How do I Choose the Best Student Checking Account?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Many people open checking accounts to have an easy way of making purchases and paying bills without having cash on hand. With a checking account, a person can write checks to pay his telephone bill, buy groceries, or pay for entertainment; pay bills online; and make debit card purchases. Typically, a student checking account is intended for a college student, but high school students may use them as well. Choosing the best student checking account often means selecting a bank that offers a convenient location and automated teller machines (ATMs) that are near your residence or school. Additionally, student checking account fees and the perks a bank offers may be worth considering as well.

Many banks allow student checking account holders to access their funds with a debit card.
Many banks allow student checking account holders to access their funds with a debit card.

Location is often a major factor in choosing the best student checking account. You may do well to look for banks that have branches near your school or close to where you live. You may need your parents to deposit money into your account on a regular basis while you're in school. In such a case, choosing a bank that has branches close to your parents' home or places of business may be important as well.

The best student checking accounts generally offer free online bill pay.
The best student checking accounts generally offer free online bill pay.

Often, the availability of the bank's ATMs is a factor in choosing the best student checking account. If you do not have ready access to your bank's ATMs, you may have to use another bank's machine to make deposits and withdrawals. This often translates into hefty fees, as the banks may charge fees for each withdrawal. Often, these per-transaction fees are rather small, but they can add up to a significant sum over a month's time. In most cases, banks do not charge fees for transactions at ATMs they own.

Checks can be written to pay for numerous services and products.
Checks can be written to pay for numerous services and products.

Sometimes the perks a bank offers can mean the difference between choosing one student checking account over another. Typically, student checking accounts include free ATM cards, free online banking, and bill pay; some may include free starter checks as well. Some banks also allow students to open accounts that do not require minimum balances or incur any monthly fees. There are even some banks that offer students one-time waivers of fees in the event that they make mistakes with their checking accounts. For example, some may waive one overdraft fee for students who have this type of checking account.

You'll likely have to show ID and be at least 18 years old to open your own student checking account. You may be able to use a student checking account, even if you are under 18, however. In such a case, a parent or guardian may have to open the account for you.

Most checking accounts also include access to funds through ATM machines.
Most checking accounts also include access to funds through ATM machines.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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