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Student Checking Accounts

Student Checking Accounts

by Mr. Checking

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Many banks offer special checking accounts for students. These can be a great way to begin learning financial independence. Many people today do not even know how to balance a check book. A surprising number of students believe that if you have checks, you have money. Parents can use the student accounts available to begin teaching high school students money management. College students can take advantage of the many benefits offered to students by financial institutions. Most offer no fees and no minimum balance, which can allow for a learning curve that might not be as steep as it could be if fees were involved, or if the student had to worry about a keeping a minimum balance.

Advantages of a Student Account

While most student checking accounts offer no fees and no minimum balance, a number of other benefits are available at various institutions. For example, many offer some if not all of the following:
• Free online banking
• Free online bill pay
• Free direct deposit
• Free ATM check card
• Free ATM usage
• Overdraft privileges
These are all great benefits, as they allow for a less stressful environment in which to learn financial management. It makes for simpler bank reconciliation, as well as reducing the chance that there will be an overdraft difficulty due to not remembering some sort of fee. However, it is important that it is known and remembered that these benefits often disappear when the account holder no longer holds student status.

What to Consider When Choosing a Student Account

Benefits

Of course the account with the most benefits is the clear winner in most circumstances. Be sure that you shop around and find the student account that offers most if not all of the perks listed above.

Location

Location can be an important consideration as well. If parents are going to need to make deposits, and the student is in college in a different town, it would be helpful if there were a branch in both locations. Also, if the account is opened when the student is in high school, but the student plans to attend college, some thought should be given as to whether or not there could be a branch in the town where they will be attending college. Changing banks can be a pain and it would be a major plus if the transition from high school to college could be made without having to change banks.

Joint vs. Individual

Another thing to consider is whether or not anyone else is going to be named on the account. Especially in the case of a high school student, parents often opt to open a joint account so that they can monitor the student’s finances. This can be useful for teaching and monitoring financial responsibility. Often the bills being paid out of these accounts are in the parent’s names, and a joint account can allow for the student paying the bill, while still keeping the parent in the know about whether or not bills that affect their credit are actually being paid.
Lastly, consider the account that it will become when the student graduates. What types of fees and minimum balance will be required? What benefits will be lost? The types of non-student accounts that the bank offers should be considered as well, as that is likely the account that it will become.

Do Your Research

The internet can be a useful tool in researching what student accounts are available in the area without ever leaving your home. Even the smallest of financial institutions these days have a website. Start online, find a few you want to research further, and then visit in person.
Student checking accounts are like checking accounts with training wheels. They are excellent learning tools and can offer great advantages to students. It is important to remember, however, that when the account holder is no longer a student, the training wheels are coming off, like it or not.

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