Intro: Finding the Best Student Accounts
We all wish that our children could stay young forever, but, sooner or later, they will hit their teen years. Part of being a teenager is learning how to be independent for the first time. Student bank accounts like student checking and savings accounts are great ways to teach teenagers independence without giving them too much leeway!
Students need to learn important skills necessary to enter adulthood, and part of being an adult is learning money management, which can be learned via managing their own student checking account.
Money management is a valuable skill that high school education does not typically place much emphasis on. It is your responsibility as a parent to teach your teen how bank accounts work.
As a parent, you already have enough to worry about when it comes to raising your child. Opening a student account is not something that will add additional hassle to your life – it is an easy process that will not take much time out of your busy schedule.
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What Are the Different Types of Student Bank Accounts?
Student bank accounts come in two different types. You have the option of choosing between student checking accounts or student savings accounts. Depending on your teenager’s needs, you may even need to open one of each.
A student checking account is primarily used for the everyday depositing and withdrawing of money while student savings accounts are meant to be used for long-term money management. Student savings accounts are popular for saving up for college expenses.
Who Is Eligible for Student Banking?
All children between the ages of 13–17 are eligible for a student account as long as they have an adult co-signer present. There are certain states, such as Alabama, that will allow kids up to 18 years old to hold a student account. Some banks may also allow students up to 23 years old to hold a student account as long as the student is actively enrolled in high school or college.
Other banks may require the adult co-signer to already have a pre-existing account before the bank will open a student checking account. It is important to check the specific requirements of the bank you are interested in before opening an account. Various banks will give you better deals depending on whether you are looking for a student account for a high schooler versus a college student. Shopping around banks is, therefore, highly recommended.
What Are Some Benefits of Student Checking Accounts?
Student checking accounts are great ways for preteens and teens to accumulate their earnings, such as birthday and holiday money. Teenagers oftentimes lack the self-control of an adult when it comes to money management.
Going with one of the best student checking accounts will allow the teen to deposit money and watch it grow in his/her account over time.
Some of the best Student checking accounts offered by banks also provide teens with a variety of life lessons, including teaching teenagers the value of a dollar, encouraging them to save up for that toy or gadget they really want, and preventing them from impulse-buying with cash.
It is easy to spend $20 on junk food when you have cash in your hand, but it is slightly harder to gain access to that money when it is deposited in a student account.
Parents also benefit from student checking accounts. Some banks allow parents to monitor their child’s bank account habits. Parents are given the ability to check on the account to see how much has been withdrawn and deposited in a certain period of time. This can be as easy as mobile updates sent to your smartphone or updates via email.
Parents also have the option of limiting how much money the student withdraws within a short amount of time. This is a great security feature because it won’t allow the child to use all of his/her deposited money on an impulse buy. The bank will notify the parent if the child is attempting to withdraw more money than he/she is able to in a given time frame.
Do Free Student Checking Accounts Exist?
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One of the biggest benefits of a student account is the fact that banks will waive the monthly service fees! Many banks charge monthly fees to cover the expenses that it takes to service your account monthly. Banks understand that children do not typically have a lot of money, so they do not charge children the same fees that they charge normal checking accounts.
Regular fees can be as low as $5–$10 a month and as high as $25 a month! Those fees add up fairly quickly over the course of a year. On the low end, that comes out to $60 a year in fees and on the high end, over $300 – far too much money for a student to be spending on fees!
Most banks will waive the monthly service fees if the child has a free student checking account with them, remains in high school or college, and is under the age requirement. After the child exceeds the age requirement for a free student checking account, the account will be converted into a normal checking account.
This is important to keep track of because those fees can easily creep up on the student. Teenagers may be so used to not paying account fees that they do not budget for the yearly $60–$300 in fees connected to normal checking accounts. There are ways to get around paying the fees associated with a normal checking account, so that is a good topic to discuss with your aging teenager.
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What Companies Offer the Best Student Checking Accounts?
There are lots of banks to choose from when it comes to picking one for a student checking account. Generally speaking, the bigger banks will offer more incentives for students. They want to attract teenagers into signing up when they are young because the student accounts will mature into regular checking accounts over time. These larger banks are also less selective with their clientele and appreciate business from anybody.
Local credit unions may offer student checking accounts, but you will have to check with your particular bank to see if that is a service that they offer. Local credit unions are convenient to bank with because they are located right in your hometown; however, they may not offer the same student account incentives as the bigger banks do. Local credit unions are also more selective with their clientele and may not want to bank with students until they are older.
Below are two major banks that, in no particular order, offer student checking accounts. If these big banks are in your area, you may want to look into using one for your teenager’s student account.
Bank of America
Bank of America offers its student checking accounts to any teenager below the age of 23. It also waives its monthly service fees for any teenager below the age of 23 that is currently enrolled in high school or college.
Bank of America allows teenagers to take advantage of the following features with student checking accounts:
- Easy application for a student credit card
- Ability to use a Bank of America debit card
- Mobile and online banking for any student checking accounts
- Paperless statements
Bank of America also helps students plan for college. It understands that students have not dealt with loans and personal finances in the past, so it offers a wide variety of resources to help educate them. Its planning tools allow students to:
- Plan a budget
- Identify what their loan repayment will look like
- Decide on how many scholarships they should be applying for
The security benefits that Bank of America offers are also top notch. Your teenager does not have to fear that his/her student account will be hacked or broken into because Bank of America offers the following security benefits:
- Fraud monitoring
- Photo security
- Chip technology
- Account change alerts
- $0 liability guarantee
Chase stands out from the other banks because it offers two different student checking accounts. It has one checking account for high school students and another for college students. Its high school account is aimed at students between the ages of 13 and 17 while its college student account is geared to students between the ages of 17 and 24.
A Chase high school student checking account has some fairly advantageous benefits, including the following:
- Access to 15,500 ATMs country-wide
- Access to 5,300 branches within the United States
- Ability to use a Chase debit card with chip technology
- 24/7 customer service over the telephone or the Internet
A Chase high school student checking account will not have any monthly service fees until the student reaches 19 years old. That means that if the teenager opens the student account between the ages of 13 and 17, he/she will have 2 years past the age of 17 with no service fees! Once the teenager reaches 19 years old, the account will automatically turn into a normal Chase banking account.
The Chase college student account, on the other hand, also has pretty great incentives for students. The college student account offers the following:
- Ability to use 15,500 ATMs and 5,300 branches throughout the United States
- Access to 24/7 customer service
No monthly fees for up to five years while in college
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What Is a Student Savings Account?
Student savings accounts certainly come in handy when it comes to saving up for college. A student savings account will also earn interest on the deposited money over time. This allows your investment to continue growing with minimal effort.
Student accounts also have limits on the number of times money can be withdrawn from them per month. A student savings account can only allow one to three withdrawals per month. This allows parents peace of mind in knowing that their teenagers will not withdraw all of their college money to spend on the newest electronics out on the market.
Parents can also set up an automatic deposits to their teenager’s savings account. Every week, month or year, the parent can automatically have their checking/savings account deposit money into their teenager’s account. This is a great way for parents to help save up for their kids’ education.
Parents may be thinking that a student savings account is expensive to maintain over time, but that is the beauty of opening a student account. Student accounts are generally fee-free. There may be a small opening fee associated with opening the account or a minimum amount of money that you must keep in the account. However, other than these two small stipulations, the best student savings accounts tend to not have any upkeep fees.
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