Best Student Bank Accounts

These best banks for student accounts offer stellar services for teens in school

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Whatever their financial situation, college students can benefit from becoming bank account holders. Recognizing this, many financial institutions offer bank accounts specifically geared toward college students and, in some cases, high school students. 

Student bank accounts often have the same basic structure as the institution's typical offerings, with allowances for students' typically lower balances. Because students are still learning how to manage money and navigate their financial lives, these institutions may waive maintenance fees or minimum balances, offer free ATM withdrawals, or even provide budgeting apps or programs. These accounts are generally available to anyone enrolled in school full-time, although some accounts are age-limited as well.

Banking with the right institution can make a big difference to a busy student. To help students find the right fit for their personal financial situation, we have compiled a list of the best student bank accounts, based on flexibility, convenience, and affordability.

Best Student Bank Accounts as of October 2022

Best Overall : Chase Bank College Checking Account


Chase

 Chase

The Chase Bank College Checking Account offers all the features a student needs for banking. For college students between the ages of 17 and 24, the Chase College Checking Account has no monthly service fee until after graduation (up to five years after opening the account). Chase offers a sign-on bonus of $100: To qualify, students must enroll in paperless statements and make 10 qualifying transactions (including direct deposit, debit card purchases, and online bill payments) within 60 days of opening the account.

Chase’s huge network of more than 4,700 branches and 16,000 ATMs nationwide add to its appeal. Students going to school out-of-state may be able to access their student account on campus and from home with Chase, and they can feel confident about finding a Chase ATM to avoid any fees. However, despite Chase’s enormous footprint, there are no branches in Alaska or Hawaii.

Pros
  • $100 sign-up bonus

  • Eligibility up to age 24

Cons
  • Monthly service fee (after graduation)

  • Overdraft fees

Other important information:

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Interest: None
  • Fees:
  • Monthly Fees: $0 monthly fee while enrolled in college, $6 monthly service fee after graduation (waived with either direct deposit or average daily balance of $5,000)
  • Overdraft Fee: $34 per overdraft, with a cap of $102 in overdraft fees per day. Items charged for $5 or less and ATM withdrawals will not trigger the fee. Students are also not charged the insufficient fund fee if their account balance by the end of the business day is overdrawn by $5 or less.
  • ATM Fee: $3 for non-Chase ATM transactions
  • Accessibility:
  • More than 4,700 branches 
  • 16,000 ATMs

Best For High School Students : Capital One MONEY Account


Capital One

 Capital One

The Capital One MONEY Teen Checking account is an excellent option for students under the age of 18—in fact, account-holders can be as young as 8 years old. There are no monthly fees or minimum balances, and teens also receive a fee-free debit card in their name. With more than 70,000 fee-free Capital One and partner ATMs, teen account-holders can access their cash all over. Best of all, the account offers 0.10% APY (annual percentage yield) on all balances, so high school students can learn the benefits of saving.

Parents are joint owners of the account and can view transaction information and receive text alerts about the account. They can also link their own bank account (even if it's not with Capital One) to the MONEY account and transfer a recurring allowance or one-time amount.

While this account is great for teens under 18, accounts don't have to be closed or rolled over when the account holder turns 18. However, account-holders do have the option of opening their own Capital One 360 Checking account and transferring some or all of their balance into it.

Pros
  • Takes account holders as young as 8

  • Earns interest

  • Account holders can keep their account after they turn 18

Cons
  • Checking comes with some fees

Other important information:

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Interest: 0.10% APY
  • Fees:
  • Monthly Fees: $0
  • Overdraft Fee: $0 with Auto-Decline or Free Savings Transfer (with linked savings account).
  • ATM Fee: $0
  • Accessibility:
  • More than 70,000 ATMs nationwide

Best For Encouraging Saving : Bank of America Advantage Banking


Bank of America

 Bank of America

Bank of America’s Advantage Banking program is a general checking account that waives the monthly maintenance fee for any student under the age of 25 (including those enrolled in high school, university, and vocational programs). Advantage SafeBalance or Advantage Plus accounts require a minimum deposit of $25 or $100, respectively.

The Advantage SafeBalance account is checkless but carries overdraft protection.

An Advantage Banking account also provides access to BofA’s Keep the Change® program, which rounds up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits this remainder in savings. Besides this perk, this account is especially beneficial for beginning savers because of its customizable account alerts for email and text and its interactive Spending and Budgeting tool, which allows account-holders to create a budget and track their spending and other financial habits.

Account-holders can also keep the account after graduation or age 25. However, after these milestones, the account-holder will have to pay a somewhat high monthly maintenance fee: $4.95 per month for SafeBalance and $12 per month for Advantage Plus.

Pros
  • Interactive spending and budgeting tools, including roundup and deposit of debit-card purchases “spare change”

  • Account continues after graduation

  • Overdraft protection

Cons
  • Required minimum deposit of as much as $100

  • High maintenance fees upon graduating or reaching age 25

Other important information:

  • Minimum deposit: $25 for Advantage SafeBalance and $100 for Advantage Plus
  • Interest: None
  • Fees:
  • Monthly Fees: waived for students under age 25 (normally $4.95 per month for Advantage SafeBalance and $12 per month for Advantage Plus) 
  • Overdraft Fee: $0 for Advantage SafeBalance, $35 for each overdraft over $1 with Advantage Plus
  • ATM Fee: $2.50 for Non-Bank of America ATM transactions, $5.00 outside the U.S.
  • Accessibility:
  • 4,100 branches
  • 16,000 ATMs

Best Fee-Free Account : Discover Cashback Debit Account


Discover

 Discover

While the Discover Cashback Debit Account isn’t specifically created for students, it’s an excellent option for anyone 18 or older who wants all the perks of a student account, plus a debit card. This account has no monthly fee, minimum deposit, overdraft fee, or ATM fee, benefits that continue even after graduation. Another big draw is the 1% cash back earned on up to $3,000 in monthly debit card purchases, which can generate up to $360 in cash back per year.

Discover’s other perks include free checks, free online bill pay and ACH payments, and free replacement debit cards. Discover also partners with the Allpoint ATM network, with free access to more than 60,000 ATMs nationwide. However, Discover has no physical branches to visit, which means any problems will be handled via phone. Account-holders' deposit options include online transfer, direct deposit, mobile check deposit, or mail-in deposit.

Pros
  • Free checks, replacement debit cards

  • No maintenance, overdraft, or ATM fees

  • 1% cash back on debit card purchases

Cons
  • Not specifically geared to students

  • No physical branches

Other important information:

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Interest: None, cash back only
  • Fees:
  • Monthly Fees: $0 monthly fee 
  • Overdraft Fee: $0—no charge for overdrafts or insufficient funds. Account-holders may sign up for their free overdraft protection if they have another deposit account with Discover. This protection will cover the insufficient funds in the cashback debit account and prevent the transaction from being declined.
  • ATM Fee: $0
  • Accessibility:
  • No physical branches
  • 60,000 ATMs nationwide

Best For Creating a Budget : PNC Virtual Wallet Student Account


The PNC Virtual Wallet Student Account has a $0 minimum deposit requirement when the account is opened online and waives the monthly service fee for up to six years for actively enrolled students. Also, the PNC Virtual Wallet comes with three accounts: Spend, a primary checking account; Reserve, an interest-bearing checking account; and Growth, a long-term savings account. These accounts, their interactive mobile tools, and PNC’s online educational articles make it easy for a student to manage bills, develop financial goals, and plan spending and savings.

PNC also offers some unique perks, like an automatic courtesy refund of an overdraft fee on the first overdraft, one free incoming wire transfer per statement, and ATM fee reimbursement for any fees levied by other banks per statement period, up to $5.

Pros
  • Automatic courtesy refund of your first overdraft fee

  • Earn interest (Reserve and Growth accounts)

Cons
  • $36 overdraft fee, which can be charged 1 time per day

  • Low interest rates

Other important information:

  • Minimum deposit: $0 if opened online, otherwise the Spend account has a $25 minimum
  • Interest: Varies
  • Fees:
  • Monthly Fees: $0 for six years of active enrollment in school
  • Overdraft Fee: $36 per overdraft, for a maximum of $36 per day. An overdraft fee is waived for the first overdraft incident. For ongoing coverage, account-holders can sign up for free overdraft protection, which links the Spend account to the Reserve and/or Growth account. 
  • ATM Fee: $3 for non-PNC ATM transactions
  • Accessibility:
  • 2,600 branches 
  • 19,000 ATMs

Best Mobile App : Truist Student Checking Account


Geared toward students ages 23 and younger, the Truist Student Checking Account has some useful features overall (see below), but what makes it shine in this category is the Truist mobile app.

State-of-the-art and easy-to-use, the app lets users pay bills online, of course. But they can also view electronic versions of paper bills, track due dates, set up email reminders, and choose their payment frequency. The app allows for payments through Zelle and interfaces with Quicken, too, so students can easily download and organize their financial information and create a smart budget based on actual spending patterns.

With no minimum deposit, no monthly fee, and no direct deposit requirements, it's inexpensive to keep funds in this account. In addition, Truist offers students financial education resources at no charge, a customizable debit card, and fee-free transactions at more than 3,500 ATMs nationwide. Overdraft fees tend to be high, however, unless they opt out of overdraft protection to avoid them.

Unfortunately, Truist banking accounts are currently available only in the District of Columbia and 17 states.

Pros
  • No direct deposit requirements

  • Non-Truist ATM fees waived twice per month

Cons
  • Confusing overdraft protection options

  • $36 overdraft fee, which can be charged three times per day

  • Only available in 17 states and the District of Columbia

Other important information:

  • Minimum deposit: $0 
  • Interest: None
  • Fees:
  • Monthly Fees: $0 
  • Overdraft Fee: $36 per overdraft, for a maximum of $108 per day. Students may also sign up for Overdraft Protection, which requires a link to an account to cover overdrafts.
  • ATM Fee: $5.00 for non-Truist international ATM transactions. This fee is waived twice per statement cycle.
  • Accessibility:
  • About 3,000 ATMs nationwide

Best On-Campus Banking Experience : U.S. Bank Student Checking Account


For students in the West, Midwest, and South, using the U.S. Bank Student Checking Account is an optimal choice. Account-holders are able to link their student ID with their checking account and use the ID at ATMs and for PIN purchases. They also have access to financial education for students through the campus banking program to help manage their money.

Among this account's many benefits are its $0 monthly maintenance fee and the U.S. Bank Visa debit card. Equipped with more than 2,000 braches, U.S. Bank offers student accounts full access to the same suite of tools enjoyed by non-student accounts, including online and mobile banking, no-fee transactions at U.S. bank ATMs, mobile check deposit, and payments with Zelle. ATM fees on the first four non-U.S. bank ATM transactions per statement period are waived, and the first check order is free.

Pros
  • Non-U.S. Bank ATM fees waived four times per month

  • On-campus banking program turns student ID into debit card

  • First order of checks are free

Cons
  • $36 overdraft fee, which can be charged four times per day

Other important information:

  • Minimum deposit: $25 
  • Interest: None
  • Fees:
  • Monthly Fees: $0 
  • Overdraft Fee: $36 per overdraft of more than $5.01, for a maximum of $144 per day. Account-holders may opt out of overdraft coverage, which means the overdrawn transaction will be declined and no fee charged. 
  • ATM Fee: $2.50 for Non-U.S. Bank ATM transactions. This fee is waived four times per statement cycle.
  • Accessibility:
  • More than 2,000 branches

What Are the Benefits of a Student Bank Account?

Bank accounts for students offer several important benefits. To start, they have lower minimum deposit requirements, making them easier to open and maintain. In addition, the majority of student accounts waive monthly maintenance fees, and many also forego ATM fees and forgive overdrafts. Such perks allow young people to gain money management skills without having small mistakes set them back. Finally, to help students build their money management skills, many banks take extra care to offer budgeting tools, apps, and educational content to student account holders.

How Do You Open a Student Bank Account?

Opening a student account is similar to opening a regular bank account, except that it requires a little more identification—namely, proof of school enrollment. Whether applying online or in person, expect to provide some or all of this information:

  • Valid student ID with a photo
  • School transcript
  • College acceptance letter

Also, as with any account, a government-issued ID (e.g., a driver's license or passport) and a Social Security number are required.

Should You Open a Student Bank Account?

Not all students need to open a student bank account. Any student who already has established good financial habits with a regular checking account doesn't necessarily need one. However, the low cost of student bank accounts, plus their other perks, makes them an attractive option for anyone who qualifies. Whether or not a student needs the financial guardrails provided by a student bank account, it's certainly beneficial to take advantage of waived fees and offered rewards.

What Happens to a Student Bank Account Upon Graduation?

In most cases, banks will automatically convert a student account into a standard account upon reaching an established milestone, such as graduation or a particular age of the student or the account. If the student takes more than four years to graduate, however, the bank may require proof of continued enrollment to maintain the student's bank account.

Methodology

Research for this article includes evaluating banks that offer accounts geared explicitly toward students, or accounts that provide similar benefits to those geared toward students. The banks were compared based on fees, minimum deposits, and accessibility. The seven accounts considered to be the "best of" meet all of our requirements to be considered necessary for a student, but are, in particular, all widely available, low-cost, and provided by well-respected banking institutions.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Chase Bank. "Chase Checking Terms."

  2. Capitol One Bank. "MONEY: Teen Checking Account with Debit Card | Capital One."

  3. Bank of America. "Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking."

  4. Bank of America. "Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking."

  5. US Bank. "US Bank Student Checking Common Account Fees."