S. financial records. Because newly arriving international staff will not have had sufficient time in the U.S. to build a credit history in the U.S., obtaining a credit card is not always easy within the first several months.  Navy Federal and Bank Of America, however, have been fairly good at being able to issue credit cards to newly arrived service personnel if you sign up for a current checking account with them.