During your time in school, a student checking account (an account designed specifically for students and their money needs) may come in handy. But what’s a student checking account? Below outlines some of the features and tools of a student checking account, what to look for when choosing an account, and how this type of account may differ from a traditional bank account.
Features and benefits of student checking accounts
A student checking account is an account designed for you while you’re in college that helps give you control of your money. When it comes to confidently managing your money, having the right tools and features are key. As your first solo account, student checking accounts might help in several ways:
- Lower or waived fees — Some banks and credit unions may reduce or waive fees, like a monthly service fee (fee assessed for doing business with the bank if certain criteria are not met) while you’re enrolled in college. This may vary by institution.
- Reduced minimum balance requirements — You may avoid being charged a fee for not having a certain amount of money in your account.
- Online banking — Interact with your money like checking your account balance, transferring money, depositing checks online, and using peer-to-peer (P2P) payment systems. Online and mobile banking allows you to stay in the know of what’s happening with your money.
- Can you overdraft a student checking account — As with a traditional checking account, overdrawing a student checking account may result in fees. If you’re worried about potentially overdrawing your account, you might want to consider asking your specific bank if they provide overdraft protection services for student accounts.
How to choose the right student checking account
Picking your student checking account involves looking at your current money situation, habits and goals. By evaluating the pros and cons of student bank accounts, as well as comparing them to traditional checking accounts, you can make an informed decision about which one is best for you. Let’s look at several factors to help narrow down your options.
- Spending habits — If you typically use your debit card for everyday purchases or withdrawals perhaps consider accounts that offer cards with lower transaction costs. Additionally, you may want to consider the ATM access provided by your bank to help ensure access to cash when you need it.
- Budgeting skills — The way you manage your money may also influence your choice of a student checking account. Some offer digital budgeting tools and features to help track expenses, set spending limits and monitor your progress towards specific goals.
- Student checking vs. traditional checking accounts — Student checking accounts typically come with features designed to cater to students and they may have certain restrictions or limitations, such as age or enrollment requirements.
- Additional features — Every account offers different features and benefits as well as terms and conditions. These factors as well as educational resources, customer support, perks or sign up bonuses may help you get the most out of your choice.
How to open a student checking account
What do you need to open a student checking account? The process for opening a student checking account is typically like opening a traditional checking account, with a few key differences.
- Proof of student status — To open a student checking account, you may need to provide proof of your student status in addition to the standard identification documents (PDF). This could include a school ID, enrollment verification or class schedule.
- Age and enrollment requirements — Student checking accounts may have specific age and enrollment requirements, and a minimum deposit. Banks often base account holders’ eligibility on a certain age range or enrollment in an accredited educational institution.
- Where can I open a student bank account — If you have a social security number and are 18 years of age or older you may be able to open your student bank account online. If you are under the age of 17 or are an international student studying in the U.S., you may have to open in a branch.
What is a student checking account? In simple terms, a student checking account is a checking account with additional features designed to cater to the needs and money goals of students. These accounts may have additional tools and different requirements that may be beneficial as you learn to stay on top of your money independently.