MoneyLife

Best Bank Account for College Students

By Alison Kimberly
best bank account for college students

When you start college, you get the thrill of independence – and the worry of how to pay for your books, food, and other basic expenses. If you’re looking for the best bank account for college students, you can easily get a dizzying array of bank accounts and offers. Part of the journey to independence is learning which bank account will help you avoid fees so you can pay for textbooks but still have money left over for lunch.

We’ll have a look on what to look for in a bank account to keep your finances simple with an account even the busiest students can navigate.

What bank account is best for college students?

When deciding on a bank account, you’ll want to look for one with low or no monthly fees, and low fees for other bank transactions. The average college student bank account will offer you greater savings. Here are a few key deciding factors for choosing a college bank account:

Fees

Between classes, exams, and parties, figuring out bank fees won’t be a priority. In general, keeping fees low is one of the financial lessons every grad should learn.  

Typical banking fees to expect include charges for:

  • Overdraft/Insufficient Funds  
  • Returned Deposits
  • Statements
  • Wire Transfers
  • Excess transactions
  • ATM usage
  • Lost Card Replacement
  • Inactivity 
  • Account Closing

Overdraft fees, which are around $34 per transaction, hit young people the hardest. Customers owe overdraft fees when bank balances aren’t enough to cover a withdrawal. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), customers who can overdraw accounts end up paying $450 more in fees.  

Had enough of typical bank fees?  Even if you try to quit your bank, they can hit you with inactivity and account closing fees.

Compare that to signing up for MoneyLion’s RoarMoney, which eliminates hidden fees before they chip away at your savings. Avoid foreign transaction fees, stop payment fees, stolen card fees, standard transfer fees, and more. RoarMoney is transparent about the few fees it has to make getting a college student bank account easier.

Minimum balance

Banks often require minimum balances. For example, if the minimum is $100 and your bank balance drops below that, they’ll charge a monthly maintenance fee. 

Maintenance fees are usually around $10, so if your bank balance dips once a month, that’s $120 in fees for the year! Minimum balance requirements aren’t suitable for college students who don’t have a steady income.  

Students who choose to work part-time jobs can set up direct deposits from their employer.  Direct deposits automatically transfer salaries into bank accounts. Some banks might waive monthly maintenance fees with direct deposits. As an added perk, setting up direct deposits with RoarMoney gets you paid 2 days early.  

Cash advance options

When you’re in college, money is always tight! Between paying bills and waiting for paychecks or money transfers, unexpected expenses seem to constantly crop up.  

Before you take out a credit card and swipe, consider that interest rates on credit cards average up to 23%.  

Most traditional banks won’t offer you a small loan or advance without paperwork and a credit check. Instacash is free and only takes a few minutes to add to your MoneyLion account. You get an interest-free cash advance with no credit check.

If you need a few extra bucks to tide you over, Instacash can be a lifesaver.  

For those looking to build credit, a Credit Builder Loan is a small loan without a credit check. Loan repayments are reported to all three credit bureaus that calculate your credit score. You can build a positive payment history while accessing cash and saving money at the same time. 

Instant availability

You deserve a bank that adapts to changing technology. After opening an account, most banks send debit cards in the mail, which takes a few days.   

With MoneyLion you can open an account, get a virtual debit card instantly, and start using that card the same day. You’ll also get a physical MoneyLion Debit Mastercard in the mail. This innovative approach gives you immediate access to your own funds, securely. Plus, you can manage your account from the powerful MoneyLion app on your schedule.

Tracking and rewards

Banks are no longer just a place to park money. A banking relationship should help you monitor your finances, teach you about money, and even provide cashback rewards.  

Management guru Peter Drucker wisely said: “If you can’t track it, you can’t improve it.”  

With MoneyLion, you will be able to monitor your finances with Financial Heartbeat and receive a weekly spending report to your e-mail to keep you on track. Once you understand where your spending goes, you can create an effective budget.  

Other RoarMoney features include price protection and reward bonuses. 

Found a lower price on your new shoes? Your MoneyLion Debit Mastercard allows you to get refunded for the difference within 90 days of purchase

With a shake of the phone, Shake ‘N Bank provides fun rewards after every purchase with a RoarMoney account. The amount of the reward is a surprise each time, ranging from $0.01 and $120. The reward money is deposited into your MoneyLion managed investment account, where you can let them grow or withdraw them. 

How to get a college student bank account

Opening a traditional bank account often requires digging up a pile of documents and shuffling into a brick and mortar bank. Or it can be incredibly simple and happen entirely on your phone.  

Sign up for RoarMoney online

Creating a RoarMoney account is straightforward and easy:

  • Download the MoneyLion app on your mobile
  • Follow the RoarMoney account creation instructions – It takes a few minutes!
  • Add funds by transferring money from an existing bank or depositing cash at one of 100,000 retail locations
  • Use your virtual debit card right away!

From the RoarMoney app, you can also create a savings account for college students to start saving and even investing in college. It is an all-in-one solution to start building wealth, and the best bank accounts for college students. 

The best bank account for college students

The best bank account for college students gives you freedom. Even without a regular income, you can learn money management. Bank accounts are a gateway to paying bills, managing cash, and planning for the future. While you can open a student account with a regular bank or credit union, those options will not provide you with the same online flexibility and MoneyLion perks.

Our innovative and customer-friendly banking platform supports your path to financial health and building long-term wealth. RoarMoney’s powerful one-stop banking membership gets students on the right track by sending alerts, offering rewards for good banking behavior, and charging minimal fees.  

Find peace of mind by signing up for mobile banking that’s secure, feature-rich, and gives you more! 

FAQs

Can college students get a student bank account?

Yes, college students can get a bank account, and should look for one with low fees. One option is a MoneyLion Roar account which offers no fees and a transparent pricing structure to help students manage their accounts more easily. You can also get a savings fund for children to start saving even before you reach college. 

Is it worth opening a student bank account?

Yes, it is worth opening a student bank account. These accounts often have lower fees, no minimum balance, and other financial advantages for students.

Does a student overdraft affect credit score?

Normally a student overdraft will not affect credit score. Overdrafts are with your current account. Credit bureaus look at borrowed money, both in the form of revolving credit on credit cards and installment loans such as student loans or auto loans. If you want to boost your credit score, MoneyLion credit builder can help you improve your credit score even as a college student.

How much money should a college student have in their bank account?

Ideally, college students should keep one to two months of expenses in their bank account, and put additional earnings in a high-yield savings account or start to invest it for the future. MoneyLion can help you to track expenses, save, and invest when you are ready.

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