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Financial Issues


The basic unit of currency in the U.S. is the dollar (100 cents). Paper money is common in the amounts of $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50. Larger denominations are available, but they are rarely used. American bills (another name for paper money) are very similar in color, so be sure to note the amount you are using to pay someone. There also are six coins: the penny (1 cent), nickel (5 cents), dime (10 cents), quarter (25 cents), dollar (100 cents). You will use change (another word for coins) for such things as public telephones (although most people use cell phones and phone cards for calling today), vending machines, clothes washers and dryers, as well as in payment for goods purchased.


There are several banks in Amherst that will help you set up checking or savings accounts. It is a good idea to keep all large sums of money in a bank and to use checks to pay for major purchases. It is advisable to bring bank drafts in your name in order to open an account as well as some U.S. currency. In order to earn interest on a checking account, you must maintain a minimum balance.

Upon opening a checking account, you also may cash a check (exchange a check for actual money) on campus at the Business Office Cashier in Prothro Hall. Their hours are:


Monday – Thursday 8:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Friday 8:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Also, there is an ATM on the ground floor of Meta Glass Hall. It is available 24 hours a day.