10 Best Banks for College Students

Here's what the best banks for students have to offer.

With so many decisions for college students to make — from class schedules to where to live — making time to choose the right checking account can be daunting. Today, more than ever before, there are many banking options that are targeted specifically to young adults attending school. Banks­ and ­university credit unions are offering all kinds of perks to entice students to choose their financial institution, so it’s a smart idea to shop around before deciding which bank account is right for you.

For some, the stress-free benefit of not having to maintain a minimum balance is ideal; for others, being able to earn interest on the money sitting in their checking account is alluring. Some students might prefer the one-stop shopping of a mega bank, and others might want the personalized service of a local credit union. The following 10 banks offer a variety of features — some unique and some pretty standard — but at the end of the day, the best student bank account depends largely on your needs.

Keep reading to find out more about these 10 best banks for students:

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10 Best Banks for College Students
Bank Checking Account Monthly
Student Loans Online Banking Mobile Banking
Wells Fargo Student Checking $0 Yes Yes Yes
USAA Classic Checking for College Students $0 No Yes Yes
Regions Bank LifeGreen Checking Account for Students $0 Yes Yes Yes
SunTrust Essential Checking for Students $0 for 5 years Yes Yes Yes
Bank of America Bank of America  Core Checking $0 No Yes Yes
U.S. Bank  Student Checking $0 No Yes Yes
Chase Chase College Checking $0 to $6 No Yes Yes
KeyBank Key Student Checking $0 to $5 No Yes Yes
PNC Bank Virtual Wallet Student $0 Yes Yes Yes
BB&T Student Checking $0 No Yes Yes

Check Out: Best Banks for High School Students

Top 10 Banks for College Students

Before committing to a bank, check out the features and offerings of the best bank accounts that are geared toward college students. Here are the best banks for students in college.

Wells Fargo: Student Checking

If you’re a college student between the ages of 17 and 24, you can enjoy major benefits from Wells Fargo’s Student Checking college bank account. This account has no monthly checking fees.

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The Wells Fargo Campus Card doubles as your student ID, adding additional convenience and accessibility to campus privileges like meal plans, library books and building access.

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card: 

  • No annual fee
  • 3 percent cash rewards for six months on purchases from gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores
  • 1 percent cash-back rewards on everything else
  • Cash-back rewards redeemable in $25 increments
  • Rewards eligible for savings account deposits, Wells Fargo credit, cash or check, or for travel, gift cards and more

Wells Fargo money management tools: 

  • Wells Fargo Mobile allows you to pay bills, send money and check your balance on smartphone or tablet.
  • Set mobile alerts to notify you of suspicious activity, low balances, payment due dates and more.

More: Wells Fargo Review: Is It the Right Bank for You?

USAA: Classic Checking for College Students

USAA’s Classic Checking for College Students account is a free checking account that’s truly free, making it one of the best student checking accounts. Account holders don’t have to pay a monthly service fee and there is no minimum balance requirement. Moreover, the College Checking account offers free direct deposits as well as free electronic transfers and bill payments. USAA also offers what could be one of the best credit cards for college students.

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USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card: 

  • Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase
  • Rewards redeemable at any time from your mobile device or computer

USAA money management tools: 

  • 60,000 free ATMs in network
  • Can deposit checks via mobile app Deposit@Mobile
  • Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Zelle capabilities

More: USAA Bank Review: Competitive Loan Rates for Military and Family

Regions Bank: LifeGreen Checking Account for Students

For students 25 years of age and younger, Regions Bank offers a LifeGreen Checking Account for Students with no monthly maintenance fee and just a $50 initial deposit. Keep in mind that once you turn 26, the account will automatically convert to the standard LifeGreen Checking account with all applicable fees.

One of the unique features of this student bank account is the Relationship Rewards program. You rack up rewards points each time you do certain banking activities, including using online bill pay, making deposits at ATMs and receiving monthly online statements.

Regions does not offer student credit cards.

Regions Bank money management tools: 

  • Insights by Regions has tools, tips and calculators to help you manage money, save for the future and track your spending
  • Mobile banking available

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More: Regions Bank Review: Account Options for Every Need

SunTrust: Essential Checking for Students

Enjoy five years of no monthly maintenance fees with your Essential Checking for Students account, as long as you have proof of active enrollment in high school, college or a technical or trade school. The five years begins when you open the account; the student waiver cannot be retroactively applied to an existing checking account.

The SunTrust student checking account does not offer a credit card.

SunTrust money management tools: 

  • Online banking with bill pay
  • Account balance alerts available
  • Can send money with Zelle

Read: Newest SunTrust Promotions

Bank of America: Core Checking 

Students who are under the age of 24 and enrolled in a high school, college, university or a vocational program don’t have to pay a monthly maintenance fee on their Core Checking account at Bank of America. With features like mobile banking, direct deposit, ATM cards with chip technology and FDIC backing, Bank of America is a solid choice for student banking.

Bank of America student credit cards: 

  • Bank of America Cash Rewards for Students: Gives account holders a 10 percent customer bonus for putting rewards into a Bank of America checking or savings account
  • Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students: Can earn unlimited points redeemable for statement credit for airline tickets, hotel stays, rentals cars and baggage fees
  • BankAmericard Credit Card for Students: 0% APR on your first 15 billing cycles and 14.74 to 24.74 percent thereafter

None of these cards charges an annual fee.

Bank of America money management tools: 

  • Online and mobile banking
  • Can lock and unlock your debit card from the mobile banking app if it gets lost or stolen
  • Can build savings automatically when you enroll in the Keep the Change savings program

Related: Bank of America Review: Is It the Right Bank for You?

U.S. Bank: Student Checking

Like many of the other student-oriented checking account options, U.S. Bank does not charge a monthly maintenance fee for its Student Checking account. In addition, U.S. Bank will waive up to four non-U.S. Bank ATM transactions per statement period.

U.S. Bank student credit cards: 

  • U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card: 5 percent cash back on select purchases
  • U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express Card: Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on purchases
  • U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card: 0% APR for first 20 billing cycles and 11.74 to 23.74 percent thereafter
  • U.S. Bank Secured Visa Card: To build or re-establish your credit

U.S. Bank money management tools: 

  • Free transactions at thousands of U.S. Bank ATMs
  • Free credit score access
  • Deposit checks via the mobile app

More: US Bank Review: In-Branch to Google Home Banking Options

Chase: Chase College Checking

Chase will waive the monthly service fees on your Chase College Checking account for up to five years while you’re in school. College students between the ages of 17 and 24 are eligible for the Chase College Checking account with proof of their status. Account holders also have access to a huge network of both ATMs and brick-and-mortar bank branches.

The Chase College Checking account does not offer a credit card.

Chase money management tools:

  • Alerts available for information on transactions and account balance
  • Mobile banking app for bill pay and money transfers

See: Chase Bank Review: Is It the Right Bank for You?

KeyBank: Key Student Checking Account

The Key Student Checking Account is open to students between the ages of 16 and 24. If you deposit a minimum of $200 or initiate at least five transactions, KeyBank will waive the $5 monthly maintenance fee on this account. KeyBank will also reimburse account holders up to $6 each month for any non-KeyBank ATM cash withdrawals.

The Key Student Checking Account does not offer a credit card.

KeyBank money management tools:

  • Can transfer funds between accounts, pay bills and make mobile deposits with online banking
  • KeyBank Debit Mastercard features chip security
  • Financial wellness tool can help you set goals and form healthy financial habits

See: KeyBank Review: Locations, Hours and Customer Service

PNC Bank: Virtual Wallet Student

For people with active student status, PNC Bank will waive the monthly service charge for Virtual Wallet Student account holders for up to six years. This checking account provides students a wide range of services like language interpretation, international wire transfers and a PNC Bank Visa debit card.

PNC Bank student credit cards

  • PNC Cash Rewards Visa: 4 percent cash back on gas, 3 percent cash back on dining, 2 percent cash back on groceries and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases
  • PNC Points Visa: Four points for every $1 spent on everyday purchases, and redeem points for gift cards, electronics and more
  • PNC Core Visa: 0% APR for first 15 billing cycles and 11.74 to 21.74 percent thereafter

None of these cards charge an annual fee.

PNC Bank money management tools: 

  • Online and mobile banking
  • Fee-free access to 9,000 PNC Bank ATMs

More: PNC Bank Review: Is It the Right Bank for You?

BB&T: Student Checking

BB&T Student Checking is designed for students 23 years of age and younger. With no minimum balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fees, this account takes the worry out of banking.

The BB&T Student Checking account does not offer a credit card.

BB&T money management tools: 

  • U by BB&T, the bank’s financial management tool, allows you to customize your online and mobile banking experience, monitor your accounts, pay bills, set budgets and track spending, and manage receipts
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Email and text alerts available

Related: BB&T Review: Range of Banking Products & Online Banking

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Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting for this article.

GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some companies mentioned in this article might be clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings and roundups are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the companies included in the article.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank advertiser, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Program.

About the Author

Natalie Campisi

Natalie Campisi is a Los Angeles-based writer and producer with more than 17 years of experience. She started her career as a journalist, reporting for dailies, the Associated Press and on Capitol Hill. She’s produced podcasts, commercials and online video content for everyone from tech startups to chocolatiers.

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