Banking & Money

The Global Education Office has put together a short guide to help explain the American currency system. This page also provides some useful information on banking, taxes, direct deposit, fees, and tipping.

  • 25 cents – a quarter
  • 10 cents – a dime
  • 5 cents – a nickel
  • 1 cent – a penny 


The Washington College Business Office, located in Bunting Hall, handles all fees and payments. As a new student, if you have a balance on your student account the Business Office is where you can go to pay it. Tuition, housing, fines and other charges you put on your student ID card will need to be paid to the Business Office.

Visit the Business Office

Most students find it useful to have a bank account while attending college, especially if you cannot constantly write home for funds. A bank account in the vicinity of the college is very useful to have to deposit or cash checks, or to have money transferred from home.

Banks in Chestertown

Truist Bank
501 Washington Avenue

PNC Bank
803 Washington Avenue

The best checking account options are those with no monthly service fee, no required deposit amount, and no fee for any written checks. 

Direct Deposit

If you acquire employment at Washington College (F-1 students and one year J-1 students) you must have your checks deposited directly into your account. It is extremely convenient — it saves you time and energy since you do not have to run over to the bank every time. Your checks will be sent directly over to your account.


There are several types of accounts although each bank has slightly different policies governing its accounts. Always inquire about a bank’s services before deciding on the type of account you wish to open. Take some form of identification when you open an account. If you are a foreign citizen, take your passport and another acceptable form of identification such as your college I.D. from Washington College

If you have an international credit card, bring it with you.  It is better to have a credit card in case of an emergency than to not have one. You may try to obtain a credit card here; please bear in mind that credit cards are sometimes refused to International students. Annual fees and interest rates vary with the banks. Bills paid on time are not charged any interest. If you have a credit card, remember that you will have to pay the bill at the end of the month!


They are often fees associated with opening a bank account.  These can include:

  • Monthly charge for having the account
  • Charges for specific transactions
  • Charges for overdrawing on your account
  • Charges for not having enough money in your account

Before you open an account, ask about the fees associated with the account and if there is a special account for students, where some of these fees can be waived.

Earned Income Tax

Non-immigrant students on a J-1 or F-1 visa must file Federal Tax returns if they earn money in the United States. You are liable for Federal and State taxes, but not for Social Security (FICA) taxes (unless you are considered to be a “resident for tax purposes” by the IRS, usually if you’ve lived in the U.S. for 5 calendar years or more).

Learn more about international student taxes and your responsibilties as an international student.

Sales Tax

The Maryland sales tax is 6% of the price and this applies to all items. Sales taxes are regulated at the state level, meaning different states have different sales tax rates.  

This small fee is a means of showing gratitude and it usually amounts to 15% to 20% of the bill. In some places, however, students can get away with tipping less. People you tip in the U.S. are: waiters, taxi drivers, porters, doormen, coat-check people; you also tip for personal services such as barbers, beauticians, and food delivery people.

People you do not tip include: customs officials or other government employees such as policemen or firemen, mailmen, airline personnel, room clerks or other people at hotel desks, bus drivers, store clerks, gas station attendants, theater ushers and receptionists. It may be hard to know whom to tip and what is considered a proper tip, so if you are having difficulties ask a friend for advice.