Opening a checking account probably isn’t high on the list of priorities for a student heading off to college. In fact, it may not even make the list for some. But it’s something that students shouldn’t overlook.
A checking account is a financial lifeline on and off campus. From purchasing text books to buying pizza at the local eatery, a checking account is something you’ll use time and time again while at school. So it’s not only important to have one, but to pick one that will be the right fit.
Here are some things to consider before making your checking account selection:
Where can you use your debit card without racking up charges and fees? – If you’re heading off to a college far from your family home, you’ll need to make sure that you’ll be able to access your money without racking up surcharge fees. You could choose a bank that has brick and mortar branches and ATMs near your college, or you could open an account at a bank that’s part of a surcharge-free network of ATMs. Bank5 Connect is part of the SUM Network, which is comprised of thousands of ATMs nationwide. This means that Bank5 Connect checking account customers can use any ATM within the SUM Network free of charge. And, if they use an ATM outside of the SUM Network and are charged, Bank5 Connect will reimburse them up to $15 per statement cycle.
How much does it take to open the account, and is there a minimum daily balance requirement? – It’s important to know how much cash you’ll need on hand to open your account, and to know whether there is a minimum daily balance associated with the account. Typically, if there is a minimum daily balance and your balance falls below that amount, you could be slapped with a fee. With a Bank5 Connect checking account you won’t incur a fee if your balance drops below a certain amount, but there is a minimum balance of $100 required to earn interest. You can learn more about the Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking account here: http://www.bank5connect.com/home/high-interest-checking
Is there a monthly service or maintenance charge? – As a college student, you probably don’t have a lot of extra money to throw around, so be sure to choose an account like the Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking account that won’t charge you a maintenance fee every month.
Can you access the account online and via mobile devices? – This is a necessity for your on-the-go lifestyle at college. Most college students want the convenience of checking their balances and depositing checks from their phones. And the good news is that many banks (including Bank5 Connect) have apps that allow you to access your account from wherever you are. You can learn more about the Bank5 Connect mobile banking app here: http://www.bank5connect.com/home/online-banking/mobile-banking
Understand how overdraft protection works. – Overdraft protection allows you to withdraw money even if there are insufficient funds in your account to cover the purchase. This can save you the embarrassment of having your debit card declined at the register, but in exchange for this protection, you could incur high fees for each transaction you make without sufficient funds. Make sure you understand whether your bank offers overdraft protection, and whether you have to opt-in to receive it, or if you are able to opt-out. Some banks, like Bank5 Connect, allow you to link a savings account to your checking account in order to cover overdrafts of your checking account. Just be sure you have the money in your savings account to cover the transactions!
Just like textbooks and computers are necessities while heading off to college, so is finding a reliable checking account. We hope this information helps you choose the account that’s right for you!