September 25, 2023


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9 Finest Scholar Checking Accounts of September 2023

13 min read

For those who’re a pupil (or mother or father) searching for a spot to park your cash with out extreme charges or unrealistic stability necessities, try the spectacular array of low-cost, low-balance checking accounts out there to college students.

Some actively prohibit membership to youthful people, most frequently these between 17 and 23 or 24 years outdated. However others aren’t restricted based mostly on age or pupil standing — that means you’ll be able to maintain onto them so long as you would like after graduating.

The Finest Scholar Checking Accounts

These are among the many greatest FDIC-insured pupil checking accounts for U.S. financial institution and credit score union account holders.

Most have low minimal deposit necessities and a formidable array of mobile-friendly capabilities, comparable to invoice pay and peer-to-peer (P2P) switch apps.

Finest General: Financial institution of America Benefit Banking – $100 Bonus Supply

Bank Of America Logo

See provide web page for extra particulars.

Financial institution of America Benefit Banking is a checking account with three settings: Benefit SafeBalance, Benefit Plus, and Benefit Relationship.

Decide the one which works for you proper now, and in case your life modifications — say, you graduate from school and land a decent-paying job — you’ll be able to swap to a different setting that matches the brand new you.

All Financial institution of America Benefit Banking settings embody:

  • Simple, Anytime Entry. Go to Financial institution of America at hundreds of economic facilities and ATMs.
  • 24/7 Safety. Complete Safety Safety® and fraud monitoring. Safe sign-in, card locking options, and extra.
  • Handy Methods to Pay. Use your debit card or digital pockets.
  • Good Cash Administration Instruments. Set customized alerts and financial savings targets. Get cash-back offers and rewards custom-made for you.
  • Unauthorized Transactions. Financial institution of America’s $0 Legal responsibility Assure means you’re not responsible for unauthorized transactions made utilizing your shopper debit card, so long as you report them promptly.
  • Debit Card Controls. Briefly lock a misplaced card rapidly and simply to assist forestall unauthorized use.
  • Customized Alerts. Know now and react quick to necessary account modifications. You’ll be able to set customized alerts by way of e mail or textual content for issues like a low stability, pending deposit, and upcoming payments.

Plus, Benefit SafeBalance expenses no month-to-month upkeep payment for College students below 25 enrolled in class or an academic or vocational program.

Financial institution of America, N.A. member FDIC.

Open an Account with Bank of America

Best Account Opening Bonus: Chase College Checking

Chase Logo

The Chase College Checking Account is a fantastic choice for students ready to manage their money without help from their parents. And it has a great account opening bonus to boot.

If you’re a new Chase customer, you may qualify for a $100 account opening bonus after opening an account and completing qualifying activities. You must apply by October 18, 2023 to qualify.

Additional features:

  • Designed for students between 17 and 24 years of age
  • Waives monthly maintenance fees (or monthly service fees, typically $6 per month) for college students up to five consecutive years
  • No minimum deposit or ongoing balance requirement
  • Full mobile functionality in the Chase Mobile app
  • Instant P2P transfers with Zelle
  • Access to 15,000 Chase ATMs

Open an Account with Chase

Best for Cash Back: Rewards Checking Plus via Upgrade

Upgrade Logo

Rewards Checking Plus via Upgrade has one of the best cash-back programs of any free checking account. It’s perfect for everyday spending:

  • Maximize your rewards with direct deposit¹
  • Get 2% cash back2 on eligible debit card purchases at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants, and bars (including delivery), and on utility bills and certain monthly subscriptions
  • Get 1% cash back2 on all other eligible purchases
  • Add Performance Savings to earn up to 4.81% APY³

Additional features:

  • Get paid up to 2 days early⁴
  • No account fees — no annual fees, ATM fees, or overdraft fees, period⁵
  • No minimum deposit to open the account 
  • No ongoing balance requirements

Sign Up for Rewards Checking Plus via Upgrade

¹ Active Accounts with a monthly direct deposit of $1000 are eligible for additional benefits on Rewards Checking Plus such as additional cash back rewards, ATM fee reimbursement, and more.

² Rewards Checking Plus customers who set up monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more earn 2% cash back on common everyday expenses at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants and bars – including deliveries – and gas stations, as well as recurring payments on utilities and monthly subscriptions including phone, cable, TV and other streaming services, and 1% cash back on all other debit card purchases. 2% cash back is limited to $500 in rewards per calendar year; after $500, customers earn 1% cash back on all eligible debit card purchases for the remainder of the year. Rewards Checking Plus accounts with less than $1,000 in monthly direct deposits 60 days after account opening will earn 1% cash back on common everyday expenses and 0.50% cash back on all other eligible debit card purchases. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more

³ The 1.5% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) for the Performance Savings account is effective as of 6/1/2023. The APY for the Performance Savings account is variable and may change at any time. Active Accounts qualify for 4.81% APY with monthly $1000 direct deposit. The APY for Active Accounts is effective as of 6/1/2023, is variable, and may change at any time. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Performance Savings Deposit Account Agreement and Truth in Savings Disclosure. To earn APY, you must open and fund a Performance Savings account. Rewards Checking Plus accounts do not earn APY

⁴ Early direct deposit requires set up of recurring electronic direct deposit from your employer, payroll, or benefits provider and is limited to direct deposits under $5000. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing in which we receive notice of impending direct deposit, which is generally up to two days before the scheduled deposit date.

⁵ There are no overdraft fees or annual fees associated with Rewards Checking Plus accounts. Rewards Checking Plus charges no ATM fees, but third-party institutions may charge you a fee if you use their ATM/network or if you use your Upgrade VISA® Debit Card internationally. For Active Accounts, Upgrade will rebate ATM fees charged by another institution for debit card withdrawals in the United States, up to five times per calendar month. To be eligible to receive third-party ATM fee rebates in any calendar month for eligible ATM withdrawals made during that month on a Rewards Checking Plus account, the account must be an Active Account in the prior calendar month. See the Active Account page for more information. As a courtesy to new customers, Upgrade will provide third-party ATM fee rebates for 60 days after account opening regardless of account user status. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Checking Deposit Account Agreement and Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.

Best for Working Students: Chime® Deposit Account

Chime Logo

Chime is a user-friendly money management app that offers an early payday option for eligible deposit account (checking) customers whose employers file with the Federal Reserve to begin the direct deposit process.

If you’re a college student working part-time to make ends meet while in school, that’s doubtless a welcome perk.

Also not to be missed: an automatic savings feature that instantly rounds up the change on every debit card transaction and sets the difference aside for a rainy day.

Additional features:

  • 2.00% APY on all eligible balances*
  • No monthly fees
  • More than 60,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Up to $200 in overdraft protection for eligible users

Open an Account with Chime

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

*The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of May 22, 2023. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

Best for Mobile Banking: GO2bank

Go2 Bank Logo

GO2bank is a consumer-friendly online bank account that’s perfect for students. To avoid the $5 monthly maintenance fee, simply set up eligible direct deposit.

Moving forward, enjoy clutch mobile banking features like: 

  • Earn up to 7% cash back on eligible electronic gift card purchases in the app1
  • Free bill pay (including mailed checks) in the app
  • Mobile check deposit 
  • Easy-to-use ATM finder
  • Move money from a linked bank account instantly
  • Lock and unlock your debit card with a tap

Additional features:

  • Get paid up to two days early with ASAP Direct DepositTM 3
  • 4.50% APY2 on savings up to $5,000
  • Deposit cash at participating retail stores, subject to fees and deposit limits that may apply
  • Enjoy up to $200 in overdraft protection with opt in and eligible direct deposit

Open an Account with Go2Bank

1Active GO2bank account required to receive an eGift Card. eGift Card merchants subject to change

2GO2bank, Member FDIC. Interest paid quarterly on the average daily balance of savings during the quarter up to a $5,000 balance and if the account is in good standing. 4.50% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of April 2023. APY may change before or after you open an account. The average national savings account interest rate of 0.05% is determined by the FDIC as of 4/18/23. Visit to learn more. Fees on your primary deposit account may reduce earnings on your savings account.

3Direct deposit early availability depends on timing of payor’s payment instructions and fraud prevention restrictions may apply. As such, the availability or timing of early direct deposit may vary from pay period to pay period. The name and Social Security number on file with your employer or benefits provider must match your GO2bank account exactly or we will decline your deposit.

Best for Learning About Money Management: Capital One 360 MONEY

Cap One 360 Logo

Capital One 360’s MONEY account is a custodial accounts for kids under 18 that sticks with you into adulthood. If you’re looking to start your financial journey off early and learn lifelong money management habits, it’s far and away the best option on this list.

Additional features:

  • Spendable and Set Aside categories make it easy to budget smart and reinforce sound financial behaviors
  • Solid yields on all eligible balances
  • No fees and no minimums
  • Free debit card for use at more than 70,000 ATMs nationwide
  • Customizable parental controls for minor children

Open an Account with Capital One 360

Best for Yield: Ally Interest Checking

Ally Logo

Like some of the other contenders on this list, the Ally Bank Interest Checking account isn’t strictly a student checking account. But its two-tiered yield scheme is tops among accounts open to students:

  • 0.10% APY on balances under $15,000
  • 0.25% APY on balances of $15,000 or greater.

Plus, with no monthly maintenance fees, no minimums, thousands of in-network ATMs, and a decent yield on all balances, it’s an excellent starter account for students who don’t anticipate banking in-branch anytime soon.

Open an Account with Ally Bank

Best for Comprehensive Money Management: PNC Virtual Wallet Student

Pnc Bank Virtual Wallet Logo

PNC Virtual Wallet Student is a student-friendly model of PNC’s common Digital Pockets package deal. It combines three subaccounts to assist youthful individuals handle short- and long-term monetary wants in a single place:

  • Spend, a major checking account for day-to-day cash administration wants
  • Reserve, a money set-aside for shorter-term monetary targets and emergencies
  • Progress, a long-term financial savings account with a variable yield

The PNC Digital Pockets Scholar pupil checking account package deal provides some advantages the “grownup” PNC Digital Pockets package deal lacks, together with:

  • No month-to-month service cost
  • One complimentary incoming or outgoing home wire every month
  • One courtesy overdraft per 30 days.

Plus, new sign-ups are routinely enrolled in digital statements and on-line banking.

PNC Digital Pockets Scholar upgrades to PNC Digital Pockets after six years, at which era it’s topic to Digital Pockets options and charges then in impact.

Learn More About PNC Bank

Finest for Money Again: Uncover Cashback Debit

Discover Bank Logo

The Discover Bank Cashback Debit Account is a student-friendly checking account that delivers a formidable cash-back punch. Particularly, that’s 1% money again on as much as $3,000 in eligible purchases every month.

Uncover Cashback Debit can be very gentle on charges, with no month-to-month upkeep payment and no charges for inadequate funds, financial institution checks, or debit card substitute. Which means you get to maintain extra of your hard-earned money again.

Extra options:

  • Entry to a community of round 60,000 fee-free ATMs.
  • Lock and unlock your debit card with a faucet
  • Be part of as a part of the Uncover Scholar Deposits program to get particular perks solely for college students

Open an Account with Discover Bank

Methodology: How We Choose the Finest Scholar Checking Accounts

We use a number of necessary components to pick out the most effective pupil checking accounts for our readers. Every relates indirectly to the fee, yield, or usefulness of those accounts.

Account Charges

Scholar checking accounts aren’t identified for extreme charges. That wouldn’t be very respectful of scholars’ meager budgets.

Nonetheless, some pupil checking accounts actually go the additional mile to reduce charges. They don’t cost month-to-month upkeep charges, interval, or make it simple to waive these charges with pupil standing. 

Minimal Deposit and Stability Necessities

One of the best pupil checking accounts don’t have any minimal deposit or ongoing minimal stability necessities. This can be a nod to the truth that college students typically don’t have a lot to spare.

Account Opening Promotions

There’s nothing fairly like qualifying for a checking account opening promotion proper out of the gate. Some pupil checking accounts ship spectacular opening boosts, on the order of $100 or extra. Simply be sure to can full any required qualifying actions through the introductory interval, if relevant.

Account Yield

In a low-rate atmosphere, even a modest yield offers an account an edge. One of the best pupil checking accounts can’t fairly match the highest financial savings accounts available on the market, however they usually edge out big-bank checking accounts that don’t pay curiosity.

Age Necessities and Different Eligibility Standards

Not all pupil checking accounts restrict eligibility to college-age account holders. Some allow you to in even in case you’re heading again to highschool after an extended hiatus or getting a second diploma (or persevering with your training) after years within the workforce.

Worth-Added Options

Some pupil checking accounts include extra bells and whistles that enhance their attraction and make them higher for on a regular basis use. Widespread examples embody automated financial savings instruments, prompt P2P transfers, entry to hundreds of fee-free ATMs, in-app budgeting instruments, and joint or custodial account capabilities. 

Scholar Checking Account FAQs

You could have questions on checking accounts for faculty college students. We’ve solutions.

Can Anybody Open a Scholar Checking Account?

Some pupil checking accounts actively prohibit membership to youthful people, most frequently these between 17 and 23 or 24 years outdated. 

Others aren’t restricted based mostly on age or pupil standing — that means you’ll be able to maintain onto them so long as you would like after graduating. And a few provide a transparent path to “graduate” to nonstudent accounts with out transferring your balances or going by means of the difficulty of reapplying.

What Occurs to Your Scholar Checking Account When You Graduate?

It is determined by the financial institution. Usually, you’ll be able to convert or improve your pupil account to an grownup account with out reapplying or transferring your stability. For those who don’t have that choice, you would possibly want to shut your pupil account and switch the funds to a brand new checking account with the identical financial institution.

Is There an Age Restrict on Your Scholar Checking Account?

It is determined by the financial institution. Some restrict age eligibility to college-age college students, usually between 17 and 24. Others are extra lenient and permit any grownup to have a pupil account of their identify so long as they’re enrolled in a acknowledged diploma or certificates program on at the very least a part-time foundation. (Usually, “part-time” means half-time or larger.)

Can Minors Open Scholar Checking Accounts?

Many banks enable 17-year-olds to open pupil checking accounts in the event that they’ll flip 18 through the first yr of a acknowledged diploma or certificates program. A mother or father or guardian’s authorization should still be wanted for these college students, nonetheless.

In any other case, minors usually can’t open pupil checking accounts on their very own. Some banks provide checking accounts for teenagers or highschool college students; these are usually custodial or joint accounts shared with a mother or father.

Learn how to Select the Finest Scholar Checking Account

Think about how lengthy you intend to make use of your pupil checking account. Would you like it to outlast your time as a pupil, or are you keen to open a brand new “grownup” account after you graduate?

Ensure you perceive every account’s stipulations, if any. Scholar checking accounts normally don’t have a number of hoops to leap by means of, however you’ll wish to be sure to keep away from upkeep charges and different potential hidden prices.

Lastly, select an account that matches your life-style and spending habits. That may imply sticking with an account from a financial institution with a dense department and ATM community close to your college. Alternatively, you would possibly go for an online-only financial institution that permits you to handle your funds out of your smartphone — no ATM or department banking required.

Editorial Disclosure: This content material isn’t offered by the financial institution advertiser. Opinions expressed listed below are the creator’s alone, not these of the financial institution advertiser. This website could also be compensated by means of the financial institution advertiser Affiliate Program.

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