Introduction: Which is The Best Student Account? Chase or Wells Fargo or Citibank?

Money management during the college years can be difficult.  On top of paying tuition expenses that rise every year, you also have to pay for rent, too many textbooks, and if there is any money left over, it’s nice to be able to eat once in a while as well. 

The best student bank accounts offer simple benefits that make it easier for you to manage your money, despite the hectic pace of college life.

Furthermore, student accounts even offer certain perks to help you improve your financial well-being. 

The majority of banks and credit unions usually offer some sort of student bank account, especially if they have branches located in a college town. 

With so many different options out there, however, how do you know which of the many student bank accounts is for you?

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In this brief article, AdvisoryHQ will look at the definition of student bank accounts and student checking accounts.

We will then go on to list some of the potential benefits of deciding to open a student account before explaining some of the qualities of the best student account that you should be looking for.  

We’ll then go on to explore the pros and cons of three of the best student accounts available today: the Chase Bank Student Account, the Wells Fargo Student Account, and the Citibank Student Checking Account. 

See Also: Finding the Best High-Interest Checking Accounts & High-Interest Online Savings Accounts

What Are Student Bank Accounts and Student Checking Accounts?

A student bank account is simply an account offered by a bank that is directed toward college-aged students.  Some college campuses have banks on campus, and these banks advertise the best student bank accounts they have available. 

While the best student bank accounts or student checking accounts may not differ that much from a regular bank account or checking account, there are certain differences and perks that are designed to make financial life a bit easier for students.

Every bank or credit union that offers student bank accounts will have different perks and benefits for student accounts, but the two main things that most student bank accounts offer are little to no fees and easy access to your money. 

Banks willingly offer these two extra perks in their best student bank accounts to try and convince students to continue banking with them after they graduate. 

Benefits of Student Accounts

College students aren’t known for having a lot of extra savings. Rather, most people build up a sizeable amount of debt through student loans throughout the course of their college education. 

While loans and scholarships might pay for a part of one’s education, many college students find that they have to balance classes with a full-time job simply to be able to pay the numerous other costs that come with a college education. 

Banks offering student bank accounts understand these financial limitations, and the best student accounts will offer certain benefits that will help make the financial stress of college life a little bit easier to handle. 

Most banks will offer student bank accounts with little to no monthly fees.  When you’re so low on cash that you’re skipping meals, the monthly fees charged by most regular bank accounts can hurt you financially.

Furthermore, since most college students aren’t expert budgeters, you should also not be charged excessive ATM fees on your student checking account if you need to take a quick trip to the ATM to get some cash for breakfast. 

Besides offering no-fee student accounts, the best student account will also offer easy access to your cash. 

While regular savings accounts only allow you a maximum of six free transactions per month, a student bank account, and especially a student checking account, should offer you unlimited access to your money without any sort of hidden fees. 

By being able to access their money without any sort of hindrances or penalties through the best student bank accounts, college students can worry less about the specifics of their money management and more about those dreaded upcoming final exams. 

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What to Look for in a Student Bank Account

When searching for the best student bank accounts out there, be sure to consider the following four criteria. 

While you may spend a little more time than you wanted searching for the best student account, you will end up benefitting and probably saving yourself lots of time by finding the student account that’s right for you. 

  • Fees: As we mentioned above, make sure that the student checking account you open doesn’t come with any hidden fees.  Banks can charge a whole host of fees on regular checking accounts, including monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees, transaction fees, etc.  The best student account should offer completely free checking to help you save every precious nickel and dime. 
  • Liquidity: Student bank accounts should offer you completely unfettered access to your money.  That means that student bank accounts should have no limit on monthly (or daily) transactions and also shouldn’t have any sort of ATM fees.  Most banks will charge ATM transaction fees if you withdraw cash from an out-of-network ATM. 

Be sure to ask the bank offering the where their ATMs are located.If you have to drive all the way across town simply to access your money without a charge, then that is obviously not the for you.On-campus banks most likely offer with plenty of ATMs on and around campus to give you the best access to your money.

  • Location, Location, Location: The best student bank account should be offered by a bank with plenty of locations near campus or near where you live.  While on-campus banks may be the best option, if they only have one branch located on campus, you may have to wait in long lines while many other students also use the same student bank account. 
  • Overdraft penalties: No-fee banking doesn’t mean that you won’t have to pay a fine if you regularly bounce a check.  Even the best student bank accounts will require you to have some sort of financial responsibility and not use more money than what you have saved up in your student account.

However, the best student account for you may offer some leniency when it comes to overdraft fees. 

Banks may understand that as a college student, there may be times when you lose track of your finances or need to spend a little more a certain month to cover a needed expense. 

The best student account may allow you to open a savings account alongside your student checking account.  If you overdraw a certain month, the bank may take those extra funds from your savings account, saving you from having to pay excessive (and damaging) overdraft fees.

While some banks may offer certain freebies for opening new student bank accounts (such as free movie passes, coupon booklets, etc.), it’s best to not base your decision on those one-time freebies. 

Banks want you, and they’ll often offer all sorts of perks to draw your attention.  Make sure that you focus on what really matters when choosing the best student bank accounts.

Related: Top Ways to Open a Checking Account Online for Free with Bad or Good Credit

Pros and Cons of the Chase Student Account and the Chase Student Checking Account

If you are ready to start searching for the best student bank accounts out there, below we offer three of the top student bank accounts offered by big name banks that most likely have branches located near your campus. 

The Chase Student Account is one of the best student bank accounts because of the perks and benefits that it offers.  The Chase Bank Student Account offers great access to your money, with over 16,000 ATM machines and 5,200 branches nationwide. 

Furthermore, the Chase Student Account also offers you a debit card accepted almost anywhere and a quality mobile banking app. 

With the Chase Bank Student Account, you can sign up for free online bill pay through your Chase Student Checking Account so that you don’t forget to pay rent or tuition month to month. 

While the Chase Student Account does charge a $6 dollar monthly fee, you can get that fee waived if you have been in college for five years or more, have a direct deposit set up into that account, or have a $5,000 average daily balance. If you can meet any of these three criteria, the Chase Bank Student Account is effectively fee-free.

Chase Bank also offers a Chase Student Checking Account for high schoolers aged 13-17. A parent has to be a co-signer on this account, but the monthly fee can also be waived if direct deposit is set up.  When the minor turns 19, his or her Chase Student Checking Account will automatically become a regular Chase checking account.

Pros and Cons of the Wells Fargo Student Account

The Wells Fargo Student Account is widely considered to be the best student account out there, especially if you want the freedom and flexibility that comes with the ability to freely send and receive money. 

The Wells Fargo Student Account allows you to send money to your roommates (or receive money from your parents) simply and easily with nothing more than their telephone number. 

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Furthermore, this best student account offers a $5 monthly fee discount as well as great access to your money. They have over 13,000 ATMs around the country and 6,000 brick-and-mortar branches.  Furthermore, they offer a convenient mobile app that allows you to do your banking wherever you are, even during class. 

If a Wells Fargo bank is located near your campus, the Wells Fargo Student Account may very well be the best option for your student bank account.  The only negative aspect to this account is that there is a $10 monthly fee ($5 after the discount), which students may not want to pay. 

Pros and Cons of the Citibank Student Account and Citibank Student Checking Account

The Citibank Student Checking Account is another of the top student accounts available to college students.  The Citibank student account allows you to receive funds through an easy-to-set-up direct deposit program.  While there are no fees associated with this student bank account, once you graduate, Citibank may automatically change your student checking account into a premium checking account, which does have heavy fees, unless you request otherwise.

How the Best Student Bank Accounts Can Work for You as a Student

Taking the time to search for the best student bank accounts may seem like just another time-consuming errand that is hard to fit into your busy college schedule. 

However, the best student account can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of your college education and leave you financially prepared for when you eventually graduate. 

Whether you choose the Chase Student Account, the Citibank Student Account, the Wells Fargo Student Account, or some other best student account out there, finding an account that won’t charge you fees and gives you good access to your money will help facilitate your money management throughout college. 

Read More: Best Bank Accounts for Bad Credit | How to Find Great Accounts When You Have Bad Credit

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