Best Student Bank Accounts for 2024

Chase offers the best student bank account, according to our research, due to its sign-on bonus and lack of fees.

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.

See more of our top bank accounts for teens and kids:

  • Best Savings Accounts for Teens and Kids
  • Best Debit Cards for Teens and Kids
  • Best Checking Accounts for Teens

In the News: It’s a weird time to be a student. More young people are choosing to drop out of college or forego higher education altogether as it’s becoming clear that the cost of a college degree isn’t always worth it. Keep in mind this can impact your eligibility for a student bank account since you typically must be attending school to qualify.

ChaseChase

 Chase

Open Account

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 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 more than 15,000 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, and it can be waived)

  • Overdraft fees charged in most cases

Other important information:

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Interest: None
  • Fees:
  • Monthly Fees: $0 monthly fee while enrolled in college, $12 monthly service fee after graduation (waived with either a direct deposit or average daily balance of $5,000)
  • Overdraft Fee: $34 per overdraft, with a cap of $102 in overdraft fees per day. The fee is not charged if you’re overdrawn by less than $50 or you bring the overdraft within $50 by the end of the next business day.
  • ATM Fee: $3 for non-Chase ATM transactions in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, $5 for non-Chase ATM transactions outside the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Surcharge Fees from the ATM owner/network still apply.
  • Accessibility:
  • More than 4,700 branches 
  • More than 15,000 ATMs
Capital OneCapital One

 Capital One

Open Account

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

  • Daily limits on purchases and withdrawals

Other important information:

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Interest: 0.10% APY
  • Fees:
  • Monthly Fees: $0
  • Overdraft Fee: Overdrafts are typically declined, if allowed you must cover immediately with a transfer.
  • ATM Fee: $0
  • Accessibility:
  • More than 70,000 ATMs nationwide
Bank of AmericaBank of America

 Bank of America

Open Account

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 and Advantage Plus accounts require a minimum deposit of $25 and $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 email and text alerts, 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. The SafeBalance fee can be waived if you qualify for Preferred Rewards or have an average daily balance of at least $500. Advantage Plus accounts have the fee waived by qualifying for Preferred Rewards, by having a monthly direct deposit of at least $250, or by maintaining a minimum daily balance of $1,500.

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 and by other means after graduation (normally $4.95 per month for Advantage SafeBalance and $12 per month for Advantage Plus) 
  • Overdraft Fee: $0 for Advantage SafeBalance, Use Balance Connect overdraft protection or be charged a fee with Advantage Plus
  • ATM Fee: $2.50 for Non-Bank of America ATM transactions, $5.00 outside the U.S.
  • Accessibility:
  • Approximately 3,900 branches
  • Approximately 15,000 ATMs
DiscoverDiscover

 Discover

Open Account

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 protection, 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 and replacement debit cards

  • No maintenance or ATM fees, free overdraft protection

  • 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
PNCPNC
Open Account

The PNC Virtual Wallet Student Account has a $0 minimum deposit requirement 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
  • Interest: 0.01% to 0.03%
  • 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 in the U.S. and Canada, and $5 in internationally
  • Accessibility:
  • More than 2,300 branches 
  • Approximately 60,000 ATMs
Truist logoTruist logo
Open Account

With a fee waiver for students under age 25, the Truist One 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.

The account has a $50 minimum opening deposit. There is a $12 monthly maintenance fee, but it is waived for students. After the student waiver expires there are many other easy ways to waive it. In addition, Truist offers students financial education resources at no charge, a customizable debit card, and fee-free transactions at over 3,000 Truist ATMs. There are no overdraft fees, and the account offers negative balance protection.

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

Pros

  • Many easy ways to waive the fee, including being a student under 25

  • No overdraft fees

Cons

  • Must have a larger balance for all account perks and benefits

  • Only available in 17 states and the District of Columbia

Other important information:

  • Minimum deposit: $50 
  • Interest: None
  • Fees:
  • Monthly Fees: $12, but it’s waived for students and by other means
  • Overdraft Fee: No overdraft fees, plus Truist Negative Balance Buffer
  • ATM Fee: $3.00 for non-Truist U.S. ATM transactions. $5.00 for non-Truist international ATM transactions. Fee waivers can be unlocked at higher balances.
  • Accessibility:
  • Over 3,000 ATMs nationwide
US BankUS Bank
Open 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 that its monthly maintenance fee is waived for students and the U.S. Bank Visa debit card. With more than 2,000 branches, 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.

Pros

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

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

  • App with Zelle and mobile deposits

Cons

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

Other important information:

  • Minimum deposit: $25 
  • Interest: None
  • Fees:
  • Monthly Fees: $0 for students, multiple ways to waive after age 24
  • Overdraft Fee: $36 per overdraft of $5.01 or more, 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

Pros and Cons of Student Bank Accounts

Pros

  • Fewer fees and restrictions

  • May offer special discounts

  • May offer more convenient access

Cons

  • Stricter eligibility requirements

  • May offer less interest and fewer features

  • Eventually transitions to a less-friendly account

Pros Explained

  • Fewer fees and restrictions: Most banks waive or at least reduce the fees on student bank accounts. They may also waive certain restrictions, like how much you need to deposit to open an account. 
  • May offer special discounts: Some student bank accounts—especially those from local banks and credit unions—may offer discounts on purchases from popular businesses in and around your campus. 
  • May offer more convenient access: Some local banks and credit unions also offer on-campus branch locations. Sometimes banks waive ATM fees on student bank accounts as well so you can access your money more easily. 

Cons Explained

  • Stricter eligibility requirements: Most student bank accounts are limited to high school and college students under age 24. You may also need to show proof of enrollment when you sign up for an account.
  • May offer less interest and fewer features: The rates offered on student bank accounts are generally lower than accounts open to the general public. Most don’t allow you to overdraft your account either.
  • Eventually transitions to a less-friendly account: Once you reach the age limit for the account, most banks will automatically transition you to a regular bank account—often one with high fees that you may not be used to dealing with.  

Alternatives to Student Bank Accounts

The best student bank accounts have a lot to offer, but they’re not the only tool you have available to manage your money while you’re attending school. Here are a few other options to consider alongside a student bank account, or even in place of it entirely:

  • Joint bank account with parent or guardian: Having your parent or guardian listed as a joint account holder on a regular account (or even a student bank account if your bank allows it) allows everyone to see all transactions, and to easily add more money. 
  • Reloadable prepaid debit cards: Another option for adding more money quickly, a prepaid debit card prevents you from overdrawing funds but may come with high fees and doesn’t offer a way to save money. 
  • High-yield checking and savings: These accounts, often available in online-only format, may be an overall better deal than a student checking account anyway, with no worries about having to switch accounts as you age. See the best high-yield savings accounts and the best high-yield checking accounts to explore your options.
  • Second-chance bank accounts: It can be tough to qualify for a student bank account if you haven’t managed past bank accounts well. Second-chance bank accounts are more expensive but offer a path to qualifying for a better checking account over time. 
  • Neobanks: These online app-based banks often offer stellar interest rates and cool features for the general public if you don’t mind doing all of your banking virtually and are mindful of the downsides, such as tech glitches. 
  • Credit unions: Not technically a “bank” but often lumped into the same category, many credit unions offer the same student bank account benefits as traditional banks. Credit unions are nonprofit banking institutions, however, and have their pros and cons. 

You have a banking report which lists your account history, similar to but separate from your credit report. Banks generally check this when you apply for a new account, so if you’ve had trouble managing accounts in the past, they can see it and potentially deny your application. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is a Student Bank Account?

    A student bank account is a type of checking account with special features and pricing available to college and high school students under a certain age, usually 24. Banks offer student checking accounts as a way to build loyalty and help young people learn how to manage their money with an inexpensive and easier-to-handle account.

  • What Is the Best Student Bank Account?

    The best student bank account depends on what you need. The best student bank account for you might be very different than for a student on the other side of the country, depending on what features you’re looking for in a bank account and the options available in your area. In general, you should look for an inexpensive account that lets you deposit and spend money wherever you need; perks like earning interest and debit card rewards are great too, if you can get them.

  • What Is the Best Bank for Students?

    There is no single best bank for every student—rather, it just depends on what you have available locally and what you’re looking for in a student bank account. Good nationally-available options include banks such as Chase, Discover, and Capital One.

  • Can I Open a Standard Bank Account as a Student?

    Yes, as long as you meet the requirements to open a regular bank account. Standard bank accounts may require a minimum opening deposit size and have different fees and features.

  • 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.

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