Choosing the right checking account is essential for college students who want to effectively manage their finances during their educational journey. With the vast array of options available, finding the best student checking accounts can be a daunting task. In this article, we will highlight the 9 Best Student Checking Accounts of March 2023 that offer a blend of low fees, convenient access, and valuable features tailored to the needs of college students.
When selecting a student checking account, it’s important to evaluate factors such as account fees, minimum balance requirements, ATM access, mobile banking, and special perks tailored to students. Some of the top checking accounts include options from Money Crashers and The College Investor that ensure minimal costs and maximum convenience. By considering these factors, college students can make an informed decision and choose the right checking account for their financial needs.
1. Account Overview
The 9 Best Student Checking Accounts of March 2023 offer a variety of features and benefits to make banking more convenient and efficient for college students. In this section, we will provide an overview of the top student checking accounts available.
Bank of America Advantage Banking offers three account settings: Advantage SafeBalance, Advantage Plus, and Advantage Relationship. This flexibility allows students to customize their account to best suit their needs and financial goals.
Chase Bank College Checking Account is a popular option due to its $0 minimum deposit and no monthly fees for enrolled college students. This account does not earn interest, but it provides accessibility and affordability to students who may not have a large initial deposit available.
Current offers a free student checking account designed specifically for the needs of college students. With a focus on modern features and technology, this account ensures students have access to the financial tools they need to succeed.
Chime Free Checking is another viable option, providing various benefits such as automatic savings features and no hidden fees. The Chime Checking account is designed to help students manage their finances effectively without adding extra costs.
U.S. Bank Smartly™ Checking is geared towards students seeking a straightforward and user-friendly account. This checking account offers essential banking services without the unnecessary fees commonly associated with traditional banks.
Axos Essentials Checking is designed for students looking for a high-yield checking account with minimal fees. This account offers several advantages, including no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, and unlimited ATM fee reimbursements for domestic transactions.
Capital One Money Teen Checking Account is tailored for younger students and focuses on financial education and responsible banking habits. This account offers unique features such as financial tracking tools and parental controls for added security and guidance.
Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking provides a competitive interest rate, making it an attractive option for students looking to grow their funds while attending college. With no monthly fees and ATM fee reimbursements, this checking account offers great value for students.
Axos Bank First Checking is geared towards High school students and offers ATM rebates, making it a convenient option for those who frequently use ATMs. Additionally, this account has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, making it an accessible option for students starting their banking journey.
2. Account Opening Process
The account opening process for student checking accounts may vary slightly between banks, but generally, it involves a few simple steps.
First, you’ll need to gather your required documentation. This usually includes your social security number, school enrollment confirmation, or student ID, a valid government-issued photo ID, and proof of address.
Next, you can follow these common steps:
- Visit the bank’s website. Locate the appropriate student checking account product page, and click on the “apply now” or similar button.
- Fill out the online application. Provide your personal information, including school enrollment details, social security number, and contact information.
- Choose additional features. Some accounts offer optional services like debit cards, mobile banking, or text alerts. Select the features you’re interested in.
- Review and submit. Double-check your application for accuracy, then submit it for approval.
- Fund the account. After your account is approved, follow the bank’s instructions to deposit an initial amount.
Some banks allow you to open an account completely online, while others may require you to visit a local branch to complete the process. Keep in mind that each bank’s requirements and features may vary. It’s beneficial to compare the 9 Best Student Checking Accounts of March 2023 and review their respective account opening processes.
3. Account Features and Benefits
When comparing the best student checking accounts, it’s essential to consider the various features and benefits they offer. The following characteristics are worth considering when selecting a student checking account:
- Fee Structure: Look for accounts with no monthly fees, minimal transaction fees, and no minimum balance requirements. For example, the Bank of America Advantage Banking offers three different settings with varying fee structures to accommodate students’ needs.
- ATM Access: Choose an account with widespread ATM access or one that offers ATM fee reimbursements. The Chase Bank College Checking Account is a good example, providing access to thousands of fee-free ATMs nationwide.
- Online and Mobile Banking: Make sure the account offers user-friendly online and mobile banking features, such as mobile check deposit and bill pay. The Current app stands out for its intuitive interface and range of digital tools.
In addition to these fundamental features, some student checking accounts also provide exclusive benefits:
- Cashback Rewards: Some accounts, like the Discover Cashback Debit Account, offer cashback incentives for specific transactions, allowing students to earn money while making everyday purchases.
- Savings Account Integration: Opt for an account that can be easily linked to a savings account, encouraging students to start saving early. Capital One Money Teen Checking Account is an example of an account that seamlessly connects with a corresponding savings account.
- Parental Controls: For younger students or those needing financial guidance, accounts with parental control features can be beneficial. The Capital One MONEY Account allows parents to monitor transactions and set spending limits.
Taking these features and benefits into consideration while comparing student checking accounts ensures that students find an account most suited to their needs and preferences.
4. Mobile Banking
Mobile banking has become increasingly important for college students, as it offers convenience and accessibility. A student checking account with a strong mobile banking platform can have a significant impact on managing finances effectively.
One bank that offers comprehensive mobile banking features for students is Chase Bank’s College Checking Account. This account provides users with a user-friendly mobile app, allowing students to check balances, pay bills, transfer funds, and deposit checks remotely.
Another notable option for mobile banking is the Capital One MONEY Teen Checking account. This account comes with a mobile app that caters specifically to students, focusing on financial education and offering parental controls for joint account holders.
The Discover Cashback Debit Checking account is also worth mentioning due to its robust mobile app. Not only can students manage their accounts, but they can also take advantage of cashback rewards on eligible purchases made with the account’s debit card.
When choosing a student checking account, it is essential to consider the available mobile banking features. Having access to a reliable and user-friendly app can make a difference in managing finances during college years.
5. ATM Access and Fees
ATM access is a crucial aspect for students as they might need cash at any time during their college life. Many student checking accounts provide access to a wide network of ATMs, and some even offer reimbursement for ATM fees.
Forbes Advisor recommends several student checking accounts that offer great ATM access and low fees. Here are some of the best student checking accounts in terms of ATM access and fees:
- Chase College Checking℠: Offers access to over 16,000 Chase ATMs without any additional fees.
- U.S. Bank Smartly™ Checking: Provides access to over 4,700 U.S. Bank ATMs with zero surcharge fees.
- Chime Free Checking: Offers fee-free ATM access at over 60,000 ATMs, and cash back at selected retailers.
- Capital One MONEY Account: Grants access to more than 70,000 fee-free AllPoint and Capital One ATMs.
Some of these banks offer to reimburse fees charged by other network ATMs. It’s essential to review each account’s specific terms and conditions to determine their ATM fee reimbursement policy.
Having access to a vast network of ATMs with minimal fees is an essential factor for students while choosing a checking account. These recommended options provide a good mix of ATM access, reduced fees, and additional benefits to make student banking more convenient and cost-effective.
6. Overdraft Options and Fees
Overdraft options and fees are crucial factors to consider when choosing a student checking account. Banks have varying policies on how they handle overdrafts, and it is essential for students to find accounts with low or no fees.
Some banks offer overdraft protection, which typically involves linking a savings account to the checking account. In the case of an overdraft, the bank automatically transfers funds from the savings account to cover the deficit. For example, CreditDonkey mentions that certain student checking accounts provide this service with no fee for an overdraft protection transfer.
Other banks may have more lenient policies regarding overdrafts for student accounts. They may waive the fees or offer reduced fees compared to other account holders. According to Forbes, student checking account options with low fees are highly recommended.
It is also essential to look for accounts that offer features like online bill pay and mobile check deposits. These features can help students avoid overdrafts by facilitating easier account management and tracking of transactions.
Here are some key aspects to consider regarding overdraft options and fees:
- Availability of overdraft protection
- Fees associated with overdraft protection transfers
- Reduced or waived overdraft fees for student accounts
- Account management features to help avoid overdrafts
Understanding the overdraft options and fees associated with a student checking account can help students maintain better financial control and minimize the risk of costly fees during their academic journey.
7. Monthly Service Fees
Monthly service fees are a crucial factor when selecting the best student checking account because they can impact your overall balance and budget plan. Many banks offer fee waivers for students, ensuring a cost-effective banking experience.
For example, the Chase College Checking account waives monthly maintenance fees, typically $6 per month, for students between 17 and 24 years of age, making it an attractive option for college students. Similarly, Chase Bank College Checking Account doesn’t charge a monthly fee while students are enrolled in college.
An account with no monthly service fee can be found at USA Today. This account provides access to more than 80,000 ATMs that are fee-free, along with $20 per month in ATM fee reimbursements.
It is essential to ensure that the chosen student checking account offers minimal or no monthly service fees while covering essential banking needs such as access to a broad network of fee-free ATMs, mobile banking options, and low, if any, overdraft fees.
8. Customer Support
Quality customer support is essential when managing your finances, especially for students who might need additional guidance. Banks should offer reliable, prompt, and professional assistance to address students’ concerns and inquiries.
Many banks offer a range of customer support channels to help meet students’ needs. For example, some provide:
- Chase College Checking has 24/7 telephone support, secure messaging within the mobile app, and in-person assistance at local branches.
- U.S. Bank Smartly™ Checking provides extensive online resources, telephone support, and in-branch assistance.
- Capital One Money Teen Checking Account offers customer service via phone, email, live chat, and social media platforms.
Additionally, some banks may offer specialized support for students to help with account-related inquiries and financial education. Access to a dedicated team can ensure that students receive tailored guidance for their unique banking needs.
When choosing the best student checking account, consider the quality and availability of customer support options. A well-supported experience can make all the difference in managing finances during college years and beyond.
9. Summary and Conclusion
In this article, we have discussed the top student checking accounts available in March 2023. Our selections were based on crucial factors such as low fees, minimal balance requirements, accessibility, and quality customer service. These accounts cater to the unique financial needs of college students looking for stability and convenience when managing their funds.
Among the best student checking accounts highlighted are:
- Capital One Money Teen Checking Account
- Chime® Checking Account
- Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking
- Chase Bank College Checking Account
- U.S. Bank Smartly™ Checking Account
- Axos Essentials Checking
- HSBC Student Checking
- TD Bank
As you consider the options provided, keep in mind that personal preferences and financial habits play an essential role in selecting a suitable checking account. Take time to thoroughly compare and research each account to find the one that best fits your needs.