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What Is The Best Bank For College Students

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Summary Of Best Student Checking Accounts 2021

What is the Best Bank for College Students? | Best Bank for Young People?
Student Checking Account
  • Overdraft fee: 5%
  • Availability: 5%

Student checking account options offering low fees moved to the top of our list, as did accounts with broad ATM networks and strong customer and digital experience scores. While not all 10 accounts are student-specific, they offer features and fee structures that can benefit students.

Best For Rewards: Discover

  • Ages : 18+ years old
  • Monthly fees: None

Discover offers a fee-free checking account with a cash-back debit card along with no minimum balance requirements and no overdraft fees.

  • Cash-back debit card, earning 1% on purchases

  • Also offers no-fee rewards credit card for students

  • Huge selection of nationwide ATMs through Allpoint and MoneyPass

  • Does not reimburse ATM fees

Discover is an online bank that offers a fee-free checking account with a cash-back debit card, paying 1% interest on the first $3,000 in purchases each month. This can add up to $360 in rewards per year.

While Discover doesnt offer any physical branch services, all banking functions can be done online or through its easy-to-use mobile app. Mobile deposits, bill pay, and money transfers via Zelle are all available through the mobile app and website.

Discover doesnt have any of its own ATMs but partners with the Allpoint and MoneyPass ATM networks, giving users access to over 60,000 ATMs nationwide without any fees. Other ATMs may support withdrawals, but Discover does not reimburse fees.

Overdraft fees are non-existent, helping protect users from costly charges. There are also no minimum deposit or balance requirements, and Discover does not charge any monthly fees, making them a great low-cost bank account option.

Best Online Bank: Ally

  • Ages : 18+ years old
  • Monthly fees: None

Ally offers no-fee checking and savings accounts, including industry-leading interest rates and a suite of online money management tools built in.

  • No fees or minimum balance for accounts

  • User-friendly mobile app with budgeting features

  • High interest rates on savings accounts

  • ATM fee refunds

  • No physical locations

Ally is a completely online bank with no physical locations, but it comes with a suite of money management tools and no-fee accounts. Ally offers checking and savings accounts to students who are ages 18 and older, which include mobile deposits, bill pay, and unique money tools like its “savings buckets” feature.

Ally is great for students who want a completely digital banking experience, and its mobile app is very well designed, allowing users to deposit checks, transfer money , as well as create separate savings buckets for different goals.

Ally also partners with Allpoint for access to over 55,000 ATMs nationwide. If users use a non-Allpoint ATM, Ally will reimburse up to $10 per statement period as well.

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Why Trust Our Recommendations

At Personal Finance Insider, we strive to help smart people make the best decisions with their money. We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and fine print of over a dozen accounts so you don’t have to.

We understand that “best” is often subjective, however, so in addition to highlighting the clear benefits of an account no fees, for example we outline the limitations, too.

What To Look For In A Student Bank Account

4 Best Banks for College Students

A student bank account is a chequing or savings account designed for students who are enrolled in post-secondary college, university, or CEGEP.

A student chequing account comes with a debit card and simplifies how you conduct point-of-sale transactions, deposit cheques, and receive money.

Coupled with a student savings account, you can earn interest on funds you dont need right away.

Here are some of the things to look for in a student chequing bank account when you are ready to open one:

No monthly fee: $0. Nada. It should not require a monthly maintenance fee.

Free Transactions: The account should offer free withdrawals, transfers, bill payments, and pre-authorized debits. While free and unlimited transactions should be the goal, make sure the number of free transactions included meets your needs.

Free e-Transfers: Electronic transfers make the world go round and you want to ensure these are available for free. Again, unlimited Interac e-Transfers are the best.

ATM Access: Does the bank give you access to an ATM network that is free and convenient to access?

No-Fee Credit Card: Access to a no-fee credit card that offers rewards when you make purchases. Here is a list of the best student credit cards in Canada.

Low or No Minimum Balance Requirement: Some bank accounts waive the monthly service fee when you keep a minimum balance e.g. $3,000. While these offers may be tempting, the monthly fee applies if your balance dips below the minimum threshold even for one day.

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How To Open A Bank Account

Although it is possible to open a bank account over the phone or online, if you are an international student it might be easier to open your account in person in case there are any complications. When you go to the bank to open your account you will need:

  • Your full name, home address, home telephone number, your campus telephone number and your college address
  • Your passport
  • An I-20 or I-797 approval notice
  • Any secondary form of identification
  • A letter of acceptance from your university
  • An amount of money to deposit into the account

These requirements may be slightly different across banks, so make sure you check what your bank requires before heading over.

What Should Someone Look For In An Online Bank

Tania Brown, CFP:

“With an online bank, absolutely online customer service, because you do not have the advantage of walking inside and talking to a human being. How often are you able to get them? What are their hours?”

Roger Ma, CFP:

“How onerous the transfer process is, transferring money in and transferring money out. Is it same day, next day? Is it pretty easy to sync a brick-and-mortar checking account to this particular high-yield savings account?”

Mykail James, CFEI:

“When it comes to online banks, you want to be a little bit more strict about what type of interest rates they’re providing. That’s the biggest thing, because online banks are supposed to have the higher interest rate because they don’t have the overhead of the brick-and-mortar. You want to make sure that it’s well above the national average. What type of securities do they provide? Do they have two-factor identification? If it’s an online bank, they should definitely have at the bare minimum two-factor authentication in how easy it is to change your passwords and things like that, because you want to be a little more hypersensitive about the cyber security for a strictly online bank.”

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What Is A Student Credit Card

Student credit cards often feature low income requirements, no annual fees, and are geared to those who are applying for their first-ever credit card and looking to establish a credit history. While many student credit cards dont provide rewards, some of the best student credit cards in Canada do, offering students the ability to rack up savings in the form of cash back or points.

The Best Student Bank Accounts In Canada For 2020

Best Bank Accounts for College Students

The majority of Canadas financial market is dominated by six big banks, all of which offer accounts with special benefits for students.

Below, youll be able to find the best bank account with options catered for a students financial needs. In most cases, you can open a bank account online from the comfort of your own home.

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Best Bank For Online Banking: Pnc

PNC Bank offers a Virtual Wallet Student account that operates as savings and checking accounts, giving students the best of both worlds.

Even better? It has one of the best mobile apps available, which is ideal for busy students on the go. As an online bank, it is simply the best. The account does offer one free overdraft forgiveness, which is great for beginners but also assumes it only takes one offense to learn the lesson. The penalty is steep, though, after that.

PNC Virtual Wallet Student Account: Key Features

  • One free overdraft refund
  • No monthly fee
  • Primary checking combined with short-term planning and long-term savings account
  • Leading mobile app with new Low Cash Mode and all the typical features of online banks


  • Physical branches: In roughly half the country
  • Overdrafts: First instance forgiven
  • APY: 0.40% for funds in Growth


  • Overdraft fees: $36 after the first forgiven fee, with the potential for four in one day
  • ATM fees: Only $5 per month ATM surcharge reimbursement and only 18,000 in-network ATMs.

Fine Print

The overdraft forgiveness is what sets this account apart from the other Virtual Wallet accounts. However, its a one-time deal, and the other Virtual Wallet accounts get 4 times more ATM fee reimbursement. If ATM usage is important, just opt for the regular account.

What Are The Best Banks For Students

This really depends on your needs as a student. In our list of the best banks for students, weve given you our overall pick, but we also have specific winners for college students, high school students, savers, spenders and more. Think about what you want most out of your student bank account before deciding.

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Best For Young Students: Capital One

Through the bulk of this article, we have talked about student accounts for high schoolers and college students. But the Capital One MONEY Teen Checking is actually great for parents who want to start teaching their kids responsible money management early. You can open a Capital One MONEY Teen Checking for kids 8 and older. When they hit 18, they can roll the account over into a Capital One 360 Checking account, which is actually a great account to have as an adult.

Capital One MONEY Teen Checking Account: Key Features

  • For kids 8-18
  • Savings account: None specifically for students
  • College students: Not available must roll into new account

Fine Print

Parents do not need a Capital One account to open the Teen Checking account, though it would certainly be more convenient. There are also no foreign transaction fees, which makes the account convenient for study abroad opportunities.

Beware Of The Student Bank Account Freebies

10 Best Banks for College Students

There’s plenty on offer this year, but don’t be seduced by freebies! Offers including free products, travel discounts, cash rewards and other “exclusive” deals may sound tempting but you need to be smart.

A student bank account offering a freebie worth £20 is pitiful compared to a large interest-free overdraft for three years or more…

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What Students Should Look For In A Bank Account

Bank accounts specifically intended for students are characterized by several unique features that set them apart from regular accounts. Here are the main ones you should look for when opening a bank account:

Besides looking for the features discussed above, you should also adhere to certain best practices when choosing a bank for your student account. Make sure to shop around to get a good idea of what the market has to offer and inquire about fee structures before committing to a particular financial institution.

Let Collegefinancecom Help You With Financial Planning

Financial planning is one of the most important skills a person can learn, and there is no better time to start than when you are in college. is one of the top resources for students and their families looking to learn the basics of financial management and get an in-depth overview of the various financial topics relevant to them, such as student loans, saving for college and scholarships.

Disclaimer: The College Finance Company works hard to keep information listed on our site accurate and up to date. The information provided on may be different than what you encounter when you go to the website of a financial institution, bank, loan servicer or a specific product page on a different site. When evaluating any offers, please review the legal pages on the other partys site. Product name, logo, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to within are the property of their respective trademark holders. Information obtained via is for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed financial expert before committing to any financial decision.

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The Best Savings And Investing Accounts For Students

An excellent chequing account is essential, whether youre a student or not but using the right saving and investing account with your chequing account can help you stretch your dollar much further. In many cases, it can even earn you money.

Below are two great financial products that can give your new chequing account the extra oomph it needs to ensure your financial independence keeps growing, well beyond your days on campus.

Minimum balance: $0

Insurance: CDIC eligible

Why We Love EQ Banks Savings Account: The EQ Bank Hybrid Savings Plus Account works precisely like any chequing account on this list. There is one exception: the account does not include a debit card or cheques.

Nonetheless, EQ Banks high-interest savings account can help you earn some interest on your savings.

EQ Bank is a digital bank that offers high-interest savings account at a rate of 2.30% on deposits. It also allows you to make unlimited e-transfers and bill payments, as well as direct deposit and mobile cheque deposits. The best part? Its entirely free to use and requires no minimum balance.

That said, you can use this high-interest savings account with any of the free accounts listed above.

Capital One 360 Money Market Account

Best Banks For College Students in 2020

Ill start with the option our daughter will be using this fall as she goes off to college. Described as a teen checking account, the Capital One Money Market account is ideal for college students. Both of our children have used the Money account since Capital One 360 bought out ING Direct, and it has been an excellent tool to teach them financial responsibility.

Here are the Pros and Cons of the Money account for college students:


  • Allows parents and their children to manage the account together
  • Easy to transfer money to and from the account online
  • Free MasterCard® Debit Card for all purchases & text alerts when transactions are made.


  • Cannot deposit checks at a Capital One Bank or ATM.

The one negative listed above requires some explanation. Capital One bought out ING Direct to form Capital One 360. Capital One and Capital One 360, however, are technically two separate banks. I think the time will come when checks can be deposited at Capital One branches, but I know from personal experience that its not possible at the moment. The good news is that you can deposit checks with your smartphone, which is what we do. You can also set up direct deposit.

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Opening A Bank Account For Your Student

To open a student bank account, most banks allow users to sign up online. If you prefer an in-person experience, make sure the bank you want to open an account with has a local branch near you.

To open a student bank account, students will typically need to provide a photo ID such as a passport or drivers license and their Social Security number. For some student accounts, you may also need to present your school ID as proof of your enrollment as a student. For applicants under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian will need to register as a co-owner.

While some banks dont require a deposit, others have a minimum deposit amount to open the account. This may require connecting to another online bank account and transferring the funds into the student account. For in-person banking, this may be done by presenting cash or a check.

Once the account is opened, students can create an online username and password for access via the web or a mobile app. Students are encouraged to download the banks mobile app, as features like mobile deposit may only be available via the app. Debit cards will typically be mailed to the student, which will need to be activated once received.

One Newcomer To Canada Will Win A Life

For instance, as a student, finding an affordable financial option is key. However, as an international student, there are many factors to consider. For example, if youre still learning English or French, being able to access services in your native language can be a big help. Additionally, the ability to easily send money back home or process transactions in your home currency is another big concern for a lot of international students.

While every bank has their pros and cons, the following nine institutions are best-in-class when it comes to serving international students studying in Canada.

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Comparing Banks For Students

When comparing bank account, there are a few things student will want to consider before signing up:

  • Age requirements. While some banks allow students as young as eight years old to apply , others arent available until age 18. Knowing which banks offer accounts for your age group is important before applying.
  • Fees. While most student banks offer fee-free checking and savings accounts, this may not always be the case. Make sure to understand the fee structure before signing up for any bank account.
  • ATM access. Withdrawing cash without being charged a fee is important, so understanding which ATMs are available within your banks network can potentially save you a lot of money.
  • Parental controls. If you have a younger student who wants access to their own account, its important to know what type of parental controls are available.
  • Mobile app. Mobile banking is becoming more and more popular, and most high-quality student bank accounts offer a full-featured mobile app. Being able to deposit checks digitally, transfer money, and make payments should all be functions of the banks mobile app.

Overall, its important to think about how you plan on managing your money before selecting a student bank account. Make sure all of the features you require are available before signing up.

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