Money is one of the most important tools at your disposal. Education costs money. Anything you do will usually require you to use money. However, it’s pretty unwise to carry a ton of money on you at all times just in case you need to make a big purchase; that’s what a checking account is for, allowing you to spend your money freely at most places without having it on your person.
But not all checking accounts are created equal, and being a student, when money is tight, it is important to research your options. Here are some things you should consider when looking for a bank to open up an account, or even to evaluate your bank by in case you need to change.
Get a Free Account
We need to pay for food, books, rent, and so on. How ridiculous would it be if we also needed to add spending money to spend money on that list of necessities? When searching for a checking account to use, make sure you’re able to find a bank offering free checking accounts to college students.
A Large Network
Whether you are traveling from state the state or down the street to get to school and home, this is an important aspect to weigh when choosing a bank. You want to make sure there is a location you can go to whenever you need to handle something, from depositing a check to taking out a loan.
Even if you don’t move away from home, this is important to think about for one reason: ATM’s. Sometimes cash is a necessity. You don’t want to set up a bank account with a small bank that has no ATM’s in the city you live in and have to pay a fee each time you need to buy a bus pass. These fees may seem small, just a couple of dollars, but they can add up to a huge chunk of wasted money. Make sure your bank has a wide area of coverage for wherever you live or plan to go.
Online Checking Accounts
Check to see if your bank has an online checking account, or, at least, an app allowing you to view your information and handle your affairs with ease. Make sure you have money available at all times and that you have enough to do what you want to do. No one wants to have to call their bank or wait for a monthly bank statement to know what they have.
No Strings Attached
You do not want to work with a bank where they have certain rules to follow. This includes needing a minimum amount of money to open and maintain an account, needing to have a certain level of activity before they end your account, or even needing to jump through hoops like having a direct deposit or a monthly fee placed on your account. If your bank requires a lot from you to maintain your account, it is best to look someplace else.
Low To No Overdraft Fee
Sometimes you might make the mistake of buying something you can’t afford. If you do this, banks call this an overdraft and can cover the expense to avoid the hassle. The big issue with overdrafts is they require a fee, meaning you owe them money. Spending ten dollars over your checking account can cost thirty dollars. You essentially have to pay more money because you didn’t have enough money.
What’s worse is if the bank also has a late fee for not paying your overdraft fee on time. Overall, when searching for a bank, try and see if you can refuse overdraft protection, so your card is just declined in these situations, or, at least, make sure the overdraft fee is lower than twenty-five dollars.
An excellent resource to help narrow down what type of account works best for you is Nerd Wallet, which has a tool to help you find local and national banks and their perks for college students. And if you’re still extremely indecisive, Forbes has a list of the nine best checking accounts for students as a starting place. We here at Cool College Helpers can’t tell you which bank you need to use, but we do hope these tips have helped you know what to look for in the world of banking.