When you first arrive in the U.S., you may open a U.S. bank account. Most Americans use personal checks, credit cards and debit cards to pay for purchases. Many students who come from overseas have a cash card which allows them to withdraw cash in the U.S. However, you cannot make any payments with this card. For example, when you pay your rent or cell phone bill, you will probably have to pay by check.
Sweet Home California will put you in contact with a specialist who will help you open a bank account.