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Life in San Marcos

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Money and Banking

Currency Exchange

Once you arrive, you will need to find a currency exchange at the airport. Here is a list of banks that will exchange your money for you.


Bank of America: Will only exchange money for those who hold an account with them.
Chase Bank: Will only exchange money for those who hold an account with them.
Citibank: Will only exchange money for those who hold an account with them.
IBC: Will only exchange Mexican Pesos and Euros.


You will want to create an account at one of San Marcos' local banks. This will allow you to transfer funds and access a checking account and debit card. You can create an account by providing the bank with two forms of ID. Valid forms of ID include:

• Passport
• Visa
• Credit card
• Driver’s license (U.S. or international)
• Your student ID.

*You shouldn't need a Social Security number to open an account.

There are many bank options available in San Marcos:

Bank of America
308 East Hopkins Drive, San Marcos
Compass Bank
300 South L B J Drive, San Marcos
(512) 754-8800
Frost Bank
231 North Guadalupe Street, San Marcos
(512) 393-5616
Broadway Bank
301 North C M Allen Parkway, San Marcos
(512) 805-0972
Ozona National Bank
141 West Hopkins Street, San Marcos
(512) 754-2600
Wells Fargo Bank (also located on campus)
123 North Edward Gary Street, San Marcos
(512) 396-2525
Sage Capital Bank
2202 Hunter Road, San Marcos
(512) 392-5588

There are different kinds of bank accounts. Three of the most common are:

1. Savings Account:
  • Your money earns interest, but there may be a fee for frequent withdrawals. Some banks charge a monthly fee if the balance in the account is below a specified amount.
  •  It is used to deposit money for safekeeping over a long period of time.
2. Checking Account:
  • Designed to hold your money safely in a bank, but allow you to spend it as you wish.
  • Some earn interest and have restrictions on the number of checks you can write.
  •  Most have minimum balances required and penalties for going below that amount.
  • After opening a checking account, you will receive an account number and personalized   checks which will be charged to your account.
  • Checks may be written for cash or directly to a business to pay bills or services. You will need identification such as a driver's license or Texas ID card to cash checks.
  • Sometimes, it is difficult to cash checks from a Bryan/College Station bank if you are outside the area, especially outside of Texas.
3. Certificates of Deposit (CDs):
  • Savings certificates earn higher interest rates than regular savings accounts, but must remain on deposit for a specific period of time.
  • There is a penalty for early withdrawal. 


 This contains three parts:
 1. Checks
 2. Deposit Tickets (located behind the checks)
 3. Record of Account Balance (Check Register or Ledger)

Banking Terms Defined

  •  Balance - The current amount of money you have in your bank account. This term is also used to refer to the process of reconciling the checks you have written to the bank statement.
  • Stop Payment (“put a hold on a check”) - Asking the bank to keep a check from being deducted from your account.
  • Insufficient Funds/Overdraft (“bounced” or “hot check”) - Occurs when a check has been written, but you do not have enough money in your account to cover it. There are charges of $20-25 per check for this. Also, it becomes part of your legal record.
  • Direct Deposit - Funds are deposited electronically into your account by another institution (ex: your employer).
  • Auto Debit - Funds are withdrawn automatically from your account by another institution (ex: a credit union to whom you owe a monthly amount for a car loan).
  • Credit Union - An institution providing services similar to a bank for its members. There is a fee to become a member.
  • Bank Teller - Employee of a bank that handles the exchange of money.
  • FDIC Insured - Protection on your accounts offered by US government for up to $100,000. Banks are not always stable, be sure yours is insured.
  • Service Charge - These are monthly fees the bank withdraws from your account for maintaining it.
  • Interest Earned - The bank pays you a percentage of your account for keeping your money in the institution.
  • Interest Paid - The amount the bank charges you for borrowing money from them (see “loan”).
  • Credit - A deposit of funds to a bank.
  • Debit - A withdrawal of funds from a bank.
  • Personal Identification Number (P.I.N.) - A security code entered when using an ATM.
  • Charge Back Fee - A processing fee the bank charges a customer for depositing a check with insufficient funds in the account (a hot check).
  • Truncated Checks - Processed checks that are not returned to the customer with the bank statement. Instead they are kept on file at the bank.

Driver's License

If your country has reciprocity with the United States, you will most likely be able to drive a non-commercial vehicle for up to one year. To check reciprocity, email license.issuance@txdps.state.tx.us or call 512-424-2600. If you wish to obtain a Texas driver's license you must pass a vision, driving knowledge, and driving test. The Texas Driver's Handbook will assist you with the written examination and can be dowloaded here. For more information visit http://www.international.txstate.edu/current/information.html

The department of Public Safety in San Marcos is located at:
1400 N I H 35
San Marcos, TX
(512) 353-7000


Most dorms and apartments in San Marcos provide you with a washer and dryer. If your place of residency does not provide these services, there are a couple laundry mats in San Marcos. These facilities require quarters in order to use the machines:

Laundry Basket

1525 Aquarena Springs Dr # 3

San Marcos, TX 78666-7262

(512) 353-1418


Country Clean Laundry

315 West Hutchison Street

 San Marcos, TX 78666-4409

(512) 754-8059


Laundry tips:

Most washing machines have three water temperature settings:

  • Hot:This is used for white clothing and very dirty clothes.
  • Cold: Used for delicate clothing and clothes containing dark dyes that may fade in warm water.
  • Warm: For anything else.

Most drying machines have three settings also:

  • Permanent Press: This helps get wrinkles out of clothes
  • Low: This setting is for delicate clothes.
  • Normal: For everything else.

On Campus Dining

An important part of life on campus is eating in the dining halls or food courts with your new friends. Texas State requires all on-campus residents (with the exception of Bobcat Village) purchase a meal plan. Chartwells, our on-campus food provider, offers affordable, healthy dining options to our students.

Click here for updated dining hall hours: http://www.dineoncampus.com/txstate/show.cfm?cmd=menu
Students without a meal plan, faculty, staff, parents, visitors, and guests are welcome to dine at any of our dining facilities. All Texas State Dining facilities accept cash, credit cards, Dining Dollars and Bobcat Bucks. Door rates for customers eating at Commons Dining Hall and Harris Dining Hall without a meal plan are as follows:


Personal Safety

Safety at Home

  • Lock your door, even if you intend to return shortly or are just going down the hall. It takes a thief five seconds or less to enter an open room and steal your property.
  • Do not prop open residence hall exit doors.
  • Lock or secure doors and windows when you are alone or asleep.
  • Do not leave valuables out in plain sight.
  • Record the serial numbers of your valuable items. Electric engravers can be checked out free of charge to mark your valuables. Call the Community Awareness and Resource Team at 512.245.8341.
  • Do not leave a note on your door saying that you are away and giving a time when you will return.
  • Do not let strangers into buildings or residence halls.
  • Do not let anyone borrow your room keys.
  • If you lose your keys, report it to the University Police Department (UPD).

Safety on Campus

  • Know the locations of the emergency call boxes.
  • Consider taking a self-defense class, such as UPD’s Rape Aggression Defense course.
  • Keep university police numbers handy and save them in your cell phone.
  • If you have a feeling that something is wrong, trust your instincts and go to a safe place.
  • If you feel scared or threatened, call the police.

Safety on Foot

  • Stay alert and use good judgment to avoid becoming an easy target.
  • Walk purposefully. Convey that you are calm, confident, know where you are going and know what is going on around you.
  • Stand tall and make quick but deliberate eye contact with people around you.
  • If you are being followed, turn and walk quickly in the opposite direction. Go to a well-lit and well-populated area.
  • Avoid walking alone, and stay away from dark streets. Avoid shortcuts through deserted areas.
  • Avoid displaying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.

Safety on the Go

  • Park in well-lit areas so you can see your car and its surroundings from as far away as possible.
  • Have your car keys ready before you approach the car. Don’t make yourself vulnerable while searching for the right key.
  • Tell a friend when you’re leaving and when you expect to return.
  • If someone threatens you with a weapon, give up your vehicle immediately. Your life is more important than your car.
  • When using the bus, be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention so you do not miss your stop.
  • If someone looks suspicious and is getting off at your stop, consider staying on the bus.

Safety in Social Situations

  • Go to parties with a friend and watch out for each other.
  • If you go to the party together, you should leave the party together.
  • If alcohol is involved, make sure that someone is assigned to be the designated driver.
  • Don’t leave your drink unattended.
  • Never drink something you did not open yourself.
  • Never leave someone who is intoxicated and passed out alone or unattended.
  • If you see a person unconscious and you know they have consumed a large amount of alcohol, call UPD.
  • Obey state laws and campus rules about alcohol and drug use.
  • Remember that possession or consumption of alcohol by anyone younger than 21 is a misdemeanor.
  • Students have access to 76 emergency telephones located around campus. They are yellow with a blue light above them, and when a student picks one up to request emergency assistance, help is on the way immediately.

Important Numbers

  • Crimes in progress: 911
  • Nonemergency: 512.245.2890
  • Bobcat Bobbies escort service: 512.245.SAFE (7233)
  • Motorist assists: 512.245.2805
  • University Crime Stoppers: 512.245.STOP
  • Crisis Hotline: 512.396.3939
  • Hays County Rape Crisis: 512.396.4357
  • National Help Line: 800.262.2463
  • Texas State Counseling Center: 512.245.2208


Postal, Internet, and Telephone Service


Postal Service

The United States Postal Service (USPS) will deliver mail to your home. You can update your address information at http://www.usps.gov. You can mail letters and packages and purchase stamps at the San Marcos post office located at:

210 S Stagecoach Trail
San Marcos, TX 78666
(512) 392-4831

Wireless Phone Service Providers

Sprint Store
350 N Guadalupe; Suite 160, San Marcos
(512) 558-7960

Verizon Wireless
911 Highway 80 #911, San Marcos
(512) 353-6363

651 Barnes Drive, Bldg 2, Ste 206, San Marcos
(512) 392-5229

International Calling

It may be cheaper to use Skype or a calling card purchased online or at a local store.
With a calling card you will be able to use any phone to make an international call. You can compare calling rates at CallingCard.com. Many stores sell international calling cards, including Wal–Mart, Dollar General and Target.

Check out this page on the Dean of Student's Website with a list of Places to Go and Things to Do around San Marcos!