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 banks for students depend largely on your needs.
Click below to see the features of these banks that are best for college students:
|Student Loans||Online Banking||Mobile Banking||Where to Apply|
|Wells Fargo||Student Checking||$5||Yes||Yes||Yes||Apply now|
|USAA||College Checking||$0||Yes||Yes||Yes||Apply now|
|Regions Bank||LifeGreen Checking for Students Account||$0||Yes||Yes||Yes||Apply now|
|SunTrust||Essential Checking for Students||$0||Yes||Yes||Yes||Apply now|
|Bank of America||BofA Core Checking for students||$0||No||Yes||Yes||Apply now|
|US Bank||Student Checking||$0||No||Yes||Yes||Apply now|
|Chase Bank||Chase College Checking||$0||Yes||Yes||Yes||Apply now|
|KeyBank||Key Student Checking Account||$0||No||Yes||Yes||Apply now|
|PNC Bank||Virtual Wallet Student||$0||Yes||Yes||Yes||Apply now|
|BB&T||Student Checking||$0||No||Yes||Yes||Apply now|
If you’re a college student between the ages of 17 and 24, you can enjoy major benefits from Wells Fargo’s Student Checking account. This account gives you a 50-percent reduction from the normal monthly checking fees, which means that you’ll only pay $5 per month. In addition, there are several ways to eliminate this fee altogether:
- Direct deposit at least $500 into your account.
- Make 10 posted debit card purchases or payments.
- Maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance.
- Link your Wells Fargo Campus Card to your account.
The Wells Fargo Campus Card doubles as your student ID, adding additional convenience and accessibility to campus activities like meal plans, library books and building access.
Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa:
- Available to current student
- 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 direct deposit to checking account, among other options
Wells Fargo money management tools:
- Allow you to view account balances and transfer money online or from your mobile device
- Allow immediate electronic fund transfers between your Wells Fargo checking, savings, loan, line of credit and brokerage accounts
USAA claims that their College Checking account is a free checking account that’s truly free. 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.
USAA Platinum MasterCard:
- Offers attractive rewards rdeemable for cash or for use toward travel, gift cards and more
- 2,500 bonus points after your first purchase
- 1 point for every $1 you spend thereafter
- No expiration date for points
USAA money management tools:
- 60,000 free ATMs in network
- Can transfer funds to anyone from your phone with just an email or phone number
- Can deposit checks via mobile app Deposit@Mobile
For students 25 years of age and younger, Regions Bank offers a LifeGreen Checking for Students Account 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 checking account is the Relationship Rewards program. You rack up rewards points each time you spend on things like food, gas or bills, and then cash the points in for various goods and services online.
Regions Bank Student Visa:
- 0% APR on balance transfers for the first seven months
- No annual fee
- Can opt into Relationship Rewards program and accumulate points on all purchases
- $0 liability guarantee
Regions Bank money management tools:
- Can track finances and create a budget with MyGreenInsights app
- Mobile banking available
Enjoy five years of no monthly maintenance fees with your Student Checking 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 compatible with Quicken and other financial software
- E-bill reminders and automatic payments
- Popmoney available for money transfers with just an email account or phone number
Students 23 or younger, enrolled in a high school, college, university or a vocational program don’t have to pay a monthly maintenance fee on their Student 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 students.
Bank of America student credit cards:
- BankAmericard Cash Rewards card: gives account holders a 10-percent customer bonus for putting rewards into a Bank of America checking or savings account
- BankAmericard Travel Rewards card: can earn unlimited points redeemable for statement credit for airline tickets, hotel stays, rentals cars, and baggage fees
- BankAmericard card: 0% APR on your first 18 billing cycles and 11.24 to 21.24 percent thereafter
None of these cards charges an annual fee and all of them allow you to get points on everyday purchases, which you can trade in for some great perks.
Bank of America money management tools:
- Mobile banking app for check deposits, money transfers and more
- Can earn cashback rewards with your Bank of America debit or credit card and have rewards applied to your account each month
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 quarter.
U.S. Bank credit cards:
- Zero fraud liability
- No annual fee
U.S. Bank money management tools:
- Account alerts for posted checks, bill reminders and more
- Can use recipient’s email address or mobile number to transfer money via Pay A Person feature
- Remote check deposit available
Chase Bank will waive the monthly service fees on your Chase College Checking account for 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 Bank money management tools:
- Alerts available for information on deposits, withdrawals and account balance
- Mobile banking app for bill pay and money transfers
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 schedule payments via electronic check to anyone from your phone, tablet or computer
- Text and email alerts available for check deposits and funds withdrawals
- Online banking compatible with QuickBooks
For those 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.
The Virtual Wallet Student account does not offer a credit card.
PNC Bank money management tools:
- Online and mobile banking
- Fee-free access to 8,000 PNC Bank ATMs
- One courtesy overdraft waiver within the first 12 months of opening your account
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.
Earn cash back each time you use your BB&T debit card or BB&T MoneyAccount®Reloadable Visa prepaid card with BB&T Deals. You can see offers like discounts on restaurants, attractions and other services or activities right on your app,.
The BB&T Student Checking account does not offer a credit card.
BB&T money management tools:
- Customizable dashboard, budgeting tools, personal payments and trackable savings goals with financial management tool U by BB&T
- Can monitor your spending and saving behavior using financial tool Plan & Analyze
- Online banking, bill pay, transfers and online statements
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’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the companies included in the article.