College is a chance to learn about living on your own, and that includes learning how to manage your finances. Opening a student checking account can give you easier access to the funds you need at school as well as a place to deposit paychecks. When you’re looking for the right college checking account to suit your needs, there are a few important factors to consider.
Determine which type of student checking account is best for you by asking:
- How do you plan to use your college checking account?
With online banking, it’s easier than ever to pay bills, make tuition or private student loan payments, and check your account balance just by logging in. When deciding which checking account is right for you, compare online banking services as well as offline products like checks and debit cards, which you may need to buy books or pay rent.
- Can you open the account on your own, or will you need a joint checking account with your parents?
Most banks will not allow you to open a student checking account on your own unless you are 18 years old. However, there are benefits to opening a joint account with your parents. Not only will a joint checking account allow you the benefit of a standard checking account, which you would not be able to attain without your parents, but it will also give them an easy way to help you out when finances get tight. Even if you have your own account, your parents can quickly and easily transfer money when you need it.
- Is there an ATM on campus? Which banks have branches nearby?
Most banks charge ATM fees if you don’t use their debit cards in their ATMs. Since you may need to access your student checking account regularly on campus, you might want to consider opening an account with the bank that has ATMs on campus. Going to a bank with a branch near your campus also means you can make deposits or withdrawals in person and have representatives on hand to help answer your questions. If your bank doesn’t have an ATM, you can still use your student checking account on campus. However, you may need to set up direct deposit for paychecks to ensure you have access to that money. You can make many purchases with debit cards, but you’ll need to plan ahead when you need cash. Most grocery stores offer cash back options, or you can make larger withdrawals from the campus ATM so you are charged a fee less often.
- What benefits are you looking for with a student checking account?
All student checking accounts come with a debit card, which you can use to withdraw funds from ATMs or make purchases at stores, gas stations and restaurants. However, many accounts also have benefits like mobile alerts; security or insurance for your smartphone if you use it for banking; money-saving discounts; direct deposit options for paychecks; a low opening balance requirement; and even the opportunity to waive account fees if you meet minimum transaction requirements. Decide which of these benefits are most important to you, and look for a bank that offers them.
Start a conversation with your parents about student checking accounts
As you’re considering what you want out of a college checking account, talk to your parents and local bank representative to learn more. Your parents can help you work out a budget and let you know how they may be able to contribute to your extra expenses. Then, a bank representative can fill you in on student checking account details and if they have any deals available with your college. Take advantage of this time to learn more about managing your finances while you have the support of your parents.
Sponsored content was created and provided by RBS Citizens Financial Group.