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HomeTop Global NewsBest Student Checking Accounts of November 2023

Best Student Checking Accounts of November 2023


Opening a student checking account is a great way to establish some financial independence, but many banks charge maintenance fees that can cost you up to $15 a month if you don’t meet certain requirements.

However, students enrolled in high school, college, vocational programs and other eligible educational studies can qualify to have the monthly fees waived.

CNBC Select analyzed and compared dozens of checking accounts offered by online and brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions that charge zero monthly maintenance fees for eligible students. All accounts on our list also offer other perks, like low initial deposit requirements, FDIC insurance, access to thousands of free ATMs and mobile check deposits. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best checking accounts.)

Best student checking accounts

Best for college students

Chase College Checking℠

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Minimum balance

    $5,000 to waive monthly service fee

  • Monthly fee

    $6 monthly service fee; no monthly service fee for up to 5 years if you’re a student between the ages of 17 to 24 at account opening with proof of student status

  • Free ATM network

    More than 15,000 Chase ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursement

  • Overdraft fee

    With Chase Overdraft Assist℠, Chase doesn’t charge an Overdraft Fee if you’re overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you’re overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day (you have until 11 PM ET, 8 PM PT, to make a deposit or transfer). Chase Overdraft Assist does not require enrollment and comes with eligible Chase checking accounts

  • Mobile check deposit

Pros

  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • Overdraft assistance
  • Top-rated mobile app
  • Chase is no. 2 on J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. National Banking Satisfaction Study
  • Send and receive money with Zelle®

Cons

  • No APY
  • Monthly fees, but there are options to waive
  • No reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees

Who’s this for? College students 17 to 24 who show proof of student status at account opening can benefit from zero monthly service fees for up to five years with the Chase College Checking℠ Account. After the five-year period, the monthly fee is $6, which is waived if you make one direct deposit each month or maintain an average daily balance of at least $5,000.

Standout benefits: Chase is known for offering new account holder bonuses and currently, new Chase College Checking℠ account customers can earn $100 after completing 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of coupon enrollment.

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Best for teens

Capital One MONEY Checking Account

Information about the Capital One MONEY Checking Account has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. Capital One is a Member FDIC.

  • Monthly maintenance fee

  • Minimum deposit to open

  • Minimum balance

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Free ATM network

    70,000+ fee-free Capital One® and Allpoint® ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursement

  • Overdraft fee

  • Mobile check deposit

Pros

  • Top-rated mobile app
  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • 0.10% APY on all account balances
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Parents can set up text alerts and email notifications for account activity
  • No. 4 on J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. National Banking Satisfaction Study

Cons

  • Must switch accounts at 18
  • No reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees

Who’s this for? Students who are under 18 can open the Capital One MONEY Checking Account as a joint account holder with their parent or legal guardian. This account is designed for teens, but any child 8 to 18 can be a joint account holder.

Standout benefits: There is no minimum to open the MONEY account and you earn 0.10% APY on all balances. Parents or legal guardians who are joint account holders can set up text alerts and email notifications for card transactions and account activity to stay on top of their kid’s spending. 

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Best for rewards

Discover Cashback Debit Account

Discover Bank is a Member FDIC.

  • Monthly maintenance fee

  • Minimum deposit to open

  • Minimum balance

  • Rewards

    1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month

  • Free ATM network

    60,000+ Allpoint® and MoneyPass® ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursement

  • Overdraft fee

  • Mobile check deposit

Pros

  • Top-rated mobile app
  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month
  • Opt-in to free overdraft protection
  • No overdraft fees

Cons

  • No reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees

Who’s this for? If you want to earn cash-back rewards on your debit card purchases, the Discover Cashback Debit Account has you covered. This checking account offers customers with 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month, acting similar to a credit card.

Standout benefits: No minimum deposit is required to open this account, and overdraft protection is free. Plus this account has no monthly maintenance fees, regardless of your age and student status.

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Best for saving

Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking®

  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $0 for eligible students under 25

  • Minimum deposit to open

  • Minimum balance

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Free ATM network

  • ATM fee reimbursement

  • Overdraft fee

  • Mobile check deposit

Pros

  • Top-rated mobile app
  • No overdraft fees
  • Savings program that rounds up debit card purchases and transfers the difference to your savings account

Cons

  • $25 minimum deposit to open an account
  • No APY
  • No reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees

Who’s this for? With the Bank of America Advantage Banking accounts, you can choose which account setting works for you.

Standout benefits: With the Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking® Account, you can enroll in Keep the Change®, which can help you save more with purchases you make with your debit card. This savings program rounds up debit card transactions to the nearest dollar and transfers the difference from your checking to your savings account, which is a simple way to save.

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More on our top checking accounts for students

Chase College Checking℠ Account

The Chase College Checking account is a great option for students looking for a big bank with plenty of ATMs and no account fees for the time they’re in school. There’s no deposit required to open this account, and you’ll also pay no monthly maintenance fee on a Chase Savings℠ account linked to this account for overdraft protection.

Welcome bonus

New Chase College Checking℠ account customers can earn $100 after completing 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of coupon enrollment.

Fees

  • Monthly Service Fee: $0 or $6
  • Overdraft Fees: $34
  • ATM Fees at Chase ATMs: $0
  • ATM Fees at Non-Chase ATMs: $3 to $5

Notable perks

Chase has more than 15,000 fee-free ATMs and more than 4,700 branches across the U.S. The Chase College Checking Account also offers a mobile check deposit feature as well as overdraft protection that doesn’t charge you fees if you overdraft by less than $50 or gives you until the end of the next business day to correct it.

Chase also allows you to monitor and manage your money through the Chase Mobile® app and helps you check and build your credit score through Chase Credit Journey®.

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Capital One MONEY Checking Account

With the Capital One MONEY Checking Account, once you turn 18 you can opt to switch to another Capital One checking account, such as the Capital One 360 Checking® Account (which ranks number one on our list of the best no-fee checking accounts). The 360 Checking account has no monthly maintenance fees whatsoever, so there’s no need to worry about meeting balance or deposit requirements. When you change accounts, the balance from your MONEY account will transfer, too.

Welcome bonus

None

Fees

$0 for ages 8 to 18

Notable perks

Capital One has over 450 branch locations and provides access to over 70,000+ fee-free Capital One® and Allpoint® ATMs. While there are no paper checks with this account, you can still deposit checks you receive. There are no deposit requirements for this account meaning you will never have to worry about meeting a minimum balance to avoid fees or extra charges. Once you turn 18, you can easily switch to the Capital One 360 Checking Account.

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Discover Cashback Debit Account

Since Discover is an online bank, there are no physical locations. However, Discover provides 100% U.S.-based customer service representatives who are available 24/7 and have access to over 60,000 fee-free Allpoint and MoneyPass ATMs.

Welcome bonus

1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month

Fees

$30 service charge for each outgoing wire transfer from your Discover bank account

Notable perks

The Discover Cashback Debit Account allows customers to receive funds from direct deposits up to two days early. The account also grants you access to the Discover® App which allows you to complete many of your banking needs from your smartphone. The account also has comprehensive fraud protection and is FDIC-insured up to the maximum amount allowed by law which is $250,000 for an individual account.

You can redeem cash back as a deposit into a Discover checking, savings or money market account or transfer it to a linked Discover credit card.

[ Return to account summary ]

Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking®

The Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking® Account has no monthly maintenance fees if you’re under 25 and enrolled in a high school, college, university or vocational program. Otherwise, the fee is $4.95 per month, unless you’re enrolled in Preferred Rewards, Bank of America’s program that allows users to benefit from increased interest earnings and rewards if you have a three-month average balance of $20,000 or more in Bank of America deposit and/or Merrill investment accounts.

Welcome bonus

None

Fees

$0 for eligible students under 25

Notable perks

You won’t receive paper checks, but you can still easily deposit checks you receive. This account has no overdraft fees and doesn’t come with overdraft coverage. Instead, Bank of America will decline transactions exceeding your available checking account balance.

There is a $100 minimum deposit required to open this account. Consumers can visit over 4,200 Bank of America locations across the U.S. and access over 16,000 fee-free ATMs. The SafeBalance banking account also allows users to access the Bank of America Spending & Budgeting tool which can be a great resource for students.

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How to choose a student checking account

Fees

An important thing to keep in mind when choosing your student checking account is the types of fees that you might encounter. While all of these checking accounts listed will have no inherent monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, there still might be some fees such as overdraft or ATM fees.

User experience

If you value mobile banking you’ll want to find the bank that offers the best app, smartphone and web experience. Some of that comes down to personal preference or familiarity, and while all of the banks listed have mobile apps, some have more robust or specific features you might be looking for. It’s also important to make sure the website is easy to use and contains any features that you would use frequently such as paying your bills or checking statements.

Transferring money

Another quality you might be looking for is the ease of sending and receiving money to friends and family. Chase offers Zelle which allows you to transfer money directly through the Chase app and website. Zelle has partnered with over 2,000 banks making it widely available for students.

FAQs

What is a student checking account?

A student checking account is a checking account with special benefits, such as no monthly maintenance fees, for students enrolled in high school, college, vocational programs and other eligible educational studies. Unlike a child or teen account, student checking accounts don’t require an adult co-owner.

Is it worth getting a student bank account?

It’s definitely worth getting a student bank account if you qualify as there are generally no monthly fees associated with these accounts. Plus, banks sometimes offer welcome bonuses for new members, meaning extra cash in your pocket.

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

You generally must be between 17 and 24 years old and enrolled in high school, college or vocational programs to open a student bank account. You’ll also need to provide a government-issued photo ID, Social Security number, proof of student status (i.e. a student ID) and expected graduation date.

How many student bank accounts are you allowed?

It is totally possible to open multiple student bank accounts. In fact, it can be smart to do so if you want to take advantage of multiple sign-up bonuses.

What happens to my student bank account when I graduate?

Student bank accounts will typically be automatically converted into regular checking accounts after graduating. This means that you may be subject to the usual monthly maintenance fees.

Bottom line

Student checking accounts are a great way for people in school to have access to a bank account with no monthly fees and low deposit requirements. Many of the top student checking accounts offer valuable perks, such as welcome bonuses, the ability to earn APY on your balance and continuing financial education options.

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Why trust CNBC Select?

Our methodology

To determine which checking accounts provide the best place to deposit your money for students, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of U.S. checking accounts offered by online and brick-and-mortar banks, including major credit unions. We narrowed down our rankings by only considering checking accounts that charge no monthly maintenance fees for students.

While the accounts we chose in this article consistently have no monthly maintenance fees for eligible students, we also compared each checking account on a range of features, including:

  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Low initial deposit of $0 to $50
  • Available nationwide
  • Physical branch locations and/or online accessibility
  • Large ATM network
  • Ease of use and account accessibility
  • Customer reviews, when available

All of the accounts included on this list are Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insured up to $250,000. This insurance protects and reimburses you up to your balance and the legal limit in the event your bank or credit union fails.

The rates and fee structures for checking accounts are subject to change without notice and they often fluctuate in accordance with the prime rate.

Your earnings depend on any associated fees and the balance you have in your checking account. To open an account, some banks and institutions may require a deposit of new money, meaning you can’t transfer money you already had in an account at that bank. However, the five accounts listed above currently don’t require any deposit during account opening.

Catch up on CNBC Select’s in-depth coverage of credit cardsbanking and money, and follow us on TikTokFacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.





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