Student Life

Choosing a Student Bank Account

Find the perfect student bank account to fit your student banking needs.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

August 12, 2022

Choosing a Student Bank Account
Discover student banking options for life after high school.
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.

Choosing a Student Bank Account

Fortunately, there are a plethora of student bank account options to help keep you in the green. Check out our expert tips on what to look for and where to find the best student banking accounts.

What is a student bank account?

A student bank account is very similar to a regular bank account. However, there are features of the account that are exclusive to students. Student bank accounts typically have less strict fund requirements and minimal, or even zero, maintenance fees. Banks understand that students are just getting started, financially-speaking. In hopes of making them life-long customers, banks allow more flexibility with their student bank account holders.

Difference Between a Regular Checking Account a Student Checking Account

Most bank accounts require a minimum deposit, like $100, to open as well as a minimum amount to maintain good standing. They also charge hefty fees for over withdrawals or for dipping below the minimum account balance.
With a student bank account, students can open with very little, to no, money deposited. They also don’t rack up fees for overdrafts or lack of monthly direct deposits.

What are the Benefits of a Student Checking Account?

For most student checking accounts, a minimum deposit of $25 or less is required, making it easy for students that are just learning to exert their financial independence. Oftentimes, there is no minimum balance requirement like there is for regular bank accounts. Additionally, many banks charge fees for individual accounts that do not have direct deposits or fail to maintain a certain minimum balance. For students, these fees are waived.
They also aren’t punished as severely for instances in which they overdraft on accounts. Fees are either minimal or nonexistent for student bank accounts. Banks may also waive ATM withdrawal fees for students who need to pull cash out from ATMs managed by other banks or third parties. Finally, in order to entice students to open bank accounts, institutions may offer student rewards and incentives, like $100 for opening a checking account or a certain percentage back on specific purchases.

Student Checking Account Fees to Watch Out for:

Before you make a decision on which bank to open an account with, check for the following fees for student accounts:

ATM fees

These are charged for using a bank or third party ATM that is not associated with your bank.

Monthly Maintenance Fees

Some banks charge a fee just for having an account, or for not keeping a monthly minimum balance.

Overdraft Fees

These are charged to your account when you take out or spend money that you do not have. You will be charged for the transaction you made as well as a fee.

Non-Sufficient Fund Fee (NSF)

This fee is charged when you do not have money to cover a transaction and your balance drops below $0. The transaction you made will be denied or rejected, and you’ll incur this fee.

Paper Statement Fee

If you would like your account activity sent to you in paper format each month, you’ll have to pay a fee for that.

Foreign Transaction Fees

Studying abroad? Your bank may charge you for using your bank card or withdrawing from ATMs while you’re traveling overseas.

Account Closure Fee

Finally, banks may charge a fee for closing your account.

Do Student Checking Accounts Require a Deposit?

Minimum deposits vary from bank to bank. Some require a minimal amount, like $25, while others do not require any money deposited to open a student bank account.

Choosing a Student Checking Account

As you search for a bank to make your college life easier, keep in mind qualities that you’ll need from a bank after graduation as well. For now, however, look for the following features:

Minimum Fees and Requirements

Take a look again at the common bank account fees above. Check the banks you’re interested in, and make a list of what they charge and how much.

Online Banking

You want to be able to bank anywhere you go, so choosing a bank with an online banking platform is vital.

ATM Fee Reimbursement

Some banks may reimburse you for ATM fees if you have to make a withdrawal from an ATM that is not their own. This is a perk you may want to consider.

Additional Rewards and Perks

Research other incentives that a bank may offer students like you. Are they worth it? Other considerations that you should make are choosing a bank that has ATM locations near where you live while in college as well as after. This is why it might be prudent to go with a nationwide bank, like Bank of America or PNC. Students should look for banks that allow student loan payments to automatically withdraw from their checking account. Most lenders will offer a small discount for students who sign up for auto-debit and electronic billing.

The Best Student Friendly Banks

Bank of America

The Bank of America student account comes with no monthly or overdraft fees for anyone under the age of 25. Student account holders also have access to their award-winning online banking platform.

Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third offers no minimum deposit as well as no minimum balance for student account holders. Additionally, there are no monthly service fees.

JP Morgan Chase

The Chase Student Checking Account allows holders to waive monthly maintenance fees for up to five years while they’re in college. They also Overdraft Assist, which is defined as, “Chase Overdraft AssistSM - no overdraft fee if you're overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day or if you're overdrawn by more than $50 and bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day.”

Key Bank

The Key Smart Checking Account is a great option for students. It comes with no monthly maintenance fees, and $10 is the minimum deposit required to open an account.

M&T Bank

The M&T student checking account comes with no monthly maintenance fees, no monthly minimum transactions, and no minimum balance requirements.

PNC Bank

PNC offers students time to cover their overdraft expenses. Their student checking Low Cash Mode gives students extra time, at least 24 hours, to bring your account balance to at least zero before charging overdraft fees. Additionally, account holders will pay no monthly maintenance fees. They will also be reimbursed $5 each statement period for ATM fees acquired from using other bank ATMs outside of the PNC network.

TD Bank

TD Bank student accounts come with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. They can also earn $100 if they make at least 15 transactions within the first 60 days of opening their account.


Truist student bank accounts requires no minimum deposit. Account holders do not have to pay monthly maintenance fees, and overdraft transactions for less than $5 are waived.

US Bank

At the end of the business day, if student bank account holders have over withdrawn their account by less than $50, they will not be charged an overdraft fee. If the amount is over $50, they will have extra time to cover their account and potentially waive overdraft fees.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo student bank accounts require a minimum deposit of $25 to open an account. Account holders can take advantage of their Extra Day Grace Period, which allows for a 24-hour grace period to make deposits in order to avoid overdraft fees.

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