How to Get a Free Student Checking Account
College students may find that very few things in life are truly free. Tuition, room and board, books, student identification cards and a host of niggling fees can add up, siphoning your money and reducing your already limited resources.
It is quite possible, though, that one thing that you have will come to you free and remain cost-free as long as you are enrolled in college. And that would be your checking account, provided that you open it up at a bank that offers free student checking accounts.
Read on for some tips on how to open a student checking account at no charge to you and avoid those nasty monthly bank fees.
1. Your Bank — The bank where you currently do your banking business is a natural first place to look for a student checking account. Your account may be free simply because your parents already have an account there. Contact this bank and ask if you are eligible for free checking.
2. Other Banks — Besides your own bank, you may want to consider a competing bank, especially one that has offices in your home town and in your college town. You want the easiest possible access to your funds, without having to drive all over the place or use an ATM network not tied in with your bank.
3. General Requirements — To qualify for a free student checking account, you typically have to be enrolled in college and of a certain age. With Wells Fargo you must be 24 years of age or younger to qualify. At U.S. Bank there is no age limit — you just need to be at least 18.
4. Minimum Requirements — Despite not charging monthly account fees, your bank may require you to keep a minimum balance in the account to avoid fees. At People’s Bank you will need to have $100 to open your account. At First American Bank that amount is $50, but there is no minimum balance requirement after that.
5. Other Options — Let’s say the bank or credit union you prefer to do business with charges a fee. You may be able to get around the fees by opening up a second account such as a savings account or doing your school loan business through this financial institution. You can also ask the banker to waive fees, explaining that you are a student or that your parents already do business with this bank.
Banks offer free checking to students in hopes that you will stay with them for the long haul. Although you are not required to stay with the same bank once you graduate from college, you may find that the bank can help you finance your first car or home based on your previous business with them. Be wary of other fees that can crop up including ATM access fees and overdraft fees.