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Student Debt Guide: Banking and ATM's

What should you look for from a bank when opening a student bank account?

Elizabeth Hoyt

January 05, 2016

Student Debt Guide: Banking and ATM's
What should you look for from a bank when opening a student bank account? The essential factors are convenience, fees and the ways you can access your money, according to financial expert Mark Kantrowitz.
Take it from the expert - here are Kantro's top banking and ATM guidelines tips to follow:
Convenience. Look for a bank with ATM locations on or near campus. Other banks will charge a fee to use their ATMs if you’re not an account holder, so make sure there are convenient ATM locations close to campus.

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No fees. There should be no withdrawal fees from the bank’s own ATM's, and no monthly or minimum balance fees.
Debit card vs. ATM card. A debit card will allow you to make purchases with the card, while an ATM card limits you to making withdrawals from an ATM.

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Other features worth considering include:
• 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 remotely.
• A nationwide bank is nice, since it means you’ll be able to access the account if you move far away after graduation.

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In addition, Kantro says, "Many college financial aid offices are now disbursing financial aid through debit cards. These debit cards often have high fees. You have the right to have the college automatically transfer the financial aid to the bank account of your choosing. Ask the bursar’s office or financial aid office how to have the money transferred directly to your bank account."
"After you graduate, set up your student loans to automatically debit the monthly payment from your checking account. Not only will that ensure you pay the bill on time and save you the cost of a postage stamp, but most lenders will offer a small interest rate reduction to students who sign up for auto-debit and electronic billing," suggested Kantro.

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