When your child is about to head to college, one thing you may be looking into is student bank accounts. While some people just use a regular account, there are many different accounts that have accounts that are specifically designed to be great for college student financial activity.

College students have three primary needs for their bank. Those needs include low to no banking fees, the ability to make many transactions, and the ability to easily access their money. Students have different spending habits than adults who have more financial responsibility. There are several different bank accounts that are available specifically for students and can meet their needs. Here’s a look at five things to keep in mind when picking the right bank, and a list of ten of the top banks.

Five Tips for Finding the Perfect Bank

Finding the best student bank accounts may take a little bit of work but here are five essential things to consider and compare to find the best bank for you or your college student.

  1. Location Availability

Many banks, even well-known ones, are not available nationwide. One issue that many students run into is when they want to stick with the bank their parents had, but that bank is not available at their college or university. It is a hassle to have a bank that is not local.

  1. Service Fees

It is essential to find a bank that does not charge monthly maintenance fees or ATM fees. College students tend to spend smaller amounts of money many times, compared to older adults who typically spend their money less frequently, but in more significant quantities. There are several student banking options that do not charge fees just because someone has an account there.

  1. Specifically for Students

Because of the differing spending habits, finding a bank that offers a student account may be a good idea. It is necessary to understand the details of the bank accounts though because sometimes student checking accounts are not the best for students.

  1. Possibly Prepaid

If you are looking for a bank account that is easy to access and has no fees, prepaid debit cards are sometimes a great option. There are a few prepaid cards that are good and work great for college students.

  1. College Banking

There are many colleges that have banks right on their campus. For convenience purposes, college banks are great; however, they are not always the best option, and it is good to do some research before signing up a college bank just for the convenience.

There are many different banks that have accounts that are designated for college students, here are the five of the top choices.

Five Best Banks for College Students

Finding the best banks for students can be a challenge but here are ten of the top banks with accounts specifically for college students.

  1. Chase Student Checking

Chase bank student accounts are one of the top choices because of their benefits for college students. Once you open the account, you can keep it open for up to five years, and as long as you meet their criteria, the 6-dollar monthly checking fee is waived. If you are enrolled in college or have monthly direct deposits, or if you keep a daily balance of five-thousand dollars, you are not charged any monthly checking fees.

Chase has a student center that shows several different attractive benefits for college students. Here are some of them:

  • New Chase customers who have qualifying activities will get 50 dollars for opening a new Chase College Checking account.
  • Chase Quickpay allows students to send and receive money quickly and easily from anyone who has a phone number or an e-mail address.
  • The Chase Liquid Card is a prepaid debit card that is reloadable and is safer than cash. For students who don’t want to risk overdraft fees, or don’t like the bank account options available to them, Chase’s prepaid debit card is a great option.
  1. Bank of America Core Checking Account

Any students who are under the age of 24 can open a Core Checking account at Bank of America. This account is useful for people who are in high school or college. The 12-dollar monthly fee is waived for anyone who is under the age of 24 and enrolled in college, has a monthly direct deposit of at least 250 dollars, or who maintains a 1,500-dollar average daily balance.

The Core Checking account is one of the top student banking options because of its great features, including:

  • No monthly maintenance fee if the student is enrolled in college.
  • With online, mobile, and text banking options, it is convenient for students to be able to track purchases, pay bills, transfer money, and more.
  • Bank of America branches and ATM’s are located in many cities around the United States.
  • The Core Checking account has overdraft protection to help avoid declined debit card fees.
  • Students can have extra security with chip technology and a zero-dollar liability guarantee for lost or stolen debit cards.
  1. U.S. Bank Student Checking

The U.S. Bank student checking account is impressive. Not only is it safe and convenient, but it is also tailored to students in several ways, making it an excellent option for most college students. If the student checking account doesn’t work, there are many other U.S. Bank options available as well. Here are some of the top benefits of the student checking account at U.S. Bank:

  • The Student Checking account has no monthly maintenance fee unless you want to receive paper statements, which cost two dollars a month.
  • There is no minimum balance required.
  • Bank ATM transactions are unlimited, and there are no fees if you withdraw money from ATM’s that are part of the MoneyPass network.
  • There are no U.S. Bank fees for the first four non-U.S. Bank ATM transactions every month.
  • Free online banking with credit score access.
  • The first box of checks you order is free.
  • U.S. Bank has a user-friendly and efficient mobile app that allows you to do almost everything online, from your smartphone or laptop.
  1. PNC Virtual Wallet Student

PNC offers a Virtual Wallet Student account that is easy and convenient for college students. The account can stay open for six years after enrollment and monthly fees are waived if you are enrolled in college, have at least 500 dollars in direct deposits, or maintain at least a 500-dollar average daily balance. Here are some of the other great features of the Virtual Wallet Student account:

  • Free access to over 9,000 PNC bank ATM’s.
  • The monthly service charge is waived for up to six years.
  • Free online and mobile banking makes it easy to manage your money.
  • Student-friendly tools to help you track your money.
  1. TD Bank Student Checking Account

Another excellent student banking option is TD Bank’s student checking account. On its website, TD Bank advertises as “America’s most convenient bank,” and its many services live up to the claim. There are many different locations around the United States, and the website provides detailed information about all of the various features and benefits available for students. The bank offers simplified and convenient banking options, making it a valid choice for college students. Here are some of the features:

  • There is no monthly maintenance fee, and no minimum balance required.
  • When you open the account, there is no minimum initial deposit.
  • Overdraft protection is available, and there are no overdraft transfer fees.
  • Many TD banks offer extended hours and are open seven days a week.
  • Online statements are free and so is mobile banking.

Final Thoughts

When your child has grown up and is about to head off to college, the to-do list of tasks to get accomplished before they leave is very long. With so many things to do, finding bank accounts may feel stressful. Finding the right bank and bank account is a detailed and complex process for most people, no matter what age they are.

Several banks in the United States have tried to make finding the right bank easy for college students by offering specific accounts that can meet the unique financial needs of college students. For students who are already established at a bank, there may be a student account you will want to switch to while you are in college so that you can take advantage of the benefits.

If you don’t have a student account and you want one, it is necessary to do research. If you have chosen the college or university you wish to attend, check out the different banks in your college town, and then research each one to see if there are student accounts.

When you are searching for the right student account, remember to look for features like no monthly maintenance fees, unlimited transactions, free ATM withdraws, online and mobile banking, and low or no minimum balances.

Finding the right bank can take a little bit of work, but the effort is worth it if you are able to find a student checking account that works for your needs.

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