Having a student bank account is important for undergraduates to enjoy their time at college, while not falling into the deep end of debt and student loans. Saving every penny can lead to a life of paying lower interest rates and staying in the black. However, it can be difficult to find the right bank account to meet a student's needs.
A few important things to keep in mind when deciding where to keep your account are:
- find a bank with the largest student overdraft. Going over the limit can lead to excess fees being paid, but finding a bank that provides 0% interest on overdraft means a student only pays back what he took out.
- find out one's credit rating. This will let a student know if a bank is willing to extend the amount of his overdraft.
- look for student account freebies that will help in the long run towards the maintenance of the bank account.
Here are a few of major banks that provide student bank accounts that are both affordable and accessible.
BANK OF AMERICA
Bank of America provides an eBanking account, making it easy for an undergraduate to see his balances and how much he is spending each month. Students can also save $8.95 if they choose paperless statements and do not conduct any bank transactions with a teller. Undergraduates do not have a minimum balance to maintain for these accounts, but they can face an overdraft fee of thirty-five dollars. Traditional savings accounts have an initial startup deposit of twenty-five dollars.
Bank of America also provides a Student Financial Handbook and a Borrowing Planner, that are designed to help students budget their spending and compare the top student loans to see which one is right for them.
Although Wells Fargo provides an online banking service, any and all transactions are free. Checking and savings accounts can be linked together in its College Combo service, which can be opened with as little as $125. Monthly charges are waived if a balance of $500 is maintained, but if not, there's a monthly fee of three dollars. Overdraft charges are thirty-five dollars, but overdraft protection is provided.
Chase provides a Chase College Checking Account, which can be opened with as little as twenty-five dollars, and the six dollar monthly fee is waived for up to five years as long as the student is still enrolled in school. Chase also provides mobile apps, making it easier for students to check their finances if they're not near their computers or a bank branch.
Online banking, bill paying and obtaining a debit card are free with Chase, and the minimum balance to open an account is twenty-five dollars. There is also a monthly fee of six dollars, but this can be waived if:
- the student is enrolled in college for up to five years
- there is monthly direct deposit
- $5,000 monthly average daily balance in the account
The overdraft fee at Chase is only fifteen dollars, much lower than other popular banks.
LAS COLINAS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
Credit unions are becoming more and more popular, and have become more competitive with the larger, more popular banks. One such credit union is Las Colinas Federal Credit Union, which helps students transition into traditional checking accounts. Accounts are open to anyone who makes a $5 donation to the Star Savers Education Foundation, and ATM transactions are surcharge-free. A ten-dollar monthly fee is charged to maintain the account, but it can be waived if there have been six consecutive months of successful account management. This can be beneficial to students who are eager to budget their finances as well as save money.
Finding a bank that is right for a student's needs isn't difficult, with a bit of research and shopping around. There are a number of banks that are interested in helping students save money, create budgets, and prepare them for life after college when they're left to manage their own finances.