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Best Student Checking Accounts of June 2024

  • Student checking accounts often provide no-fee access to checking account features.
  • Most student checking accounts don’t require minimum deposits or balances.?
  • You can get a student checking account as early as age 17, though requirements vary by bank.
  • You may need a college ID or .edu account to set up a student checking account.
  • Our top picks for banks with student checking accounts include Chase, Chime, Axos, Discover, SoFi and MPH.

Student checking accounts provide easy access to checking for high school or college students.?

This guide to student checking accounts covers:

  • Our top picks for student checking account options
  • How to apply for a student checking account
  • Other options students have for managing money

Our top picks for the best checking accounts

Our top picks for the best student checking accounts

Chase College Checking?: Best for sign-up bonus

This Chase checking account is designed specifically for college students and offers a $100 sign-up bonus. To earn that bonus, you need to complete 10 qualifying transactions, including purchases, with your account within the first 60 days.

You won’t pay monthly fees for up to five years or until your graduation date, whichever comes first. Chase offers options for managing your money in the app. You can avoid overdraft fees if you don’t overdraft more than $50 or you bring your overdraft current by the next day.

Chase College Checking?: An overview

For Ages APY Min Balance Required Fees
17-24 n/a $0 No monthly maintenance fees, and you can avoid overdraft fees by bringing your account current the next day

Chase College Checking?: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? Chase has local branches and ATMs across the country
? No minimum balance requirement
? Option to earn a sign-up bonus
? No monthly maintenance fee
? If you’re 17, you can only open an account at a local branch (and not online)
? Account does not earn interest
? Some spending and withdrawal limits apply

Chime? Checking Account: Best for first timers

Chime’s free checking account may be a good option for those who have never had an account and are still learning good banking practices. It doesn’t have monthly, overdraft or NSF fees, and you get overdraft protection up to $200 if you qualify for SpotMe. You can access direct deposits up to two days early with this second chance checking account, and Chime offers easy tools for managing our account via its app. Your credit score doesn’t impact your ability to open a Chime checking account.?

With our exclusive code, SAVE10 get $10 with your Chime Checking Account and Visa? Debit Card when signing up and activating your debit cards within 30 days.

Chime? Checking Account: An overview

For Ages APY Min Balance Required Fees
18+ n/a $0 None

Chime? Checking Account: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? No fees
? Potential for up to $200 in overdraft coverage
? Access to your account at 60,000+ ATMs without fees
? Customized notifications and account management tools
? No branch locations for in-person service
? Account doesn’t earn interest
? You may not be able to use mobile check deposit if you don’t also use direct deposit

CHIME CHECKING ACCOUNT

Axos Bank? Essential Checking: Best for ATM use

You won’t pay fees for monthly maintenance, overdrafts or non-sufficient funds, and you don’t have to carry a minimum balance to get these benefits. Your account comes with an ATM debit card, and you get unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. This means you can use your card at?ATMs without it costing more than a branch-based card.

When you make this account your go-to for direct deposits, you may also get access to those deposits up to two days earlier than you might with more traditional accounts. Students who aren’t old enough for an Axos Bank Essential Checking account may want to consider an Axos First Checking account, designed for ages 13 to 17.

Axos Bank? Essential Checking: An overview

For Ages APY Min Balance Required Fees
18 and up n/a $0 No monthly maintenance, overdraft or NSF fees; ATM fees are reimbursed

Axos Bank? Essential Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? No monthly maintenance fees
? No overdraft and NSF fees
? Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements
? Account does not earn interest
? No in-person branch service

AXOS REWARDS CHECKING ACCOUNT

Discover? Cashback Debit Checking: Best for cashback

With this account, you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in purchases each month. The account doesn’t come with any fees, so the cash back you earn is really like money in your pocket.

Set up direct deposits with this account from your work or financial assistance program, and get access to funds up to two days faster than with traditional accounts. You can deposit cash using your debit card at Walmart customer service counters. Send money with?Zelle or add your Discover debit card to a digital wallet like Google Pay or Apple Pay for convenience.?

Discover? Cashback Debit Checking: An overview

For Ages APY Min Balance Required Fees
18+ n/a $0 None

Discover? Cashback Debit Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in purchases each month
? No-fee ATM access
? No monthly maintenance, overdraft, or NSF fees
? Ability to deposit cash
? No physical branch locations for in-person service
? Account does not earn interest

SoFi Student Checking and Savings: Best for savings

This all-in-one checking and savings account from SoFi is designed to make it easy for students to save and manage money. You can get a $30 cash bonus when you fund your new account, and you can also get $75 for referring friends who sign up. You need a valid .edu email address to sign up for this account.

SoFi offers 15% cash back on certain local establishments, and you won’t pay monthly maintenance or overdraft fees. You can also avoid ATM fees when you use one of the 55,000+ ATMs in the network. SoFi’s Vaults offer a unique way to save for specific expenses. You can also earn 4.60% APY on savings balances in vaults and 0.50% APY on checking balances, though you do need direct deposit to earn these rates.?

SoFi Student Checking and Savings: An overview

For Ages APY Min Balance Required Fees
18+ 0.50% to 4.60% $0 None

SoFi Student Checking and Savings: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? No monthly maintenance or overdraft fees
? No minimum deposit requirement
? Options for earning cash back, a sign-up bonus, and referral bonuses
? Accounts earn interest
? No local branches for in-person service
? You must have active direct deposits to enjoy some of the perks that make this account stand out

MPH Bank First Student Checking Account: Best for young savers

The MPH Bank First student checking account is great for young savers. Students as young as 10 can open an account with a parent or legal guardian, who must remain on the account until the student reaches 18 years old. During this time, parents can set debit card spending limits for added financial control.?

One standout feature is the round-up widget, which encourages saving by rounding up each purchase and transferring the extra amount into a savings account. Additionally, teens with jobs can enjoy the convenience of receiving their pay up to two days early through direct deposit.

The blend of parental oversight and innovative tools fosters financial responsibility from an early age, thus helping to lay a strong foundation for future financial success.

MPH Bank First Student Checking Account: An overview

For Ages APY Min Balance Required Fees
10-24 n/a $0 None

MPH Bank First Student Checking Account: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? Get paid up to two days early
? Use the round-up widget to automatically save money from your purchases
? No monthly fees nor minimum deposit requirement
? Access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs
? No physical branch locations
? Earns no interest

MPH BANK FIRST STUDENT CHECKING ACCOUNT

What is a student checking account?

Student checking accounts are designed for students who are in high school, college or vocational school. Banks may require students to demonstrate enrollment with a student ID or other document, though many simply ensure individuals are in the age range for the account.

Student checking accounts are different from teen or youth checking accounts, which are designed to help a parent introduce banking to their child. In these cases, the adult needs to be a joint account holder.?

Student checking account vs. regular checking account

Not every account summarized above is specifically a student checking account. These accounts for students were picked for their ease of access, low-to-no fee structure and potential perks for students. However, accounts specifically designed for students tend to offer perks that regular checking accounts don’t, such as cashback on college-related purchases and minimal fees.

Pros and cons of student checking accounts

Student checking account pros
  • A free student checking account doesn’t have a monthly maintenance fee and may not come with other fees, saving you a little every month.
  • Student checking accounts are typically designed for easy access and management.
  • Banks targeting student account holders may offer apps or special programs designed to help those new to banking learn how to manage their accounts well.
  • Getting a bank account as a student and staying loyal to the financial institution throughout the year might help you access other products later.
Student checking account cons
  • True student checking accounts are limited to people of a certain age or those enrolled in a qualifying college or educational program.
  • Generally, these accounts pay less interest on the balance, and many pay no interest.
  • Overdraft protection programs could tempt new banking account users to develop poor money management habits.

How to choose the best student checking account

The best student checking accounts meet the account holders’ financial and money management needs.?

To figure out if a student checking account might be right for you, consider these factors:

How to open a student checking account

To open a free student checking account with most banks, you will need to meet eligibility requirements.?

These requirements include:

Once you have all this information, you can apply online in many cases for a student checking account. In some cases, such as if you are a younger student or don’t have a Social Security number, you may need to apply at a branch location.

You can open more than one student checking account, though not typically with the same bank.

When should I open a student checking account?

You need to be at least 17 years old — and many accounts require you to be 18 years old — to open a student checking account.?

Otherwise, some indications it might be time to open a student checking account include:

Student checking account tips

The best checking account for college students only works well for you if you manage it correctly.?

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your account:

Alternatives to student checking accounts

If you’re not ready to manage a checking account or want other options to back your spending, you might consider these alternatives:

1

A prepaid student debit card.

You or someone else transfers money onto this card, and you can use it like a regular debit card. Once the money is gone, you can’t use the card until more money is transferred to it.

See More See Less
2

A joint bank account.

You can open a joint bank account with a parent or guardian who can help you manage your account. This is a popular option for many who go away to college because it makes it easy for parents to transfer money to students.

See More See Less
3

High-yield checking or savings accounts.

If you want your money to work harder for you, you can get a high-yield account that earns 4.5% or higher APY.

See More See Less

Our top picks for the best checking accounts

FAQ: Student checking accounts

Is it worth getting a student checking account?

Getting a student checking account is worth it if you want a safe, secure way to hold and use your money.

What is the best bank for students?

There is not one best checking account for students. What’s best for you depends on your preferences and money management needs.

Is there an age limit on a student checking account?

Most college checking accounts require you to be enrolled in a qualifying school. Some limit account holders to traditional college ages, such as 17-24.

What is the minimum deposit to open a student checking account?

Most student checking accounts don’t have minimum deposits. You may be able to open one with only $10, for example.

How do I get a student checking account bonus?

Some of the best student checking account options offer sign-up bonuses. You need to read the fine print on these offers, which may require you to fund your account, hold a certain amount in your account for a few months or make a certain number of transactions.

How do I change my student bank account to a standard account?

A student’s checking account might transfer to a standard account when they graduate. Talk to your bank to find out what the process is.

What happens to a student bank account upon graduation?

Most banks transfer student accounts to standard accounts upon graduation. You may need to provide your estimated graduation date when you open an account for this purpose.

About the Author

Sarah Stasik
Sarah Stasik Personal Finance

Sarah Stasik is well versed in personal finance thanks to her previous role as a Revenue Cycle Manager for a Fortune 500 healthcare company. Using her inside knowledge and expertise, Sarah often covers topics ranging from insurance and the economics of private healthcare to personal finance and small business management.

With more than a dozen years of writing experience, Sarah has tackled niches that range from technical advances in fintech to personal budgeting challenges. She has covered topics such as insurance and the economics of private healthcare, small business management and accounting, and credit and savings. Her writing focuses on making complex or seemingly daunting financial topics more accessible and providing helpful and relevant resources for readers.

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