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Top 10 Best Banks for College Students


Best Banks for College Students: We break down the best college student checking accounts, with a focus on free checking, mobile banking, and more.

Top 10 Best Banks for College Students

Top 10 Best Banks for College Students

Being a student does not require you to forego the conveniences of a checking account because you believe fees will consume all of your funds.

Banks understand that students frequently do not have a lot of income or savings. They design checking accounts with small balances and features that students want.

When it comes to students, banks are playing the long game. While small student checking accounts aren’t particularly profitable, banks are betting that you’ll stick with them after graduation, when your income will be significantly higher.

According to Third Way research, college graduates earn approximately $900,000 more than high school graduates.

Top 10 Best Banks for College Students

A student-oriented checking account has numerous advantages for students.

There are no fees, easy access to ATMs, a debit card, free checks in some cases, and a mobile app. Let’s take a look at some of the best bank account college for student:

1. Discover Cashback Debit

This checking account allows you to earn up to 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases every month. See Discover Bank website for details.

Plus, this account has no fees or minimum balance requirements – including free-free overdraft protection! And, you can get your paycheck up to two days early with no charge!

They are very mobile friendly, have access to over 60,000 free ATMs, and even have no-fee check ordering.

Read our full Discover bank review here.

Min Opening Deposit$0
Min Balance Requirement$0
Monthly Fee$0
Rewards1% cashback on up to $3,000 in purchases per month
ATM Access60,000 Free ATMs

Open account with Discover Cashback

2. Chime Free Checking

Chime was one of the original free mobile banking apps that revolutionized mobile banking.

They started with a mobile-first mindset, and also wanted to keep fees as low as possible.

Chime really started its focus on college students when it launched – being mobile first across the board.

As such, they have a top notching free checking account if you’re okay with a mobile only platform. Chime has no physical locations, and all of their banking is done online in the app.

Chime Free Checking
Min Opening Deposit$0
Min Balance Requirement$0
Monthly Fee$0
Earns Interest0.50% APY
ATM Access38,000 ATMs nationwide

Open account with Chime here.

3. Axos Essentials Checking

Axos Bank is a lesser known bank nationwide, but they do offer nationwide free checking! However, where Axos Essentials Checking really shines is in its access to ATMs.

Furthermore, there is no real requirement to maintain free checking at Axos.

They have no monthly maintenance fees, no minimum balance requirements, no overdraft fees, and more!

This isn’t directly a college student checking account, but it’s simply a great checking account option.

Axos Bank has no monthly maintenance fees and unlimited ATM fee reimbursement.

Axos Essentials Checking
Min Opening Deposit$0
Min Balance Requirement$0
Monthly Service ChargeNone
Earns InterestNo
ATM AccessUnlimited via Reimbursement

Open Axos Account here.

4. Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking

The Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking account is a great account for college students because there is no monthly maintenance fee for students under 25 who are enrolled in school or an educational or vocational program.

This account is great because it helps build good banking habits, while also not charging any overdraft fees.

Get a $100 bonus offer (online only). Start by opening a new Bank of America checking account. See offer page for details. That’s awesome! Offer expires June 30, 2022.

Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking® has a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived each statement cycle that:

An owner of this account qualifies as a Student under age 25 enrolled in a school or an educational or vocational program OR

An owner of this account is under age 18 OR

Be enrolled in Preferred Rewards

However, it has a great account opening bonus offer for college students at a full-service bank.

Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking
Min Opening Deposit$25
Min Balance Requirement$0
Monthly Maintenance Fee$4.95* (waived when requirements met)
Earns InterestNo
ATM AccessThousands of ATMs
Promotions$100 Bonus Offer

Open the account here.

Get a $100 bonus offer! See offer page for details.

5. Current

Current is a leading mobile banking app that has been endorsed by a huge range of personaliities, including YouTuber Mr. Beast.

It makes banking convenient, easy, and it’s that simple.

Current offers both a free and premium version – but the free product is solid checking account that you should consider.

It offers no minimum balance requirements, no overdraft fees, fee-free ATM withdrawals at over 40,000 ATMs, and 1x points for cash back!

Plus, you can get up to 4.00% APY on balances up to $6,000 by adding money to your Savings Pods and enabling the Interest feature.

You can upgrade to premium if you want even more perks.

Check out our Current Review here.

Min Opening Deposit$0
Min Balance Requirement$0
Monthly Fee$0
Earns Interest 4% APY on balances of up to $6,000
ATM Access40,000 Fee-Free ATMs Nationwide

Open an account with Current here.

6. HSBC Student Checking

HSBC is a national bank that has a solid student checking account product.

They are very mobile friendly, and have a large network of ATMs.

The great thing about their Student Checking product is that no minimum balance is required, and all fees are waived for up to 6 years.

HSBC is Nationwide, with easy ways to avoid monthly fees.

HSBC Choice Checking
Min Opening Deposit$1
Min Balance Requirement$0
Monthly Fee$15* (waived when requirements met)
Earns InterestN/A
ATM AccessWorldwide ATM network

7. TD Bank Convenience Checking

TD Bank is America’s Most Convenient Bank, and their TD Convenience Checking account offers a great bank account for students.

This isn’t directly a student checking account, but it has all the criteria a student needs to bank (online and in person).

You must be a U.S. resident and 18+ to apply for the offer online. If you’re under 18, please visit a TD Bank store near you.

This is a great checking account, and it’s pretty simple to avoid monthly maintenance fees.

All you have to do is keep a $100 average daily balance to avoid the $15 per month maintenance fee.

Plus, if you’re a student or young adult, it’s even easier! If you’re between 17 and 23, you’ll have no minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fee!

TD Bank Convenience Checking
Min Opening Deposit$0
Min Balance Requirement$0
Monthly Fee$15 (Easily Waived)
Earns InterestNo
ATM Access1,900 ATMs
AvailabilityCT, DC, DE, FL, MD, ME, MA, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA

Open an account with TD here.

8. US Bank Student Checking

US Bank Student Checking offers the features you are probably getting familiar with by now.

The minimum deposit to open an account is $25.

You’ll receive a Visa debit card to use for shopping and ATMs.

If there is no U.S. Bank ATMs near you, the first four non-U.S. Bank ATMs are free per statement cycle.

You’ll also receive your first set of checks for free. A mobile app is included as well.

There is a $2 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived by signing up for paperless statements.

US Bank Student Checking
Min Opening Deposit$25
Min Balance Requirement$0
Monthly Fee$2* (waived when requirements met)
Earns InterestN/A
ATM AccessLarge network of nationwide ATMs

9. USAA Classic Checking

USAA is a great choice for free checking if you qualify to have a USAA Account.

USAA limits membership to servicemembers and DOD employees and their families, so that could be a bar to entry for some.

USAA used to brand their checking as a student checking account, but now it’s just it’s same USAA Classic Checking with some special pages for college students.

If you do qualify for USAA, then their USAA Classic Checking is a great product, with no fee checking, free checks, online BillPay, and ATM free reimbursements.

USAA has free checking, free checks, great mobile app, etc.

USAA Classic Checking
Min Opening Deposit$25
Min Balance Requirement$0
Monthly Fee$0
Earns InterestUp to 0.01% APY as of August 1, 2019
ATM AccessUp To 10 Free ATM Withdrawals
AvailabilityNationwide for USAA Members

10. Chase College Checking

The Chase College Checking account is one of the best checking accounts designed for students.

Students between the ages of 17-24 don’t have to worry about maintenance fees. You can have the fee waived for up to five years as a student.

This account comes with a debit card, and you’ll have mobile access.

And right now, you can get $100 as a new Chase checking customer when you open a Chase College Checking account and complete 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of account opening! That’s awesome!

Chase College Checking has no monthly service fee for up to five years if you’re a student between 17 and 24.

Read Also:

Read our full Chase Bank review here.

Chase Bank is a great account opening bonus for a student checking account, with one of the largest, most well-known banks in the United States.

Chase College Checking
Min Opening Deposit$0
Min Balance Requirement$0
Monthly Fee$6* (waived when requirements met)
Earns InterestNo
ATM Access16,000 ATMs nationwide
AvailabilityAL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV
PromotionsUp to a $100 bonus

How to Choose a Best Banks for College Students

Choosing the best banks for college students may seem a little overwhelming, especially if this is your first checking account.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re shopping:

ATM Network

If easy access to cash is important to you, look for a bank or credit union with ATMs conveniently located near you or that reimburses for out-of-network ATM fees.


Overdraft fees, ATM fees, monthly maintenance fees and other account fees can put a dent in your account balance.

It pays to read the fine print before opening an account. Generally, the fewer fees an account has, the easier and less expensive it will be to maintain.


Low minimum deposit and balance requirements make it easier to open and maintain an account.

Look for accounts with minimums you think are reasonable to meet.

Digital Experience

For students on the go, a bank or credit union’s mobile app and website can make or break their banking experience.

Check an institution’s mobile app ratings on the App Store and Google Play before signing up for a checking account. And make sure the institution’s website has what you need.

Customer service

Being able to get in touch with a customer representative when needed is important, whether you bank online or at a branch.

Scan Trustpilot and Better Business Bureau ratings before opening an account to see what current customers like and dislike.

Paper Check-writing Capability

Because so many bank account transactions are done online or via mobile, not all checking accounts offer the ability to write a paper check.

If you will occasionally, or frequently, need or want to write actual checks, consider whether the account offers them.

Keep in mind that your account may be closed or transitioned to a standard checking account once you’re no longer a student.

Consider banks and credit unions closely to see if you can picture a long-term relationship with them post-graduation.

Lastly, but most importantly, be sure to consider your needs as a banking customer.

While your needs may be simple as a college student, consider what you need from a bank account before selecting one.

For example, if you visit ATMs frequently, consider any ATM fees that may apply.

How to Open Bank Account for College Students

Opening a student account is similar to opening a regular bank account, with the exception that proof of school enrollment is required.

Expect to provide some or all of the following information whether applying online or in person:

‣ A valid student ID with a photo

‣ College acceptance letter School transcript

‣ A government-issued ID (such as a driver’s license or passport) and a Social Security number are also required, as with any account.

Conclusion on Best Banks for College Students

There are numerous reputable banks that provide excellent banking services to students; finding the best fit for your needs is dependent on what you are looking for.

PNC Bank, CapitalOne, and Ally all offer fee-free checking and savings accounts to help students manage their daily expenses as well as their savings goals.

Bank of America and Discover both offer accounts that allow users to earn rewards while also increasing their savings balances.

Discover, our overall winner, continues to provide the most account options for both high school and college students, and it is therefore the first on our best banks for college students list.

If you have any questions concerning Top 10 Best Banks for College Students, please feel free to use the comment box below and ask us your question. We will be very pleased to answer you.

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