Follow and listen to our podcast

StashLearn
Get the app
Get the app

Join millions of investors on Stash

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5
Get the app
Teach Me

Best Bank Accounts For Students: What to Look For

September 19, 2018
student bank account

Students—need a bank account? Start here.

4 min read

Students have enough to worry about, like trying to survive on ramen and coming up with the hundreds of dollars needed to buy textbooks.

As a student with basic survival on your mind, the last thing you want to worry about is opening a bank account.

Many banks offer bank accounts specifically for students to get young customers in the door—they are, after all, an important customer segment for financial institutions. Other banks may simply offer bank accounts which are suitable for students, but not necessarily only available to students.

Banks hope that these students and young customers will graduate, and then, down the line, return to that same bank when they need loans to buy houses and cars. As a student, though, you want to make sure you’re choosing a bank that is a good fit.

Why do students need bank accounts?

For many students, life consists of little more than eating, sleeping, and studying. And given that you may have a meal plan at a dining hall, and aren’t getting a steady paycheck, you may wonder why you even need a bank account.

But you’ll need one if you want to spend money, have a debit card, and earn any kind of interest on your deposits. In this day and age, having a bank account is more of a necessity than a choice.

You’ll also need an account in the event that you do pick up a job. What if a lucrative tutoring position opens up that fits into your schedule, for example? You might also find that one of your classmates wants to hire you to work part-time for their startup.

If that’s the case, you’ll want to have an account to deposit your paychecks—and not go scrambling around trying to determine the best account given your status as a student.

Of course, some people get by only using cash.  While you may be able to get away with that for a while, there are some places that won’t accept cash (good luck booking a hotel room, or renting a car, for example, with cash) and it’s also fairly insecure.

Where will you store your cash? Under a mattress? What happens if it is lost or stolen? These are things you’ll need to ask yourself if you want to try and skate by on cash only.

What features do student bank accounts offer?

There is a wide range of features typically offered with student bank accounts. But you’ll probably want to focus on only a few of them.

First, look at the fees associated with the bank account.

A student bank account should, ideally, have no monthly fees. Every dollar counts when you are a student, and you should be looking for a bank account that does not siphon away your money just for the privilege of keeping your money safe.

You should also ensure there are no extra fees for using a debit or ATM card, or to use online and mobile banking services. Chances are that most of your purchases will be made with plastic, and you don’t want to get dinged for using it.

What are some examples of student bank accounts?

Most major banks have account options for students. Plenty of community banks offer them too. And so does the ever-growing number of Internet-only banks.

Also, consider credit unions. These are member-owned financial cooperatives offered in many communities, or by states, the federal government, or your own state.

How old do you have to be to open a student bank account?

Age restrictions for student bank accounts can vary. You’ll probably want to consult your bank’s website for the specifics before planning to make an in-person visit.  Some banks offer accounts for high-schooler students, that transition into college accounts at age 18, or upon graduation from high school. You’ll need to provide a college or university student ID.

In most other cases, you will have to be an adult, or 18 years old, to open your own bank account. If you are under 18, then you will need to have a parent or guardian to co-sign on the account.

How can a student bank account help you budget?

Budgeting is perhaps the most important financial habit that you can develop. However, only about 40% of people actually use a budget, according to industry data.

Using a student bank account with fewer or no fees can help free up money that can be used elsewhere in your budget. And for students who tend to be short on cash, every extra dollar you can find can be enormously helpful.

Most importantly, having a bank account makes it easier to track your expenses down to the penny. You should be able to use your bank’s online statements to make sure you are sticking to your budget.

For many college students, building and maintaining healthy financial habits can be just as valuable as a degree.

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5

Get the App

By Stash Team

Next for you
Checking Accounts vs. Savings Accounts: What’s the Difference?

Investment Profile

Bonds Worldwide

An International Bond ETF on Stash

Learn more
Explore more articlesChoose a topic to learn more about
budgeting social media love and money money lessons politics
Disclaimers

This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, represents an assessment of the market environment as of the date of publication, is subject to change without notice, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice or opinion. Stash assumes no obligation to provide notifications of changes in any factors that could affect the information provided. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice regarding any issuer or security in particular. The strategies discussed are strictly for illustrative and educational purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell, or an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. There is no guarantee that any strategies discussed will be effective.

Furthermore, the information presented does not take into consideration commissions, tax implications, or other transactional costs, which may significantly affect the economic consequences of a given strategy or investment decision. This information is not intended as a recommendation to invest in any particular asset class or strategy or as a promise of future performance. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions or is suitable for all investors. Each investor should evaluate their ability to invest long term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Investors should not substitute these materials for professional services, and should seek advice from an independent advisor before acting on any information presented. Before investing, please carefully consider your willingness to take on risk and your financial ability to afford investment losses when deciding how much individual security exposure to have in your investment portfolio.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. There is a potential for loss as well as gain in investing. Stash does not represent in any manner that the circumstances described herein will result in any particular outcome. While the data and analysis Stash uses from third party sources is believed to be reliable, Stash does not guarantee the accuracy of such information. Nothing in this article should be considered as a solicitation or offer, or recommendation, to buy or sell any particular security or investment product or to engage in any investment strategy. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. Stash does not provide personalized financial planning to investors, such as estate, tax, or retirement planning. Investment advisory services are only provided to investors who become Stash Clients pursuant to a written Advisory Agreement. For more information please visit www.stashinvest.com/disclosures.