Choosing a Student Bank Account
Find the perfect student bank account.
By Kathryn Knight
College presents many opportunities to step up to the plate and start taking on more responsibility. Just like making it to class on time and taking care of your dorm room, managing your money properly is your responsibility once you get to college.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of student bank account options to help keep you in the green.
Mark Kantrowitz, a well-respected financial aid expert, highlights what students should be looking for from a bank when opening a student account:
- Convenient ATM locations close to campus. This will prevent students from withdrawing from other banks, which typically charge a fee if you’re not an account holder at that bank.
- No withdrawal fees from bank’s own ATMs.
- No monthly or minimum balance fees.
- Debit card over an ATM card. The debit card will allow students to make purchases with the card whereas the ATM card limits students to withdrawals from an ATM only.
Kantrowitz also suggests:
- Mobile banking and text message alerts when account funds are too low.
- Online banking and bill-paying services.
- Easy access to the account so Mom and Dad can deposit money too.
- Nationwide bank that you’ll have access to after graduation—think Bank of America or PNC Bank.
As you search for a bank to make your college life easier, Kantrowitz adds that you need to also keep in mind qualities that you’ll need from a bank after graduation. He states, “After the student graduates, they should set up their student loans to automatically debit the monthly bill from their checking account. Most lenders will offer a small discount for students who sign up for auto-debit and electronic billing.”
Kantro’s picks for student-friendly banking centers:
- Bank of America
- Citizens Bank
- Fifth Third Bank
- JP Morgan Chase
- Key Bank
- M&T Bank
- PNC Bank
- TD Bank
- US Bank