As a college student, you’ll likely struggle financially. Even if you manage to obtain and work a part-time job, the expenses may seem overwhelming. Every penny counts so it is pertinent to make sure that you properly manage your money. One way to solve this issue is by taking advantage of a checking account.
With a checking account, you’ll benefit from the interest rate and you’ll have a safe place to store your money. Below, you’re going to learn about the best checking accounts for college students.
- BBVA Free Checking
- Radius Bank Rewards Checking
- Chime Free Checking
BBVA Free Checking
While BBVA is not as well-known as Bank of America and some of the alternatives, it offers excellent free checking accounts for college students. BBVA Free Checking is available across the nation so you can sign up for an account whether you’re at the University of Tennessee or Stanford University. Furthermore, the bank boasts an impressive network of ATMs. There is a good chance that you’ll be able to find an ATM close to your dorm. The bank has 55,000 ATMs across the United States.
Even better is the fact that the free checking option is excellent for college students since the requirements are slim to none. The minimum opening deposit is $25 which is reasonable for all university students. Furthermore, there is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly service charge.
While BBVA has an impressive offering for college students, it has some limitations too. One of the most notable is the fact that it offers no interest so you’re not going to earn any money. There are no ATM fees when you use a BBVA USA ATM but it’ll cost roughly $3 per transaction when using an ATM out of your bank’s network.
Either way, BBVA is a good choice for students looking for an easy online banking solution with the bottom of the barrel minimums.
Radius Bank Rewards Checking
Next, you have Radius Bank which offers the unique Rewards Checking Account. It will prove to be compatible with college students because it has a low minimum and a user-friendly banking app. One thing that sets Radius apart from the competition is the fact that it pays interest. If you maintain a balance between $2,500 and $99,999, you’ll receive 0.10% APY. If you maintain a balance of over $100,000, you’ll receive an interest of 0.15%.
Radius also offers 1% bank on all debit card purchases making it a good choice for college students who want to be rewarded for spending money. The bank offers unlimited ATM reimbursements as well as mobile check deposits. This makes it one of the most convenient banks for students at any university. While the Radius Bank Reward Checking Account is impressive, it has a few minor cons.
For starters, students will need at least $100 before they can open an account. While the interest is helpful, it will not be accessible to all. You’ll need a minimum average balance of $2,500 or $2,500 in direct deposits before you can earn interest. Other than that, there are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.
If your account drops below $2,500, you don’t have to worry about it being closed. Also, Radius has worked diligently to expand its ATM network over the years. It joined the MoneyPass Network a few years ago so members can take advantage of fee-free ATM withdrawals at more locations.
This provided users will access to 32,000 more fee-free withdrawal ATMs and 3,000 more deposit-taking ATMs. The only real con is the fact that you’ll need $100 to open an account but that shouldn’t be too difficult for the average college student.
Chime Free Checking
Long gone are the days of paid checking. Several decades ago, consumers were required to pay varying fees for checking accounts. The American financial system has undergone many alterations over the last few decades, resulting in free checking. Now, U.S. consumers can combine their savings and checking into single accounts and still avoid fees.
While fairly new, Chime has one of the most advanced, mainstream banking systems. Chime features checking and saving accounts with no fees, which is not unusual in the modern-day financial system. But, unlike some financial institutions, Chime does not require its customers to keep a specific amount of money in their accounts. The no-minimum balance is what draws American consumers to Chime checking but this is only the beginning.
Another benefit of Chime checking is expedited deposits. Chime checking account holders are guaranteed to receive their deposits in as little as 48 hours. This is ideal for college students relying on part-time jobs to pay their living expenses. From the second your employer deposits your paycheck into your checking account, Chime begins to process the payment to ensure the most expedient deposit.
Chime’s SpotMe feature is extremely popular among college students because it offers a $20-overdraft withdrawal with zero monetary penalties. If you are short on cash and need gas to get back and forth to campus, you can utilize your debit card to cover the expense without concern about future overdraft fees. The $20 can be utilized as an emergency fund in between paychecks.
An additional benefit of Chime’s SpotMe overdraft waver is its customizable capability. Chime checking account holders have the option to customize their SpotMe overdraft limit from $20 to $40 or $60, $80, or $100. To qualify, your account must be in good standing.
Ultimately, college students from across the United States need a reliable checking account. However, choosing one will prove to be very difficult since your options are plentiful and all banks are unique. So, which checking account is best for modern college students in America? While BBVA Free Checking has some cons, it is likely the best choice for college students. It is impossible to beat the minimum opening deposit and the minimum balance requirement is outstanding. Plus, there are no monthly fees to worry about.
The only downside is that members of BBVA Free Checking will not benefit from interest payments. While Radius is better in this regard, most students will never have enough money to meet the interest threshold. So, BBVA Free Checking is the winner of the pack.