Best Banks for Students

These student bank accounts can help you or your child get started

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A student bank account is a checking, savings, or other financial account, typically offering lower fees and convenience features geared toward students. Banks, credit unions, or other financial institutions offer these student-specific accounts for both high school and college students with some available to younger students as well.

Student bank accounts should offer student-friendly features like no fees, online and mobile banking options, ample ATM access, and more. Some may even offer student financial education, such as access to financial coaches or online webinars. Overall, the best student bank accounts make it easy to sign up, deposit funds, and manage your account from anywhere.

Best Banks for Students of 2021

Best Overall : Chase


Chase Bank

Chase Bank

  • Ages (range): 13-24 years old
  • Monthly fees: None ($6/month after graduation)
  • Minimum balance required: $0
Why We Chose It

Chase offers a wide range of bank account options for both college and high school students with no fees or minimum balance and access to nationwide ATMs. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • High school- and college-specific accounts

  • No fees or minimum balance (while a student)

  • Access to nationwide ATMs

  • User-friendly mobile app

  • Cash-back credit card for students

Cons
  • Minimal interest rates on savings accounts

  • Overdraft protection not available for high school student accounts

Overview

Chase is one of the largest banks in the U.S., with branches and ATMs available nationwide. It offers no-fee checking and savings accounts to high school and college students ages 13 to 24 years old. The Chase College Checking Account offers up to five years of fee-free service while students are enrolled in college classes as well as the ability to attach a no-fee savings account.

For high school students ages 13 to 17, there is the Chase High School Checking account that also offers no fees or minimum balance to maintain. This account requires a co-owners (usually a parent) but gives high school students access to a debit card.

Chase has a large network of ATMs and in-person branches, with 16,000 ATMs available and over 4,700 branches for personalized service. The Chase mobile app is user-friendly and allows students to completely manage their accounts online. Chase accounts also offer integration with Zelle, which allows users to send and receive money online.

In addition to the checking and savings accounts for students, Chase offers the Chase Freedom Student Card, which offers cash back on purchases, as well as a signup bonus.

Best for High School Students : CapitalOne


Capital One
  • Ages (range): 8-18 years old
  • Monthly fees: None
  • Minimum balance required: $0
Why We Chose It

The CapitalOne MONEY account is specifically geared toward students under age 18, offering fee-free checking, a debit card, and access via the CapitalOne mobile app. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No fees or minimum balance required

  • Access to nationwide ATMs

  • User-friendly mobile app

  • Parental account controls available

  • Higher interest rates than traditional checking accounts

Cons
  • Very few CapitalOne physical branches available

  • No physical checks available

Overview

CapitalOne is a large U.S. bank without many physical locations but offers competitive interest rates on its savings and checking accounts. The CapitalOne MONEY Teen Checking account is available for those ages 8 to 18, which gives students access to a checking account with a debit card and pays 0.1% interest on deposited funds. 

This account requires a parent or guardian co-owner, and students can fully manage the account via the CapitalOne mobile app. Parents can set up account alerts and have the ability to lock the debit card, giving parents ultimate control of the joint account.

CapitalOne doesn’t have many traditional branches but offers “CapitalOne Cafes” where clients can do in-person banking as well as use it as a co-working space. There are also financial coaching sessions available for financial education, perfect for teens just learning to manage their money.

CapitalOne has a large network of ATMs, with over 70,000 ATMs available nationwide, most of them through partners Allpoint and MoneyPass. The CapitalOne mobile app is well designed and allows both parents and students to manage the MONEY Teen account.

After students turn 18, they have the option of converting the existing MONEY Teen account to a regular CapitalOne account.

Best for College Students : U.S. Bank


U.S. Bank logo

U.S. Bank logo

  • Ages (range): 18+ years old
  • Monthly fees: None
  • Minimum balance required: $25
Why We Chose It

U.S. Bank offers a fee-free checking account with a Visa debit card for college students, including Zelle payments, plus on-campus banking services at over 40 schools around the U.S.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No account fees

  • First checkbook free

  • On-campus college student banking program available

Cons
  • $25 initial deposit required

  • Hefty overdraft fees ($36 per incident)

  • On-campus banking only available at select schools

Overview

U.S. Bank is a large national bank with over 3,000 branches throughout the U.S. The U.S. Bank Student Checking Account is available to college students ages 18 and older, which gives students access to a no-fee checking account with a debit card, as well as the first checkbook for free.

U.S. Bank has a unique on-campus program available at over 40 schools in 16 states. This program allows students to link their student ID to their checking account and make purchases on campus, as well as use ATMs with their student ID. There is also access to financial education through the campus banking program.

If you don’t attend one of these schools, the U.S. Bank Student Checking Account still offers no-fee checking, mobile deposits, a simple-to-use mobile app, and money transfers with Zelle. There are also 4,800 U.S. Bank ATMs available nationwide, and even waived fees for non-U.S. Bank ATMs (up to four transactions per statement period).

Best Online Bank : Ally


Ally Bank

 Ally Bank

  • Ages (range): 18+ years old
  • Monthly fees: None
  • Minimum balance required: $0
Why We Chose It

Ally offers no-fee checking and savings accounts, including industry-leading interest rates and a suite of online money management tools built in.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No fees or minimum balance for accounts

  • User-friendly mobile app with budgeting features

  • High interest rates on savings accounts

  • ATM fee refunds

Cons
  • No physical locations

Overview

Ally is a completely online bank with no physical locations, but it comes with a suite of money management tools and no-fee accounts. Ally offers checking and savings accounts to students who are ages 18 and older, which include mobile deposits, bill pay, and unique money tools like its "savings buckets" feature.

Ally is great for students who want a completely digital banking experience, and its mobile app is very well designed, allowing users to deposit checks, transfer money (via Zelle), as well as create separate savings buckets for different goals.

Ally also partners with Allpoint for access to over 55,000 ATMs nationwide. If users use a non-Allpoint ATM, Ally will reimburse up to $10 per statement period as well.

Best for Savings : Bank of America


Bank of America

Bank of America

  • Ages (range): 18-23 years old
  • Monthly fees: None ($4.95 after graduation)
  • Minimum balance required: $0
Why We Chose It

Bank of America offers its Advantage SafeBalance account that includes no-fee checking for students under the age of 24, as well as the Keep the Change program that rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar into a savings account.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Change round-up feature for automatic savings

  • Overdraft protection

  • Built-in budgeting features

Cons
  • $4.95 maintenance fee after graduation

Overview

Bank of America is one of the oldest and largest banks in the U.S., with over 4,000 financial centers and 17,000 ATMs nationwide. Bank of America offers its Advantage SafeBalance checking account as a no-fee option with overdraft protection for students. Instead of triggering an overdraft of your account and being charged a sizable fee, the debit card will simply be declined if the money is not available.

Bank of America encourages saving with its Keep the Change program, which automatically rounds up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the change into a linked savings account. This helps users get into the habit of saving money with minimal effort. 

The Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance account also comes with tech-savvy features, such as mobile deposit, mobile app, and the ability to transfer money with Zelle. There are also basic, built-in budgeting features within the Bank of America mobile app, helping students track and manage where their money goes.

Enrolled students up to age 24 are eligible for the free account, but the Advantage SafeBalance account charges a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee after graduation.

Best for Multiple Accounts : PNC Bank


PNC Bank logo

PNC Bank logo

  • Ages (range): 16+ years old
  • Monthly fees: None ($7/month after 6 years)
  • Minimum balance required: $0
Why We Chose It

PNC Bank offers a bundle of accounts for students with a $0 minimum deposit if opened online and no fees for up to six years for students that are actively enrolled in classes.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Fee-free checking and savings accounts for students

  • ATM fees reimbursed (up to $5 per statement period)

  • Interest-bearing checking and savings account

Cons
  • $36 overdraft charge fee

  • Physical locations not available in all states

  • Service fees kick in after graduation

Overview

PNC Bank offers a bundle of accounts for students in its Virtual Wallet Student. It comes with a checking account, interest-bearing checking account, and high-interest savings account for long-term savings goals. The accounts are nicknamed Spend, Reserve, and Growth, respectively. PNC’s mobile app integrates these three accounts to help students learn to manage money, save for bills, and set financial goals. This account is available as early as age 16, though students under age 18 will need a parent or guardian to sign up as an account co-owner.

PNC also offers access to over 2,000 physical branches and 9,000 ATMs in 24 states, plus a $5-per-statement reimbursement for ATM fees outside of its network.

After six years, the Virtual Wallet Student account will be converted to a standard Virtual Wallet account, which charges a $7 monthly maintenance fee if deposit or balance requirements are not met.

Best for Rewards : Discover


Discover Bank

Discover Bank

  • Ages (range): 18+ years old
  • Monthly fees: None
  • Minimum balance required: $0
Why We Chose It

Discover offers a fee-free checking account with a cash-back debit card along with no minimum balance requirements and no overdraft fees.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Cash-back debit card, earning 1% on purchases

  • Also offers no-fee rewards credit card for students

  • Huge selection of nationwide ATMs through Allpoint and MoneyPass

Cons
  • No physical locations

  • Does not reimburse ATM fees

Overview

Discover is an online bank (and credit card issuer) that offers a fee-free checking account with a cash-back debit card, paying 1% interest on the first $3,000 in purchases each month. This can add up to $360 in rewards per year. 

While Discover doesn’t offer any physical branch services, all banking functions can be done online or through its easy-to-use mobile app. Mobile deposits, bill pay, and money transfers via Zelle are all available through the mobile app and website.

Discover doesn’t have any of its own ATMs but partners with the Allpoint and MoneyPass ATM networks, giving users access to over 60,000 ATMs nationwide without any fees. Other ATMs may support withdrawals, but Discover does not reimburse fees.

Overdraft fees are non-existent, helping protect users from costly charges. There are also no minimum deposit or balance requirements, and Discover does not charge any monthly fees, making them a great low-cost bank account option.

Final Verdict

There are plenty of reputable banks that offer great banking options for students; finding the best fit for your needs depends on what you are looking for. For flexible, low-fee account options, PNC, CapitalOne, and Ally all offer fee-free checking and savings accounts to help students manage both their daily expenses and savings goals. For boosting your savings and earning rewards, Bank of America and Discover offer accounts that let users earn rewards and boost their savings accounts. 

Chase, our choice for best overall, continues to offer the widest range of account options for both high school and college students. And, with its nationwide availability and well-designed mobile app, it offers the best of online and in-person banking for all students.

Compare the Best Banks for Students

Company Age Requirement  Fees  Minimum Deposit  ATMs Nationwide (y/n) 
Chase
Best Overall
13 to 24 None ($6/month after graduation) $0 Y
CapitalOne
Best for High School Students 
8 to 18  None  $0 
U.S. Bank
Best for College Students 
18+  None  $25 
Ally
Best Online Bank 
18+  None  $0 
Bank of America
Best for Savings 
18 to 23  None ($4.95/month after graduation)  $0 
PNC Bank
Best for No or Low Fees 
16+  None ($7.00/month after 6 years)  $0  N
Discover
Best for Rewards 
18+  None  $0 

Guide for Choosing the Best Banks for Students

Should You Get a Student Bank Account for Your Child? 

Although it might be uncomfortable to open a bank account for your child or to hand them a debit card with no restrictions, opening a student bank account is one of the best ways to help teach them the basics of personal finance. 

  • They will learn how to manage their own money. From learning how to deposit paychecks to setting up bill pay, a student bank account can help teach a child the responsibility of managing their finances.
  • Student bank accounts offer protections. From overdraft protection to parental oversight and control, many student bank accounts allow students the freedom to manage their finances with guardrails in place. This helps them make mistakes without big financial consequences.
  • Students can learn to save money. Saving money is a habit, and the sooner a child learns to do this, the more the habit will stick. Many student bank accounts offer a linked savings account and can help students get into the habit of setting aside money in that account.

Overall, the sooner a student starts taking on the responsibility of managing their money, the better they will be as they get older and become more independent.  

Comparing Banks for Students

When comparing bank account, there are a few things student will want to consider before signing up:

  • Age requirements. While some banks allow students as young as eight years old to apply (with a parent/guardian), others aren’t available until age 18. Knowing which banks offer accounts for your age group is important before applying.
  • Fees. While most student banks offer fee-free checking and savings accounts, this may not always be the case. Make sure to understand the fee structure (and requirements) before signing up for any bank account.
  • ATM access. Withdrawing cash without being charged a fee is important, so understanding which ATMs are available within your bank’s network can potentially save you a lot of money.
  • Parental controls. If you have a younger student who wants access to their own account, it’s important to know what type of parental controls are available. 
  • Mobile app. Mobile banking is becoming more and more popular, and most high-quality student bank accounts offer a full-featured mobile app. Being able to deposit checks digitally, transfer money, and make payments should all be functions of the bank’s mobile app.

Overall, it’s important to think about how you plan on managing your money before selecting a student bank account. Make sure all of the features you require are available (with no fees) before signing up.

Opening a Bank Account for Your Student

To open a student bank account, most banks allow users to sign up online. If you prefer an in-person experience, make sure the bank you want to open an account with has a local branch near you.

To open a student bank account, students will typically need to provide a photo ID such as a passport or driver’s license and their Social Security number. For some student accounts, you may also need to present your school ID as proof of your enrollment as a student. For applicants under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian will need to register as a co-owner.

While some banks don’t require a deposit, others have a minimum deposit amount to open the account. This may require connecting to another online bank account and transferring the funds into the student account. For in-person banking, this may be done by presenting cash or a check.

Once the account is opened, students can create an online username and password for access via the web or a mobile app. Students are encouraged to download the bank’s mobile app, as features like mobile deposit may only be available via the app. Debit cards will typically be mailed to the student, which will need to be activated once received.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Are the Costs Involved With Banks for Students?

While most student bank accounts don’t come with any fees, there may be a minimum deposit amount required to open the account. Some student bank accounts also come with overdraft fees, which can be upwards of $30 if the account is overdrawn. If you write checks from a student bank account, checks may be an additional fee as well.

ATM fees may apply for using an ATM outside of the bank’s network, though some accounts will reimburse these fees. For less common transactions, such as cashier’s checks and wire transfers, each bank has its own fee structure, and we recommend reviewing all of the account fees before signing up.

What Is the Minimum Age Requirement for Banks for Students?

Student bank account minimum age requirements vary by bank, with some allowing students as young as eight years old to apply. Some also have maximum age requirements, when the account no longer qualifies as a “student” account and may be converted to a standard bank account.

Always check with your bank on the age requirements before signing up for any student bank account.

Can Banks for Students Help With Financial Education?

While learning to use a bank account is a form of financial education in itself, some banks go above and beyond and offer financial education for students. U.S. Bank, for example, has an on-campus banking program that includes free financial coaching. CapitalOne Cafes also offer free financial coaching sessions.

Some student-focused bank accounts offer online webinars, as well as robust user education sections on the web, giving students access to learn more about topics like budgeting, debt payoff, and investing.

How Do You Open a Bank Account as a Student?

In order to open any bank account, you will typically need some form of photo ID (such as a driver’s license or passport) and your Social Security number. Many banks let you open accounts online, but you can also do so by visiting a branch.

Another requirement may be having a minimum starting deposit to open the account, which can be done with cash or with money transferred from another banking institution. For student-specific accounts, you may also have to show proof that you are indeed a student. 

For younger student/teen accounts, a parent or guardian will usually have to set up and be a co-owner on the account. Sometimes, this can be done online, but for certain banks or account types, you may both have to go in person to the branch.

Pros and Cons of Opening Your Own Bank Account

Pros
  • Establish good financial habits early

  • Get acquainted with banking practices

  • Have access to funds when you need them

Cons
  • Requires attention and account maintenance

  • Need to become more mindful about protecting your data and financial information

Pros and Cons Explained

Opening your own bank account while you’re a student can be a great first step toward financial independence that you need to develop before you graduate. It provides you with a way to save money, pay bills in your own name, and establish a relationship with a banking institution. This is especially useful if you have a part-time job and need a way to deposit your earnings or if you pay for some of your own expenses, such as a cell phone or car insurance.

Eventually, you may be responsible for paying your own way, including student loans and other expenses related to moving out of your family home, getting your own vehicle, and more. Having your own bank account can help with all of that.

It’s also a good idea to get used to banking practices, balancing a checkbook, and monitoring a financial account for when you begin using credit cards. How you handle your early credit responsibilities will determine your credit score, which is a vital building block for your financial future. 

How Should You Choose the Best Bank Account?

Choosing a student-friendly bank account is all about looking for perks and benefits that appeal to young account holders. For college students, especially those living out of state during the school year, having strong online and mobile account features can make banking more convenient. Along those lines, so could fee-free ATM options. 

In addition, any time you consider a bank account, it’s a good idea to look at any fees that you might be charged, such as monthly maintenance fees. You should also check if there is a minimum amount of money you need to open the account or a minimum balance to maintain to avoid service fees. Having no service fees is always preferable, especially for young bank account holders who don’t typically carry high balance amounts. 

Be sure to sign up for e-statements—some banks may charge a fee for paper statements.

Finally, it’s always nice if you can earn interest or rewards when you have a bank account. That’s why some of the best banks for students offer such perks on their accounts. 

Methodology

To evaluate the best banks for students, we looked for key features like convenience, mobile/online features including mobile check deposits, lack of fees, ATM access, and strong customer service. We reviewed approximately two dozen different banks with accounts for students or similar student-friendly features and analyzed each one’s account specifics to arrive at our top picks.