I am an international doctoral student at a US university. My school asks me for a proof of funds to cover the expenses of my spouse. I therefore requested a bank statement. However, my statement reveals much personal information such as my account number and the details of all transactions.

My question is whether it is safe to supply this personal information.

  • 7
    I don't know your university, but I would just draw black bars over the unnecessary information (when sending them a picture). Leave your name, leave your balance, leave your income, but they don't need to see where the other transactions are coming from or going to.
    – user253751
    Mar 19, 2021 at 11:08

2 Answers 2


You could also consider obtaining a Bank Letter (or Proof of Funds Letter) instead of using a monthly statement. American University has some sample documents on their site to show what can be used to demonstrate financial ability. Screenshot of the sample letter in case the link breaks in the future: Bank Letter Sample

  • 2
    It would be nice if the banks could auto-generate something like this online (perhaps pdf format). Otherwise I wonder how long it would take to get a real physical copy if requested.
    – TTT
    Mar 18, 2021 at 20:07
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    @TTT - Agreed. Although I think these letters are usually quite easy to get, especially if there's a branch available for you to visit. In the States, you can get similar letters for buying a home and (in my experience) seem to have a turnaround time of just a couple of days.
    – BobbyScon
    Mar 18, 2021 at 20:13
  • 1
    I have used this type of "proof of funds" document for home loans and for other legal things such as immigration. I went to my bank's branch and they printed one for me right there for free. They can probably mail you one too.
    – Eilon
    Mar 19, 2021 at 17:13
  • 3
    @TTT In Australia most banks have a button to automatically generate these in their online banking sites, so it can be done!
    – coagmano
    Mar 20, 2021 at 1:39

It may be safe to do so but still reveal stuff that you don't want to reveal and which they have no real need to know. For instance if your statement reveals you spent money at a sex toy shop it's probably "safe" to reveal that but it might be embarrassing or awkward and it's not really any of the school's business.

I would talk to your contact at the school (i.e., the person who asked for this documentation). Quite likely they would be okay with you cropping out part of the statement (e.g., the individual transactions), and/or obscuring (e.g., with black boxes) any sensitive information.

  • 9
    This is exactly what I would do. In fact I wouldn't even ask. I would redact all information except what you know they need to see, which is probably account owner name(s), ending balance, and bank name and address. Let the University come back and say it isn't sufficient if they don't like it.
    – TTT
    Mar 18, 2021 at 20:01
  • 3
    @Astroguy13 I wouldn't be super concerned about the account number.
    – BrenBarn
    Mar 19, 2021 at 4:41
  • 2
    The university holds lots of account numbers to pay their staff. I wouldn't worry. Mar 19, 2021 at 11:17
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    @Astroguy13 Account numbers don't matter--they're printed on every check. Also, any electronic transfers you set up normally include the account number. The few times I needed to prove funds I simply took a marker and blacked out the transactions. Mar 20, 2021 at 3:17
  • 1
    Sending a bank statement with redacted payees rather than proof of funds will (hopefully) reassure the receiving entity that the bank account is active with typical usage. With proof of funds, the account holder could have a family member pay in a large amount, then get the proof of funds, then return the funds to the family member. With an actual account statement, showing the amounts and redacting payees demonstrates that this hasn't happened (at least, not in its simples form). Mar 20, 2021 at 5:07

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