Student savings accounts are an area of banking that has been traditionally under-served. The reason is that many students don't have "much" to save. But just because you don't have a lot of money doesn't mean that you shouldn't get to have great savings account options.
However, over the past few years, banks have started to realize that students and young adults are key to future growth. And many banks are investing in this relationship by offering top savings accounts for student savers.
If you're looking for your first bank account, or maybe you're just looking for a better savings account, this article is for you.
When college students look for a online bank, they want a few key things:
- They don't want to pay any fees
- They want easy access to their money from anywhere
Here are the best savings accounts for students that meet this criteria. If you want the quick answer, CIT Bank is consistently one of our top banks for online savings accounts because they offer high interest rates, low minimums, and have a great online product. Open an account at CIT Bank here.
Check out our list of the best savings accounts for students below.
The Best Savings Accounts For Students
We maintain an updated list of the best online savings accounts for students here. This list is updated daily with the best rates and terms you can find. While we recommend CIT Bank, there are definitely other accounts on this list that you should strongly consider. Check it out here:
You might notice that most of these banks are online. That's okay! That's what allows them to offer the higher rates and low costs compared to your local bank. As a student, it's also great to have a bank that specializes in online banking. That way, you know you can access your money from anywhere.
Our Criteria For Assessing Savings Accounts For Students
As we mentioned earlier, college students have different criteria that other bank patrons. When we look at savings account options for students, we look at the following criteria:
1. No Fees
We firmly believe that savings accounts should be free. This means no fees. No monthly fees. No transaction fees. No fees to withdraw your money. We also hate accounts that require certain things like direct deposit.
Free should actually be free.
A lot of traditional banks nickel and dime their consumers, so while you might earn a high interest rate on your money, you might also find out very quickly that you're losing that same "extra interest" to fees.
Always keep fees at the top of mind when assessing a bank.
2. Easy To Access Your Money
We believe that it should be easy to access your money. It's your money! It shouldn't be locked away somewhere that you can't easily get to. If you want something that isn't as easy to access, check out our article on the Best High Yield CDs.
With easy access, consumers should be able to go online and quickly and easily see their money, setup transfers and withdraws, and have no fees to have this access.
Furthermore, we love the online banks because, unlike local banks, they are available nationwide. Some local banks may have trouble helping a student who went away to college.
You might also look into finding a money market account that is very similar to a savings account. We maintain a list of the best money market accounts here.
Are Online Savings Accounts Safe?
You might be concerned using an online savings account - but you shouldn't be. Just like a regular bank, online banks are FDIC insured and your money is just as safe as it would be at a regular bank.
In fact, you might even notice some of the banks above because of their national presence.
Online banks are just as safe as traditional brick and mortar banks. But they come with an added benefit! Since they don't have to maintain a bunch of physical offices, they can pass a lot of that savings onto the consumer - you! That's why many of the top banks that offer the best interest rates on savings accounts are online only.
Comparing The Best Savings Accounts For Students
Choosing a high yield savings account for students isn’t rocket science – although you do need to watch out for banks that advertise higher rates but come with a catch, like minimum balances or a teaser rate that drops after a few months.
The banks we feature here have no minimum balance, no monthly or low balance fees, and the advertised rates are permanent. Their rates differ slightly, but they’re otherwise similar: All offer 24/7 customer service and electronic transfers within a couple of days.
Here are some reviews of our favorite banks.
CIT Bank consistently maintains one of the highest yielding online savings accounts. They are always raising their interest rate to be competitive and at the top. Furthermore, their platform is easy to use and you can sign up and have your savings account funded in just minutes.
There are no gimmicks with CIT Bank - you earn interest on your entire balance, and you have a low minimum to get started. Read our full CIT Bank review here.
BBVA Compass Bank
BBVA Compass Bank doesn't make very many lists (which is strange), because they have some of the best interest rates and online accounts available. We love them, and highly recommend them as a top online savings account for students. They have a low minimum, high yield savings account that can be accessed anywhere online.
Right now, they are offering a flat APY structure, but sometimes they do offer a tiered structure that rewards higher account balances.
American Express Bank
Most people think about American Express for their credit cards (and we love the best American Express Credit Cards). However, American Express also consistently has one of the top savings accounts available based on interest rate. And this is great for students because they have $0 minimum to open.
Check out our full American Express Savings Account review.
American Express was my first online bank account and I got it after high school to deposit some of the money I received for graduation. It served me well as a savings account for college student!
Marcus By Goldman Sachs
I had never heard of this bank until this year, but they have been making a full advertising blitz to get the word out. This new banking product consistently has some of the best rates and terms you're going to find online. They are always at the top of the list of best interest rates, and it only has a $1 minimum to open an account.
Check out our full Marcus By Goldman Sachs review.