Best bank for college students

Svetlana November 11 2021

Students need savings to deal with the daily expenses of college life. From college tuition to transportation to paying for private accommodation, students need money. To save up that money and take better care of it, you might want to look into the best bank for college students. 

So, here we'll share information about the six best banks for college students. But firstly, let`s talk about...

Types of bank accounts for college students

Student checking accounts:

These accounts are for students with a minimum of $25 to open an account. These accounts do not have any monthly fees and you can get a free ATM card to use at your school`s special ATMs or anywhere in the world.

But remember: be careful! This is a checking account, so if you overdraw your checking account, you will incur hefty bank fees. Also, look into how much it would cost to cash checks from this type of account compared to other types of bank accounts. 

Student savings accounts:

Savings accounts for college students offer higher interest rates than regular savings accounts because they are made for people that need more money in savings for specific purposes. For instance, a college student may want to put money aside for a family vacation or a car.

To compare rates and fees, check online. Some banks allow you to do this without having an account with them, while others don't allow you to do this until after you have opened your account. 

Student money market accounts:

These are checking/savings accounts that have special features for college students. These features include no fees on transactions over a certain amount every month, free ATM access at your school, and participating in sweepstakes during the year.

In addition, some of these accounts pay higher interest rates than regular student savings accounts, but they may charge fees if you withdraw from an ATM more than once per month or write too many checks.  

Eligibility criteria to open accounts in a bank for college students

Students can start their journey of building financial security almost from their graduation day. At that time, they must get ready to take care of certain tasks such as applying for a job, maintaining residency, and organizing finances. Students who have just graduated should begin looking into the best college savings account because it is one of the best bank accounts for students.

The very first step in this process is choosing the right type of account which you will use to store money before establishing your credit score and making big purchase decisions like buying a home or car etc.

Before you begin looking for a college savings accounts, the first thing you need to do is find out about your eligibility criteria and whether or not you can open a bank account.

There are lots of deposit accounts such as checking and savings accounts which offer high-interest rates than the traditional accounts. However, federal student aid is not allowed in most of these types of accounts.

For instance, if you want saving benefits then choose an investment account that offers compound interest instead of simply linking it with your checking or savings account because most banks prohibit monthly transaction fees and long-term deposits on these two types of accounts.

When it comes to security and convenience features like protecting cards from fraud use etc., students eligible for online banking services should go for financial institutions offering this feature.

If you want to open a bank account for college students, you should check their eligibility criteria and compare the different kinds of accounts they offer. For instance, you can ask yourself if you want a checking account with a debit card or an investment account which allows automatic transfer from your main bank.

If you choose the second option then find out about how easy it is to move money in and out of this type of account.

What students should consider when choosing a bank for a college account?

Students who are starting their first job should consider the following things before choosing a bank to open their checking account.

  • Low fees on ATM withdrawals
  • Low-interest rates on the savings account
  • High-interest rates on money market accounts and CDs
  • No monthly service fees
  • Minimum/no minimum balance requirement. If you are just starting your career then it's unlikely that you will have thousands of dollars in your account at one time.   

Best banks for college students

Chase Bank 

If you are a college student, then Chase Bank is the one for you. You will get the privilege to open a College Checking account with many benefits. Students ranging from 17 to 24 can find this bank an ideal option for them. You can get free online and mobile banking services.

Also, you will get access to over 5,000 Chase ATMs and 5,100 branches to withdraw cash from across the nation.

You can benefit from special discounts and an extended return policy on all bookshops and consumer electronic stores available in Chase's retail network. This bank also offers you many benefits when it comes to safety measures by providing 24/7 monitoring of your account through text alerts for any possible issues that may arise in your checking account.

With this bank, you get several benefits like: 

  • You don't have to pay a monthly fee
  • No need to fill minimum balance requirements 
  • You can access Zelle to send money instantly 
  • Get a debit card that you can use at more than 4,700 Chase Bank branches and 16,000 plus ATMs. 
  • You'll get overdraft protection 
  • The online banking app linked with your account will provide several online services. 

Bank of America

Bank of America is a reputable bank in the U.S. It provides students with two Checking accounts and a Savings account. There are two types of checking accounts for students in the Bank of America. One is Advantage SafeBalance, while the other is Advantage Plus.

Both types of checking accounts offer many benefits like no monthly service fees and free online and mobile banking.

With no overdraft fees, students can easily access cash through their debit card at ATM locations. Most of these locations are either Bank of America owned or partner ones.

The Bank of America Advantage Plus account comes with an overdraft line of credit feature, which you can use to pay for any bills that may arise whenever you face a short cash crunch. You can make transfers between accounts using a bank of America's free online banking system.  

What do you get? Look below: 

  • Advantage Plus checking account provides overdraft protection 
  • You'll get check-writing privileges from an Advantage Plus account 
  • Both Advantage Plus and Advantage Safebalance provide a waiver of fees. 
  • The savings account provides a waiver of an 8$ maintenance fee if you retain an amount of 500$ in the account.   

TD Bank 

Belonging to the Canadian TD Bank Group, you'll find this bank's branches more on the U.S. East Coast side. The students will get three options. Number one is TD Convenience Checking, TD Simple Savings, and TD Student checking account.

But if you want to avail of an overdraft, then you need to fulfill certain conditions. Some of the features that students can enjoy with TD Bank:   

  • You'll receive direct deposit and online banking services (free of charge) for three months  
  • Enroll in paperless statements from your bank account 
  • Create customized text or email alerts regarding any fund transfers via Zelle or ATM withdrawals from your checking account.  

TD Bank is the best bank for college students as the checking account and the savings account require no minimum balance. Also, the checking account doesn't need you to pay monthly fees and provides overdraft protection. Also, you'll get contactless debit cards. 

Students do not need to pay a monthly fee for the savings account. 

PNC Bank 

PNC Bank is another well-known bank across the U.S. This bank provides you with a Virtual Wallet Student account. This account provides a three-in-one solution. You'll get:

  • A primary checking account for spending 
  • Short-term savings account for having reserves 
  • Long-time savings account for promoting growth 
  • Overdraft protection system 
  • Quick money transfer through Zelle 
  • Provides Low Cash Mode through which you get various benefits  

There's no need to pay a deposit or open this account with the PNC Bank branch. This account doesn't have any overdraft fees and ATM fees. You can receive paperless statements through email or text messages if you activate mobile authentication via your bank profile.

This is the best bank for college students who are looking to manage their money well without making many efforts. Here are some more reasons why PNC Bank is an individual's first choice - no monthly maintenance or low fee on the virtual wallet student account; If you keep an amount of 10,000$ in the primary checking account, you'll get a waiver on all ATM and overdraft fees. 

U.S. Bank

The U.S. Bank branch belongs to the fifth-largest commercial bank in America i.e. the U.S. Bancorp. This bank offers banking solutions for students belonging to all levels. You can open a savings account by depositing a minimum fee of $25. Their checking account doesn’t require you to pay any maintenance fee. However, if you choose to use a customized debit or ATM card, then you might need to pay a monthly fee of $9.99. 

You also get other benefits like: 

  • Overdraft protection for free
  • Campus banking program 
  • Reliable fee structure  
  • Checking account provides free nationwide ATM access, unlimited free deposits at ATMs, and unlimited bill-paying online 

Mobile banking is available to students using their mobile devices. The software method that they use is the Zoomerang Mobile App, which is pretty simple to operate with basic options.  

On top of everything else, U.S. Bank has a strong reputation for providing you with various student banking programs.

Ally Bank

Ally Bank is an online bank without any brick-and-motor branches. Students can access checking and savings account without paying any maintenance fee. Both accounts offer: 

  • No minimum opening deposit 
  • Transferring money through Zelle 
  • Deposit checks through your mobile phone 

This is a completely online bank with a good reputation for offering quality services to customers. The savings account you open with this bank has zero maintenance fees and never charges overdraft fees. 

They offer 24/7 customer support through their toll-free number or email address. You can use mobile banking services as well. This bank provides your checking account within two days of applying. However, it takes one week to send the card via mail to you after applying for an ATM card through them.  

If you have any confusion about anything else, then you can rely on their Mobile Banking app that helps in managing all your basic transactions from anywhere around the world - just bring up your smartphone and check your balance, deposits, and transfers, etc. at your fingertips.

Conclusion

If you're a college student and looking for a bank that offers simple yet amazing services, then PNC Bank is the best choice. They'll provide you with all kinds of banking services even if you don't have an account with them because they offer free cash withdrawals and deposits anywhere.

If mobile banking is what interests you, then Ally Bank is your next option as they're completely online - from opening an account to withdrawing cash from any corner of this world! U.S. Bank also provides great customer support as well as other services mentioned above.

All these banks are the best for students to open their checking and savings accounts.