Best Banks For Students

Extra-thick mattress? Check! Economics book? Check! Bank account? College is a time of new experiences: meeting new people, learning new things, and—for many students—using a bank other than their parents. For the first time in their lives, young adults can shop around for a bank account that meets their specific needs.

And banks know this: up to 30% of students receive their first checking account when they join college. The real kicker is that many banks give young people special consideration.

However, finding the most competitive ones is difficult, especially since universities muddy the waters with marketing partnerships. Fortunately, this article is here to help! We’ve compiled a list of the best banks for students, so you can make an informed decision about where to put your hard-earned money.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s find the perfect bank for you!

The 3 Best Banks For Students

College students often live on tight budgets and frequently overdraw their accounts, so we considered only accounts with no monthly service fee and that have no overdraft fee. An ideal student bank account should also include online and mobile banking options, easy access to ATMs, etc.

That said, here are the best five banks for students, based on our criteria:

PNC Bank: Best Overall

Checking and savings accountFree monthly maintenance fees for six years after account opening$0 balance requirement when opening an account online.Reimbursed ATM feesLimited bank branchesAn overdraft fee of $36

Why is PNC the Best?

In this unique account, there is a checking account, a short-term savings account, and a long-term savings account– all in one. In addition, PNC offers two free ATM withdrawals per month and one free overdraft for the first year.


PNC Bank provides a student account package with no minimum deposit and no fees for up to six years for students currently enrolled in classes if created online.

PNC gives access to over 2,600 physical branches in 28 states and over 19,000 ATMs in states other than those with branches. In addition, the account reimburses ATM costs outside of its network for $5 for every statement.

Other competitors don’t offer the same level of flexibility as PNC’s Virtual Wallet account. With minimal beginning balance requirements and no monthly maintenance costs, you may combine up to three separate accounts into one. As a result, you may mix and match your banking needs.

The three accounts available to you are:

  • Spending Account: An ordinary checking account without interest. You can open it with $25 at a PNC Branch or for zero dollars online.
  • Reserve Account: An account designed specifically for short-term savings. It requires no minimum opening balance, and you can earn interest on balances as low as $1.
  • Growth Account: It is a savings account geared toward long-term goals. It does not require an opening balance, and it offers two interest-earning balance tiers – from $1 to $2,499 and over $2,500.

PNC also offers a variety of tools to assist you in keeping track of your expenditures. When the amount in your Spend Account falls below a certain threshold, you’ll get notified, allowing you extra time to transfer funds to the account and avoid overdraft fees.

Bank of America: Best Savings Account


Two checking accounts are availableSafer ways of paying bills or transferring money from one person to anotherOverdraft protectionFunds management toolsNo interest in their checking accountMonthly maintainance fees after graduation

Why is Bank of America the Best Savings Account?

Not only will you discover two checking account choices aimed at students under the age of 24, but you’ll also find budgeting guidance. The Bank of America offers ideas for getting the most out of your checking account and tools to make saving money easy.


Going to college involves budgeting and managing money for many students. The Better Money Habits program from Bank of America includes resources to help you learn about budgeting, debt management, and developing a payment arrangement for student loans. You’ll also learn to save money on groceries, transportation, and entertainment.

With its Advantage SafeBalance checking account, Bank of America offers no-fee options with overdraft protection for students. Several checking accounts add charges to your account even if you do not have enough money to cover them and then apply an overdraft fee to the amount.

With this account, you’ll be automatically enrolled in the Bank of America Fee Waiver Program if you are a college student. In place of triggering an overdraft in your account and incurring hefty fees, your card will get declined if no money is available.

The Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance account also includes technologically advanced features, including mobile deposit, a mobile app, and Zelle money transfers. The Bank of America mobile app also has essential budgeting functions to help students keep track of and manage their money.

Being the oldest and largest bank in the U.S., it has over 4,000 financial centers and about 16,000 ATMs nationwide. You won’t have to worry about being able to find a Bank of America location no matter where you are in the country.

Chase Bank: Best For Sign-Up Bonuses

Student cash-back credit cardsAccess to a large number of ATMsNo minimum balance requirements when opening an accountUser-friendly mobile appShorter eligibility periodNo overdraft protection for students

Why is Chase the Best For Sign-Up Bonuses?

You’ll get rewarded for creating a new student checking account with Chase. Chase offers a sign-up bonus on the bank’s checking products, including its College Checking Account. And getting a few extra dollars to start school is always welcome.


Chase offers no-fee checking and savings accounts for college and high school students. Chase College Checking Account offers up to five years of free service and the option to connect a fee-free savings account. After five years, the account automatically converts to a Chase Total Checking Account.

Chase also offers the Freedom Student Card, which provides cash back on purchases and other benefits like a $20 annual credit for textbooks when you spend at least $500 on the card in your first year.

The Chase Mobile app is simple and lets students manage their accounts entirely online. Chase accounts also come with Zelle integration, allowing customers to send and receive money via the internet.

Aside from financial benefits, you’ll have access to over 4,700 branches and more than 17,000 ATMs around the country. You can feel confident knowing that you’ll always have a Chase location nearby.

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