The best banks for students are tailored to fit the needs of school life. Many banks offer students a special account or waive certain fees to make money management easier and more affordable while you’re enrolled in school.
Because your plate is full with classes, internships, and jobs, the last thing you want is to go with a bank that isn’t transparent with fees or doesn’t match your lifestyle. Let’s explore the best banks for students.
Best Banks For Students In 2023:
- Big Name: Chase
- Free Checking: Axos
- Rewards: Discover
- Savers: Current
- Bonus Offer: Bank of America
- Multiple Accounts: Ally
- High Schoolers: Capital One
Note: The banking offers that appear on this site are from companies from which The College Investor may receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The College Investor does not include all banking companies or all checking account offers available in the marketplace.
The Best Banks For Students
Students can sometimes score special deals from banks. You should expect low fees and robust mobile banking opportunities. Keep in mind the fees will likely go up after you graduate. But by then, you may consider a different bank if the newfound fees cramp your post-graduation style.
Chase: If A Big-Name Bank Is Important
As one of the biggest banks in the U.S., it’s not surprising that Chase offers a worthwhile banking option for students. While in school, you can tap into a no-fee checking and savings account until you turn 25. The fee-free experience can last for up to five years.
The bank has a network of over 16,000 ATMs and over 4,000 branches to visit for in-person assistance. With Zelle built in, Chase makes it easy to send and receive money from other students when splitting up costs.
In addition to the College Checking account, you’ll find a savings account with an easily waived $5 monthly fee. You’ll need to have a beginning daily balance of $300 to avoid the fee. However, you won’t earn a high APY on savings in this account.
Read our full Chase bank review here.
Axos: Free Checking, Plus Unlimited ATM Fee Reimbursements
Axos Bank is a national bank that offers a free checking account, the Axos Essentials Checking. With the checking account, you won’t find any monthly maintenance fees, minimum balance requirements, or overdraft fees.
If you need to pull money out of an ATM, you can tackle that chore anywhere without worrying about fees. The Essential Checking account provides unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.
In terms of savings accounts, you can tuck your savings away to earn interest. You can earn 0.61% APY in your savings account at Axos Bank. Your funds can grow without giving up easy access to your cushion.
Read our full Axos Bank review here.
Discover: Rewards And Cash Back Opportunities
Everyone loves rewards. Discover makes it easy to earn rewards with each and every purchase.
The online bank offers the Cashback Debit Checking Account, a fee-free checking option. You can earn up to 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases every month. Those rewards can add up quickly. Depending on your spending habits, you could receive up to $360 per year in rewards.
Additionally, a high yield savings account is offering a 3.60% APY so your savings can grow!
Also, the lack of physical branches likely isn’t a dealbreaker. What the bank lacks in physical presence, it makes up for through its online and mobile experiences. You’ll find ample digital resources to manage your money efficiently.
Read our full Discover Bank review here.
Current: Great For Savers, Earn 4% APY
Current is a mobile banking app that makes digital banking easy. If you’re looking for a banking experience that has a modern vibe, consider Current.
The mobile banking app offers a free checking account that doesn’t require a minimum balance or charge any overdraft fees. It offers a stellar savings account option, giving you the ability to earn up to 4% APY on up to $6,000 stored in a Current savings pod.
Read our full Current review here.
Bank Of America: ‘Keep The Change’ Helpful For Broke Students
The Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking® account is a great account for college students because there is no monthly maintenance fee for students under 25 who are enrolled in school or an educational or vocational program.
This account is great because it helps build good banking habits, while also not charging any overdraft fees.
Get a $100 bonus offer (online only). Start by opening a new Bank of America checking account. See offer page for details. That’s awesome! Offer expires December 31, 2022.
Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking® has a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived each statement cycle that:
- An owner of this account qualifies as a Student under age 25 enrolled in a school or an educational or vocational program OR
- An owner of this account is under age 18 OR
- Be enrolled in Preferred Rewards
Read our full Bank of America review here.
Get a $100 bonus offer! See offer page for details. Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.
Ally: Both Checking And Savings To Grow Your Money
Ally Bank offers an easy digital banking experience that is great for students.
An interest-bearing checking account designed to help you grow your balance. The account doesn’t come with any monthly maintenance fees either.
You’ll have fee-free access to one of the 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs in the U.S. If you can’t find an Allpoint ATM, Ally will reimburse up to $10 in ATM fees per month.
Ally provides a high-yield savings account with an attractive APY. When combined with an interest-bearing checking account, this bank provides ample opportunities to grow your funds with minimal fees involved.
Read our full Ally Bank review here.
Capital One: An Option For High schoolers
Most of the banking opportunities above are for students at the college level. But Capital One offers an excellent banking option for students who are still in high school.
The Capital One MONEY account offers students under the age of 18 a fee-free checking experience. Although you’ll need a parent or guardian to become a co-owner, students have full access to manage the account through the mobile app.
After you turn 18, you can upgrade the Capital One Money account to a regular CapitalOne 360 checking account, which is a great choice. The 360 account comes with no fees and the ability to earn interest on your checking account balance.
Read our full Capital One Bank Review here.
The Bottom Line
Getting yourself through school is tough, so it’s helpful when banks recognize that by offering flexible bank accounts without a ton of fees or confusion.
The key to determining which opportunity is best for you is to get clear about what you really need in a bank. If you regularly need cash, then choosing a bank with an extensive ATM network or a great ATM fee reimbursement policy is ideal. But if you are more concerned about growing your savings, then a bank with an attractive high-yield savings account might be a better fit.
Remember, you can always mix and match savings accounts and checking accounts from different banks.
Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer covering credit cards, mortgages and student loans. She has written for numerous finance publications, including MagnifyMoney, Business Insider and ChooseFI. Her blog, Adventurous Adulting, helps young adults get a handle on their finances.
Editor: Claire Tak Reviewed by: Robert Farrington