BANKING & FINANCE
CHECKING & SAVING ACCOUNTS
A savings account encourages you to save money and interest is paid on the balance of your account. A checking account allows the convenience of paying for goods and services without having to carry cash with you. Checks are used most often to pay monthly bills (telephone, rent, gas, electricity). When presenting a check for payment, you will be asked to present a valid form of ID. You must keep an accurate record of your account to make sure you have enough money for each check you write.
HOW TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT
To open either a checking or savings account, you must have a social security card number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) and a valid form of ID. Be sure to present your passport, Form I-20, and verification of enrollment at HTIC. Bank services and costs vary considerably. Banks are generally open from 8:30am to 3:30pm Mondays - Thursdays, and from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm on Fridays. They are closed Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
A debit card will allow you to withdraw or deposit cash into your checking or savings account. A credit card will provide you with a loan from the card company, and you pay it back with interest. Generally, withdrawals are limited to $200-$500 per 24-hour period. Be sure you know the transaction fee before using the ATM.
If you have a bank in your home country and one in Hawaii, you can transfer money through the bank (5-7 days) or electronically transferred (2 days). Another way to send money is through money order, which can be purchased from 7-Eleven stores, West Union, or check cashing businesses. You should never send cash through the mail.
Bus schedules are available at the Ala Moana and Fort Street Mall Satellite City Halls, and state libraries. The fare is $2.50 for any bus ride. One transfer ticket to other buses is free and is issued upon request. One transfer ticket can be used to transfer two times; however, you can only use the transfers before the expiration time at the top. Monthly bus passes cost $60/month, but HTIC offers a special discount of $200 for 5 months (see OSS for more details). Monthly bus passes are available for purchase at Foodland Stores, 7-11 Convenience Stores, all Satellite City Halls (the downtown Satellite City Hall is on Fort Street Mall, below South King Street), and the MTL Bus Pass Office at 811 Middle St.
When selecting a taxi be sure to choose the established companies with good reputations such as Charley’s or The Cab. Although rates do change, you can expect about $2.75 for the meter to begin, and then $3.00 for each additional mile. The fare from Waikiki to the airport should be about $30. There may be additional charges for oversized baggage of about $4.75 per bag.
Purchase a helmet for safety. Lights are required for riding your bike at night. All bicycles must be registered and the license must be renewed every two years. To obtain a license, take the make/model and year of the bicycle, the serial number, and $15 to a Satellite City Hall. You must also register the bicycle with David at HTIC. A used bicycle will usually cost $50 to $150. New bicycles may cost anywhere from $200 to over $1,000.
Mopeds are only recommended when you have been in Hawaii long enough to know the road and the traffic regulations on the island. Mopeds are not allowed on the freeways or sidewalks and generally should be driven on the right side of the road to allow cars and other vehicles to pass. Mopeds must be registered and licensed like bicycles. You should always wear a protective helmet. New mopeds usually cost between $799-$1,264, and used mopeds usually cost between $350-$750. Insurance costs from $150 to $250 a year. Call (808) 532-4325 for information on motorcycle requirements, and (808) 733-2540 for more information on mopeds.
CP students are NOT allowed to get a Driver's License or purchase a car. Before buying a car, consider the high cost of insurance and parking fees. Insurance generally runs from $700 to $2500 per year. All cars must be registered with the DMV and be safety checked annually. Gas stations that are certified to do safety checks have signs posted with their safety check numbers. Call (808) 532-7700 for registration procedures with the DMV.
A foreign driver’s license is valid for one year from the date of your first entry into the U.S. After that time you must obtain a Hawai‘i driver’s license to continue driving privileges. You will be required to give up the driver’s license from your country in order to obtain a Hawai‘i license. For information about obtaining a Hawaii driver’s license, call (808) 532-7700. You will need to go to the Kalihi-Palama Department of Motor Vehicle & Licensing Division at 1199 Dillingham Blvd. #A101, Honolulu, HI 96817. Be sure to take your current license (if you have one), valid passport or state ID card, and Social Security Card. You will be given a written test, a road driving test, and an eye test before a license is issued.
Cell phones and calling plans are available for purchase at local shopping centers and retail outlets such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, Mobi, etc. It may be cheaper to enter a family plan with friends. The area code for Hawaii is 808.
LONG DISTANCE CALLS
International calling cards are available for purchase at local convenience stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies. Other options for calling family and friends outside the U.S. are: Skype, Google+ Hangouts, Apple FaceTime
U.S. Postal Service has post offices across the U.S and mail delivered to HTIC is put into your mailbox. UPS and FedEx offer door-to-door express delivery services. You can use the Comparison Tool to compare prices and time by delivery method.