April 28, 2020

Best Student Checking Accounts

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A student checking account allows you to manage your money with fewer fees and requirements. Find the best student checking accounts offered by the top banks.

A student checking account is one of the first important money decisions in your life.

Not only does it make managing money easier, you also learn financial responsibility and start to build a banking relationship. It's important to choose the right bank for you.

Banks know that students don't have regular income and offer accounts specifically for their needs. This usually means no monthly service charge, no balance requirements, and fewer fees.


With 5,000 branches and over 16,000 ATMs, Chase is a great choice if you're looking for a nationwide bank.

The Chase College Checking account has no monthly fees for college students age 17-24 from time of account opening until expected graduation date. You can qualify for up to 5 years.

You also get a free Chase Savings Account for no monthly fee when you link this account for Overdraft Protection. There is no fee for an overdraft protection transfer.

  • $0 to open
  • Free Visa debit card
  • Online bill pay and mobile check deposits
  • Send and receive money with Zelle
  • Free text banking
  • Account alerts for low balance, large transactions, etc.

After the expected graduation date, the monthly maintenance fee is $6 and can be waived with ONE of the following actions:
  1. Make a direct deposit every monthly statement period.
  2. Maintain an average ending day balance of $5,000 or more.
Or you can convert the College Checking account into a Chase Total Checking account, where you can waive the monthly fee with at least $500 in direct deposits per month.

One of the biggest advantages of choosing Chase is that you can start building a relationship with Chase early. Chase is known for their extremely popular cash-back and travel reward credit cards, but approval may be a bit more stringent. With a college bank account, by the time you graduate and are ready for a better credit card, you'll already have a few years of history with Chase. This may give you some extra points when determining approval.


If you don't need to visit a physical branch, then consider opening an online-only banking account.

Chime is an app-based bank geared specifically towards young adults. There are no monthly fees or balance requirements.

It has an automatic savings program to help grow your savings. You can choose to round up change and/or auto-save a percentage of your paycheck.

Other features include:

  • $0 to open
  • Free Chime Visa debit card
  • Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit
  • No-fee withdrawals at 38,000+ MoneyPass ATM
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Daily balance push notifications
  • Mobile check deposits

Chime also has a great SpotMe feature. You can overdraw your account up to $100 and Chime will cover it with no overdraft fees. You're eligible to enroll once you have least $500 in total monthly direct deposits.


Bank of America is another huge national bank with approximately 4,500 locations and 15,900 ATMs. It's also a good option if you're going to school away from your hometown.

While Bank of America doesn't have accounts specifically for students, the Advantage SafeBalance Checking waives the monthly fee for eligible students under 24.

The Advantage SafeBalance is a basic checkless banking account. It prevents you from overdrawing your account by declining transactions that you don't have the funds for.

  • $25 to open
  • Free Visa debit card
  • Online bill pay and mobile check deposits
  • Send and receive money with Zelle
  • Custom alerts via email or text

Bank of America also offers a free built-in Spending & Budgeting Tool to help you take control of your money. You can set a budget for each category and track your spending.

Students can also get a Bank of America Advantage Savings account for no monthly fee. It has a "Keep the Change" program that automatically saves the change from your debit card purchases. This allows you to build savings without thinking.

Student also have the option of opening the Advantage Plus checking account for no monthly service fee. This account requires $100 to open. The main difference is that this account allows you to overdraft with optional overdraft protection. However, there is an overdraft transfer fee, which is why we don't recommend this option.


For those living and studying in the West and Midwest states, U.S. Bank is another solid option. With 3,000 branches and 5,300 ATMs, it offers convenient access.

The U.S. Bank Student Checking account is a basic account offering full online and mobile banking features. There is no monthly maintenance fee for students.

  • $25 to open
  • Free U.S. Bank Visa debit card
  • Online bill pay and mobile check deposits
  • Four "no fee" non-U.S. Bank ATM transactions per cycle
  • First order of personal checks free of charge
  • Send and receive money with Zelle

Note that a $2 paper statement fee does apply if you don't opt in to eStatements.

U.S. Bank also partners with many colleges in its service areas. If your school participates in one of the campus banking programs, you can get some additional benefits, such as on-campus branches and customer advisory centers.


HSBC Bank is one of the largest banks in the world, with over 3,800 offices in 66 countries. In the U.S., HSBC branches are mainly on the East Coast.

The HSBC Choice Checking account is free of monthly service fees to college students for up to 6 years.

  • $0 to open
  • Free HSBC Debit Mastercard
  • Unlimited checkwriting
  • Free access to HSBC ATMs worldwide
  • Optional overdraft protection

This account is open to both U.S. students and international students studying in the U.S.

HSBC also offers an excellent online savings account through HSBC Direct. This savings account offers one of the highest interest rates on the market, allowing you to grow your money a little. You can connect your HSBC Choice Checking and HSBC Direct Savings accounts for easy transfers. There's no monthly service fee and only requires $1 to open.


Simple is another app-based bank designed for young adults. It has built-in budgeting tools to help make banking and money management more fun and effortless.

Simple will help you automatically set aside money for your recurring expenses, so you know your needs are covered. You can also save for your goals in protected accounts, where you'll earn a competitive APY. The unique Safe to Spend tool will tell you exactly how much you have left for "fun spending."

Other features of Simple banking include:

  • $0 to open or maintain
  • Free access to 40,000+ Allpoint ATMs
  • Free Simple Visa debit card
  • No overdraft fees
  • Mobile check deposits
  • Transfer funds instantly to other Simple customers
  • Add photos and hashtags to your transactions


Students with some credit may want to consider a regular checking account (not necessarily one specifically for students).

Online checking accounts usually don't have monthly service fees. They often offer more benefits than traditional banks. Discover Bank's Cashback Debit checking account offers cash-back rewards while being as close to "fee-free" checking as you can get, making it a great option for college students.

Discover offers free access at over 60,000 ATMs nationwide, so you still have convenient access to your money wherever you are.

  • $0 to open
  • 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in Discover debit card purchases each month
  • Free standard checks
  • $0 for overdrafts or insufficient funds
  • $0 for stop payments
  • $0 for incoming wires
  • $0 for replacement debit card

You can manage your account for free online or on the mobile app, including online bill pay, mobile check deposits, money transfers with Zelle, and freezing your debit card on the spot.

Discover Bank is online-only, but it provides 24/7 customer service, making it easy to get the answers you need any time of day or night.

    Discover Bank
    Member FDIC

    Online Checking Account - Earn Cash Back

    • 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month
    • No fees
    • Access to over 60,000 no-fee ATMs in the U.S.


You don't even have to wait until college to open your first checking account. Capital One 360, a popular online bank, offers a checking account specifically for high school students.

The Capital One 360 MONEY helps teenagers learn money management. The teen and a parent will be joint account holders. Teens can make their own money decisions, while parents can monitor what they're up to.

  • $0 to open
  • Free debit card in the teen's name
  • Earn a little bit of interest
  • Mobile check deposits
  • Transfer money
  • Receive direct deposits
  • Get text alerts and emails

There is no account opening fee and no service fees. When the teen turns 18, he/she can roll over this account into a 360 Checking account.


To open a student checking account, you usually need:

  • To be 18 years of age
  • To be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Proof of enrollment or acceptance
  • Government issued ID
  • Social Security number

For students under 18, most banks will allow you to open a joint account with an adult.


A student checking account is a great way to start building a financial foundation. You can start managing your own day-to-day finances, such as making purchases, receiving paychecks, and paying bills. The risk of getting into debt is low since you can only use funds you actually have in your account.

We've provided a list of our favorite student checking accounts. Compare the options carefully to make the best choice for you.

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