Most of the bank will pay you $10 to $25 for opening a new student bank account( for types of bank account click here), if you being referred existing bank customer. Bank of America pays new account opening reward of $25 to you and $25 to your friend. So, check about the Bank account referral program, if one exists for the bank in which you are planning to open your checking account, ask your seniors who already have an account to refer you. There you go, you just got $25. Who wouldn’t say no to free money?
While submitting the application, they would ask for Social Security Number. Most of student will not have Social Security Number within few days of arrival in U.S. They would need a copy of your I-20, Passport. Usually, there will be no minimum balance requirements for students checking account. After you have you Social Security Number, you can call the bank and update your records.
I have seen people who will open Online Savings account, sine they pay like $50 for every new account and $25 for referral person and they never use that account. I wouldn’t suggest opening bank account more than your need. When you have more than 2-3 accounts, managing will get little difficult. that too after you have more than 4 credit cards, it still gets tricky. For time being till you understand how credit history works, just have an checking account.