August 18, 2023

Best Savings Accounts for College Students

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Kickstart your savings journey as a student. Discover the best savings accounts with high APYs to give your savings a boost.

As busy college students, saving money might be the least of your priorities.

But imagine how much your future self will thank you when you graduate and you already have money in the bank to get you started.

Ready to get a head start on your financial journey? Dive into the 9 best savings accounts for college students.

CIT Bank Savings Connect

CIT Bank Savings Connect is top of the list because it offers a high interest rate with no requirements. All balances earn 4.65% APY.

There's no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement (though a $100 minimum opening deposit is required). This is great for students who don't have stable finances and don't want to stress about maintaining a minimum.

However, this account doesn't have an ATM card, so access to funds is more limited. If you need the money, you'll have to do an electronic transfer and wait for it to complete.

If you would like more flexible access to your money, check out the next option instead.

Should I open a savings account as a college student?
Absolutely. If you start saving while in college, you'll build a healthy habit and have a nice fund once you graduate and start real life. A lot of savings accounts have no minimum requirement or monthly fee. So you can start even if you only have a little bit of money.

Synchrony High-Yield Savings

Synchrony High-Yield Savings account offers a high 4.75% APY on all balances with no requirements.

You don't have to worry about any minimum deposits, and there are no monthly fees to look out for.

A benefit you may like is that they offer an optional ATM card, as you never know when you may need cash on the fly. You even get domestic ATM fee rebates for up to $5 per statement cycle.[1]

Working while in college? The next option can help you grow your money even more.

SoFi Checking and Savings

If you're looking for an all-in-one-account, SoFi Checking and Savings might be worth looking into. It comes with both a checking and savings account so you're covered in both areas.

It's a good option if you have a college job, because you can get a higher APY. They offer 4.50% APY on savings balances with direct deposit (1.20% APY without). Your checking balance will also earn some interest.

Another standout feature is that you get up to 15% cashback at participating local retailers using your debit card.

This account has no required opening deposit, no monthly fees, no overdraft fees, and free access at over 55,000 ATMs.

If you feel skeptical about online-only banking, the next one on the list may be better for you.

Chase Bank Savings

Chase is one of the biggest banks in the US, so you might consider it if you prefer a physical bank with lots of branches and ATMs. However, like most big banks, the interest rate is very low.

But it does offer a good College Checking account for students (which has no monthly fee). So if you use Chase for checking, you may also find it convenient to use Chase Savings too.

For college students, Chase waives the monthly service fee of $5 if you link your savings account with Chase College Checking for overdraft protection.[2] This is also a good way to help avoid overdraft fees.

To help you save, you can set up recurring automatic transfers from your checking account into your savings account.

Sometimes, just one saving account isn't enough. The next one is ideal for super organized students who like to break down budgets.

Ally Bank Online Savings

In addition to a high APY, Ally Online Savings is also a great option to help college students budget and save for various goals.

You can create up to 30 different "buckets" within the same savings account. This is super helpful if you're saving for different things like a new laptop, spring break, or even a car. You can visualize and track your progress for each goal.

Ally helps you save more with smart tools like auto round-ups. It can also analyze your linked checking account and transfer money you don't need into savings for you.

Ally Bank Online Savings offers a high APY, no minimum opening requirements, and no minimum balance fees.

If you love Ally's savings buckets, you'll also love the spending buckets in their Checking Account. Their checking account has no monthly fee and even offers up to $10 for ATM fee rebates per month.

Citizens High Yield Online Savings

The Citizens High-Yield Online Savings account is an online account that offers 4.50% APY. For only $0.01, you can open an account and start saving.

This is a basic account with no card, but they do have a mobile banking app for all your banking needs.

If you want to access your money:

  • You'll need to transfer your funds to an external account using their app or online platform.
  • You can ask them to send you a check in the mail.

Discover Online Savings

Discover Online Savings offers 4.30% APY. Discover prides itself on being fee-free.

There are no monthly fees, overdraft fees, or excessive withdrawal fees. And with no minimum opening deposit, you can start saving anytime you want to!

Discover Online Savings account doesn't come with an ATM card so withdrawals can only be made online via electronic transfer.

Affirm High Yield Savings Account

Affirm is a popular "buy now, pay later" service, but it also offers an Affirm Savings account with a competitive APY of 4.35%.

It's a pretty basic account, but there are no maintenance fees or minimum opening balance requirements.

They don't offer an ATM card so this makes it a little difficult if you need cash quickly. But they do have a mobile app where you can handle all your money.

Affirm is not a bank. When you open a savings account with them, your account will be held with Cross River Bank.

Is Affirm high-yield savings safe? Yes! Your Affirm Savings account is FDIC insured for up to $250,000 through their partner Cross River Bank, which is a member of the FDIC.

Varo Savings Account

The Varo Savings Account lets you earn 3.00% APY on entire balance, with chance to earn 5.00% APY (on up to $5,000) when you meet requirements.

You can get the higher APY if you: 1) Receive qualifying direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more in one month, and 2) End the month with a positive balance in both your Varo Bank Account and Savings Account. So it's ideal if you have a job while in college.

There's no opening balance requirement or monthly fees to worry about. They even offer a debit card if you open a Varo Bank Account too.

Varo also has a Save Your Change feature, where they round up your eligible transactions and transfer the change from your Varo Bank Account to your Varo Savings Account.

This is a nice little perk to automatically save a bit of money without thinking.

What You Need to Open a Savings Account for College Students

To open a savings account, you only need:

  • To be 18
  • To be a US citizen or legal resident
  • A valid ID
  • Social Security Number

Sometimes, banks offer specific accounts just for students. These accounts may have special feature or waived fees for students at school. In that case, you'll need to provide proof of enrollment.

How to Choose the Best Savings Account for College Students

When looking for a savings account as a college student, here are some things to consider:

If you're looking to grow your money, a high APY should be a top priority. All the banks on this list offer some of the most competitive rates on the market.

No Fees:
Students don't have stable finances. So you'd definitely want an account with no monthly fee or balance requirements. After all, you never know when you might need your money.

It's important to be able to access your money. Especially if there's an emergency, it's comforting to know that you can easily get some cash to sort it out. Having an ATM card is a plus. And it's great if there are lots of free ATMs where you live/go to school.

ATM fee rebates are great because you'll be able to easily access your money even from out-of-network ATMs.

Good mobile app:
Look for features in the app like easy money transfers, check deposits, and savings tools. Features like change round-ups are good to help you automatically save.


The point of a savings account is to grow your money. So first, we looked into savings accounts that offer a great APY. This way, your savings will get that extra boost.

We know finances for students can be a rollercoaster. So we narrowed down the list to accounts that have no minimum opening requirements and no fees to worry about.

Finally, we looked for unique features that make an account different from others. These could include tools for saving, ATM card, or a bundled checking account.

Tip: Use this calculator to help you understand the monthly saving goal you need to meet to reach your desired savings amount by the end of college.

For example, if you want to save $5,000 by the end of four years of college with a savings account bearing an annual interest rate of 5.05%, the calculator would help calculate how much you need to deposit each month.

Monthly Savings Goal Calculator

Bottom Line

When you're in college, you tend to focus more on the now. With all the time studying takes up, you might not have time to think about the life you're trying to build after college.

You don't necessarily have to open a student bank account. Plenty of savings accounts offer awesome rates and perks for savers of any age. All you need to do is find out what exactly you're looking for.

Once you figure that out, you can easily narrow down your options.

It's always a great time to start saving. When you graduate, you'll already be ahead with a nice little stash to kickstart your adult life!

Additional Resources


  1. ^ Synchrony Bank. FAQ: Which ATMs can I use and are there any fees?, Retrieved 8/11/2023
  2. ^ Chase. Chase Savings Account Fees, Retrieved 8/11/2023

Write to Katarina Rodriguez at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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