A new fall semester is always an exciting time, but it’s especially thrilling if you’re a freshman. It’s a year of firsts — like living on your own, cooking your own meals, and balancing your own budget.
Okay, so, maybe that last bit isn’t what you’re looking forward to the most, but it is a fundamental part of heading off to college and starting a career. Learning how to manage your money is an incredibly important skill to have.
Your financial responsibilities change drastically in the move from high school to college. Opening the right bank account can help you take on these new tasks like a pro!
A Kid’s Bank Account Isn’t Good Enough
You might think this advice doesn’t apply if you already have a bank account. But how old is this account you’ve lugged to campus? Is it the account you opened when you got your first part-time job in high school?
If so, it’s in desperate need for an update!
A child’s bank account is the most basic option available from most commercial banks. It usually comes without monthly balance minimums or monthly fees — which is great for your student budget.
But these privileges come at a cost. Generally, it places a stranglehold on your account. You may have strict transaction limits, restricted access to online banking, and no lending opportunities.
As the cost of tuition continues to rise, you need an account that can help you take on these added costs. You need a student account that lets you access loans, lines of credit, and credit cards.
What is a Student Account?
A student account is the next step up from a child’s account without jumping into the expensive world of Adult Banking™. Most banks and credit unions offer this account to anyone pursuing a higher education.
A student account typically gives you better options for your daily banking needs on campus — whether you opt for a traditional bank or credit union.
The exact benefits that come with your new student account depends on the company you end up signing with. But in most cases, you should expect:
- Zero monthly fees
- Ding-free ATM privileges
- Overdraft protection
- Lower fees on student loans
- Access to mobile banking apps
Research Your Options Carefully
It’s easy to assume all student accounts are free, but no two accounts are the same. Some banks do apply a charge or expect you to keep a minimum balance in your account.
When you’re busy paying tuition, rent, and impressing your date on the weekends, a minimum balance is a serious challenge.
Take the time to read up on what you get from the switch, prioritizing things like no-fees or monthly minimums. You should also check to see what ATMs you’d be able to use with certain credit unions or banks. Picking the company with the highest number of machines on campus would make your life easier!
Your first taste of adulting is already hard enough. You don’t need to make it any more challenging by using a child’s bank account. Your banking needs have changed a lot over the years, and your account needs to evolve with them.
Don’t hold yourself back with an outdated account. Research your options and make the switch soon before your to-do list fills up with fall semester readings, essays, and tests.