Finding the right checking account for your college-age child presents a unique opportunity. While many parents and students think this may be a simple process, there are numerous factors you should consider – including fees charged on the account, whether the account offers easy access to the student’s funds and whether the account has a well-developed mobile application. The following 10 accounts, listed in no order, are some of Banks.com’s favorite checking accounts for college students.
Top 10 Best Checking Accounts for College Students
Chase College CheckingSM
Chase bank, a division of Morgan Stanley is a well-respected bank offering a college student checking account. There are numerous benefits to this account including no minimum balance requirements, low opening balance requirement, and features both online and mobile access. Students who deposit $5,000 or more per month through direct deposit can also use this account without any associated fees.
Bank of America Advantage Banking
Another big-name bank offering college student checking accounts is Bank of America. College students up to the age of 24 can get this non-interest account with no fees. You can link your savings account and use their Keep the Change® feature where payments made using your ATM card will automatically round up to the nearest dollar and put the excess in your savings account. This can be an excellent tool to teach your college-age child about the value of saving money. And as an added bonus – overdrafts can be paid from a linked savings account as well.
US Bank Student Checking
Another one of the best checking accounts for college students is offered by US Bank. They not only offer overdraft protection through a linked savings account, but you can also set up additional accounts to use as overdraft protection. The college student accounts do not pay interest, but they have other important features including no monthly fees for students, numerous free ATM transactions and full access to your account via your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Ally Bank: Interest Checking Account
We at Banks.com love Ally Bank. For those who would like to earn interest on their checking accounts, they’re one of the best. Their accounts pay 0.10% APY on balances of less than $15,000. You can easily open an accounts online, and they provide mobile and online access. And because they’re an online-only bank, they accept mobile deposits, offer plenty of access to ATMs including reimbursing for some ATM fees, and their overdraft fees are lower than many other banks.
Capital One 360 Checking
Another option that would appeal to those who are looking for a no minimum balance requirement while still earning interest is Capital One. These accounts pay 0.20% APY for a daily minimum balance of less than $50,000 and offer several different options to deal with overdrafts. Free ATM transactions are available as well as a robust mobile application for depositing checks and full web access to your checking and savings accounts. There are steep fees for overdrafts associated with these accounts so make sure you review the overdraft options and monitor your spending.
USAA: College Checking
College students who have a family member who is in the military and qualify for these accounts will find they are one of the best checking accounts for students. If you qualify, you can open an account with only $25, you will earn a modest interest rate on your deposits, and you can bank from your smartphone. In addition, USAA offers limited reimbursement on ATM fees when you cannot locate one of their ATMs and there is no monthly service charge. When you combine the features they offer, anyone who qualifies should consider opening one of their accounts.
BBVA Compass: Simple Checking
Just as the name suggests, this is a no-frills account. One of the many considerations when opening a checking account for a college student is what monthly fees. BBVA offers no-fee checking, remote check deposit, and has no minimum balance requirements. They also pay a modest rate of interest on checking account balances. BBVA does not offer any type of overdraft protection, nor do they charge any fees should you write a check that causes your account to go negative, instead they simply decline the transaction.
Regions Bank LifeGreen Checking for Students
These accounts do not have a minimum balance requirement although they do require a student to deposit $50 to open the account. One of the best features of this bank is the use of the various services earns that earn points that can be redeemed for cash, travel, gift cards or other goodies. The fees associated with an overdraft are high and they do not offer reimbursement for other ATM fees. However, this is still lone of the best checking accounts for those who are good at managing their money, particularly for those who are interested in earning rewards.
KeyBank: Key Student Checking
While KeyBank does have a modest monthly fee, it is still one of the best checking accounts for college students. Additionally, the monthly fee is waived should the account be used at least five times per month, or by depositing $200 per month into the account. A student need only be 16 years old to open one of these accounts and there is no minimum balance – although you do need at least $50 to open the account. In addition to a wide network of ATMs, there are several brick-and-mortar locations and they offer full online access and a well-developed mobile application.
PNC Virtual Wallet® Student
Opening an online checking account with PNC is simple since it does not require a minimum deposit. Students who use this account can get a “free” overdraft during the first 12 months of opening the account, parental alerts can be set up, and students have access to online as well as mobile banking. In some instances, a student may want to set up associated accounts which may also be interest-bearing. PNC also offers an entire educational section which is geared towards financial literacy.
Anytime you are searching for the best checking accounts you should be aware of all of the fees, any account restrictions, and what, if any minimum balance requirements exist. Finding the right bank is easier than ever.
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