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In the United States, it is customary to use checks and credit cards rather than using cash because it is easier and safer. It is best to open an account at a bank or credit union so money can be taken out of the account when needed. It is not safe to carry around large amounts of cash.

Most banks are open Monday through Friday from morning until mid-afternoon, and some are open also on Saturday morning. Upon opening an account, a “cash machine” or ATM card will be offered in order to get money out of the account at any hour, day or night. These cards can be used at automated teller machines (ATMs) all over the world.

The two main types of bank accounts are checking accounts, which allow checks to be written, and savings accounts, which offer a place to keep money and earn interest. Some checking accounts also pay interest. Most people in the U.S. pay their bills with checks or online with debit and credit cards. Cash should never be sent in the mail to pay for a bill or for any other reason.

Opening a Bank Account

To open an account at most banks you will need one or two valid forms of identification and a local mailing address to receive mail. A passport and a UC San Diego identification card are usually sufficient. At least $25 is usually required to open an account, and depending on your account there will be a monthly service charge unless a “minimum balance requirement” is maintained. Banks often have “hidden” fees so be sure to inquire about all possible fees.

Not all banks require a U.S. Social Security number to open an account, however, bank services may be limited (no online banking etc.) if you do not have a Social Security number.

Credit Unions

University Credit Union (on campus - Price Center)
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093

BluPeak Credit Union (on campus) 
3100 Gilman Drive 
La Jolla, CA 92037 
(866) 873-4968 

San Diego County Credit Union
7708 Regents Road
San Diego, CA 92122

Full Service Banks Near UC San Diego

Bank of America 
4380 La Jolla Village Drive
San Diego, CA 92122
(858) 552-4100  

Bank of America 
8813 Villa La Jolla Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 552-4055


8843 Villa La Jolla Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 554-0091

Union Bank of California
7807 Girard Avenue (downtown La Jolla)
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 551-4750 

Wells Fargo
8819 Villa La Jolla Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037
(800) 869-3557

Wells Fargo
8657 Villa La Jolla Drive Suite 201
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 455-9590 

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)

ATMs are located behind the Price Center on campus and at the Student Center. Using an ATM at a bank different from the one you are a member of may cost $1-$5 each time it is used.

There are several full-service banks located within walking distance of the UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest on University Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Avenue including Bank of America, Union Bank of California, and Chase.

ATM Safety Tips

An automated teller machine (ATM) provides a quick and convenient way to access your money. However, use caution and remember the following safety tips whenever you use an ATM:
  • Be aware of the surroundings, particularly at night.
  • Look for well-lit ATMs when doing a transaction at night.
  • If you notice anything suspicious when approaching the ATM, return later or use another machine.
  • Have your ATM card and transaction documents ready before you go to the ATM. When you can, fill out any deposit or withdrawal slips/envelopes before leaving your vehicle.
  • If you notice anything suspicious during your transaction, immediately stop your transaction, and put your ATM card away and leave.
  • Consider having another person accompany you to the ATM.
  • Immediately report all crimes to the ATM operator and to local law enforcement officials.
  • Stand close to the ATM and away from others in line to avoid detection of your PIN or other account information.
  • Put your cash away as soon as the transaction is complete; count the cash later in the safety of your vehicle or home.
  • Never give information to strangers at the ATM or to anyone over the phone. Be aware of fraud or people who pose as bank employees who try to get information from you. This information should only be discussed in person by you at the bank.
  • Remember to keep your PIN a secret. Make sure not to write it on your ATM card or anywhere else in your wallet; thieves can easily figure out the reason for “hidden” or “secret” numbers.

From USE Credit Union ATM Safety Tips

Bank Wire Transfers

If you need to set up a wire transfer from your home country’s bank to UC San Diego for payment purposes, you may seek additional information by contacting the following:

  • For main campus depository accounts (such as wires or ACH payments) email
  • For the UC San Diego Medical Group, contact Rima A. Handal (619) 543-1899
  • For the UC San Diego Medical Center (hospital), contact Gary Nittoly (619) 543-3690