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If you have just arrived to USA for first time, most convenient and easy way of getting a bank account and a credit card is to go NIHFCU (NIH Federal Credit Union) located at Bldgs. 10, 13, 31 and 45. (

You can easily get two accounts: Checking and savings. If you withdraw money from an ATM which does not have links with your bank, you will have to pay an extra $1-2. This is a disadvantage with the credit union, because apart from the ATM's on campus (Bldgs. 10, 31, 45) there are few ATMs outside in this area. However, recently NIHFCU upgraded their network of shared ATM in DC metro afea.


  • Checking card is a Debit card where, for each transaction, the money is automatically deducted from your checking card.

  • Credit card gives you 30 days to pay without paying interest.

  • ATM card can be used on campus ATMs and pay only at groceries and gas stations.

You can access your account on the internet, free with the Credit Union.


The first thing to be done after renting an apartment is to get a phone line/internet connection. You can get this by calling Verizon at 301-954-6260 or contacting ( There are many options available for the phone facilities: choose carefully, otherwise you might end up paying a huge monthly bill for the facilities alone, excluding the bill for phone calls. Call the company often to make sure they are working to get you your phone line. If it is possible to retain the line of the previous tenant of the apartment you are moving into, try to do so. It will be much cheaper compared to the new line.

TIP: These days it is better you get a internet connection and then buy some VOIP service or MagicJack. They are very cheap than a regular phone line.

You can get a mobile/wireless connection from AT&T, SPRINT, VERIZON, T-mobile...If you are going to spend couple of years in US, you can sign 2 year contract and get handset free of cost. Visit website like to get good deals on mobile phones.



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