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11 Best College Student Checking Accounts in 2021


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If you’re a student (or parent) looking for a place to park your money without excessive fees or unrealistic balance requirements, check out the impressive array of low-cost, low-balance checking accounts available to students.

Some actively restrict membership to younger individuals, most often those between 17 and 23 or 24 years old. But others are not restricted based on age or student status — meaning you can hold onto them as long as you wish after graduating.

Best Student Checking Accounts for College Students

These are among the best FDIC-insured student checking accounts for U.S. bank and credit union account holders.

Most have low minimum deposit requirements and an impressive array of mobile-friendly capabilities, such as bill pay and peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer apps.

1. Bank of America Advantage Banking – $100 Bonus Offer

No monthly maintenance fee for Students under 25 enrolled in school or an educational or vocational program on select accounts

Bofa New Logo 7 22 20 150x82

Bank of America Advantage Banking is a checking account with three settings: Advantage SafeBalance, Advantage Plus, and Advantage Relationship.

Pick the one that works for you right now, and if your life changes — say, you graduate from college and land a decent-paying job — you can switch to another setting that fits the new you.

With no monthly maintenance fee for Students under 25 enrolled in school
or an educational or vocational program, Advantage SafeBalance and Advantage Plus are the best choices for college students.

Effective February 18, 2022 the student waiver will no longer be available to be applied to an Advantage Plus account.

For Advantage Plus accounts with a Student waiver applied prior to February 18, 2022 this monthly maintenance fee waiver will apply until the Student turns 25, ceases to be an owner of the account, or notifies us that they are no longer enrolled in school or an educational or vocational program.

See offer page for more details.

All Bank of America Advantage Banking settings include:

  • Easy, Anytime Access. Visit Bank of America at thousands of financial centers and ATMs.
  • 24/7 Security. Total Security Protection® and fraud monitoring. Safer sign-in, card locking features, and more.
  • Convenient Ways to Pay. Use your debit card or digital wallet.
  • Smart Money Management Tools. Set custom alerts and savings goals. Get cash-back deals and rewards customized for you.
  • Unauthorized Transactions. Bank of America’s $0 Liability Guarantee means you’re not liable for unauthorized transactions made using your consumer debit card, as long as you report them promptly.
  • Debit Card Controls. Lock a misplaced card quickly and easily to prevent unauthorized use.
  • Custom Alerts. Know now and react fast to important account changes. You can set custom alerts via email or text for things like a low balance, pending deposit, and upcoming bills.

Plus, Advantage SafeBalance charges no monthly maintenance fee for Students under 25 enrolled in school or an educational or vocational program.

For others, the monthly maintenance fee is waived in any statement cycle during which the account holder is enrolled in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program.

Bank of America, N.A. member FDIC.

Apply Now

2. TD Convenience Checking

Earn a $150 Account Opening Bonus With Qualifying Activities

td bank

TD Convenience Checking is the best choice for students who meet two fairly common criteria: They want the convenience of robust mobile banking and the security offered by widespread branch and ATM access in a single package.

Unfortunately, they must also be based (or attend school) in the Northeastern U.S., where most TD Bank branches are.

Incidentally, with thousands of fee-free ATMs in Canada, TD Convenience Checking is suitable for U.S. students studying abroad there (or close enough to the border to visit regularly).

  • Account Opening Bonus: Open your account and receive direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 60 days to earn a $150 bonus.
  • Yield: None.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum deposit requirement and no ongoing balance requirement for full-time students under age 24.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enjoy no ATM fees at thousands of ATMs in the U.S. and Canada. Plus, pay no monthly maintenance fee on a linked TD Simple Savings account. The monthly maintenance fee is waived with a balance of $100 or more. TD Bank has some nice annual-fee-free credit card options too.

Learn More

3. Chase College Checking

Earn a $100 Account Opening Bonus With Qualifying Activities

Chase Bank Logo

The Chase College Checking account is a fantastic choice for students ready to manage their money without help from their parents.

Designed for students between 17 and 24 years of age, it waives monthly maintenance fees (or monthly service fees, typically $6 per month) for college students up to five consecutive years.

Convenient value-added features include the user-friendly Chase Mobile app, which pretty much eliminates the need to visit a branch, and instant P2P money transfers with Zelle.

And account holders never pay maintenance fees on linked Chase Savings accounts.

  • Account Opening Bonus: New Chase customers may qualify for a $100 account opening bonus after opening an account and completing qualifying activities.
  • Yield: None.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum deposit or ongoing balance requirement. After the five-year fee-free period ends, a $6 monthly maintenance fee applies during statement periods without one of the following: a direct deposit made to the account or an average day ending balance of $5,000 or more in the account.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enjoy access to more than 16,000 Chase ATMs throughout the U.S.

Learn More

4. GO2bank

Go2bank Logo

Earn Up to 7% Cash Back When You Buy eGift Cards in the App1; 1% APY2 paid quarterly on Savings Up to $5,000

GO2bank is a consumer-friendly online bank account that has a very strong yield on savings balances: 1% APY2 on savings up to $5,000. Plus, account holders can earn up to 7% cash back on eligible electronic gift card purchases in the app.

To avoid the $5 monthly fee, set up eligible direct deposit. Don’t miss these other great perks and benefits as well:

  • Get paid up to two days early with ASAP Direct DepositTM 3
  • Deposit cash at participating retail stores, subject to fees and deposit limits that may apply
  • Enjoy up to $200 in overdraft protection with opt in and eligible direct deposit

Overdrafts are paid at GO2bank’s discretion. Terms and conditions apply.

  • Yield: Earn 1% APY2 on savings up to $5,000.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: GO2bank has no minimum opening deposit or ongoing balance requirements.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Get paid up to two days early with ASAP Direct DepositTM 3 and earn up to 7% cash back on eGift Card purchases made in the app (3% cash back on Amazon gift card purchases).
  • Possible Fees: A $15 fee may apply to each overdraft transaction not repaid within 24 hours of authorization of the first transaction that overdrafts the account. See other simple fees at

Learn More

1Active GO2bank account required to receive an eGift Card. eGift Card merchants subject to change

2GO2bank, Member FDIC. Interest paid quarterly on the average daily balance of savings during the quarter up to a $5,000 balance and if the account is in good standing. 1% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of January 2021. APY may change before or after you open an account. The average national savings account interest rate of 0.05% is determined by the FDIC as of 12/14/20. Visit to learn more. Fees on your primary deposit account may reduce earnings on your savings account.

3Direct deposit early availability depends on timing of payor’s payment instructions and fraud prevention restrictions may apply. As such, the availability or timing of early direct deposit may vary from pay period to pay period. The name and Social Security number on file with your employer or benefits provider must match your GO2bank account exactly or we will decline your deposit.

5. Chime Deposit Account

Chime Bank Account

Round Up the Change to Save Automatically

Chime is a user-friendly money management app that offers an early payday option for eligible deposit account (checking) customers whose employers file with the Federal Reserve to begin the direct deposit process.

If you’re a college student working part-time to make ends meet while in school, that’s doubtless a welcome perk.

Also not to be missed: an automatic savings feature that instantly rounds up the change on every debit card transaction and sets the difference aside for a rainy day.

  • Account Opening Bonus: There’s currently no account opening bonus. Check back for the latest offers.
  • Yield: See Chime’s website for the latest rate information.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit and no minimum daily balance.
  • Rewards and Incentives: With normal use, the Chime deposit account is virtually fee-free, though third-party ATM owners may charge fees beyond Chime’s control.

Learn More

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

6. HSBC Choice Checking

Hsbc Logo

Enjoy an Attractive Referral Bonus Offer

The HSBC Choice Checking account has a slew of great perks for students of all ages, including up to $2,000 in referral bonus opportunities.

Pair your account with a maintenance fee-free HSBC Direct Savings account to maximize your return on deposited funds.

  • Account Opening Bonus: See HSBC’s website for the latest account opening bonus information.
  • Yield: None.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum opening deposit is $25. There’s no ongoing balance requirement, but you do need to keep at least $1,500 in combined personal deposit account and investment balances or receive at least one recurring direct deposit each month to avoid the maintenance fee.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Take advantage of a suite of money management tools and insights from EverFi, an HSBC partner. Plus, get up to $2,000 when you refer friends who open a qualifying HSBC personal or business account.

Learn More

7. Capital One 360 MONEY

capital one logo

0.10% APY on All Balances

Capital One 360’s MONEY account is far and away the best choice on this list for high school students and parents looking to teach them lifelong money management habits.

As one of the few true teen checking accounts around, it can help students start financial adulthood off on the right foot.

A decent yield on all balances and no monthly maintenance fees — ever — further sweeten the deal.

  • Account Opening Bonus: There’s currently no account opening bonus. Check back for the latest offers.
  • Yield: 0.10% APY on all balances.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum deposit or ongoing balance requirement.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Use the app’s Spendable and Set Aside categories to make (or encourage) smart spending and saving decisions.

Learn More

8. Ally Interest Checking

ally bank logo

Up to 0.25% APY on Eligible Balances

Like some of the other contenders on this list, the Ally Bank Interest Checking account isn’t strictly a student checking account.

But with no monthly maintenance fees, no minimums, thousands of in-network ATMs, and a decent yield on all balances, it’s an excellent starter account for students who don’t anticipate banking in-branch anytime soon.

  • Account Opening Bonus: There’s currently no account opening bonus. Check back for the latest updates.
  • Yield: 0.10% APY on balances under $15,000 and 0.25% APY on balances of $15,000 or greater.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no ongoing minimum balance requirement or minimum deposit required.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enjoy mobile check deposits with the mobile app and no ATM fees at nearly 40,000 machines in Ally’s U.S. ATM network. Transfer money by voice using the Ally skill for Amazon Alexa (or use Zelle, a more traditional P2P transfer option). And take comfort in the fact that Ally Bank never charges overdraft fees.

Learn More

9. SoFi Money

SoFi Review

Virtually No Fees; FDIC Insurance on Balances Up to $1.5 Million

SoFi Money is a virtually fee-free checking account (actually, a cash management account with FDIC insurance on balances up to $1.5 million). Its account opening bonus earns its keep as one of the best new bank promotions around.

And, if you have good credit and you’re shopping around for an affordable loan, don’t miss SoFi’s extensive credit product lineup: student loan refinancing, personal loans, home loans, and more.

  • Account Opening Bonus: Earn up to $100 when you open your account and complete qualifying activities. First, sign up for SoFi Money and add $100 to your account to earn a $25 account opening bonus. Set up a direct deposit of at least $500 into your new account to earn another $75 bonus. Terms apply.
  • Yield: See SoFi’s website for the latest yields.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Perks of SoFi membership include rate discounts on SoFi loans, customized financial planning, free P2P transfers, and exclusive offers from SoFi partners. Plus, take advantage of SoFi’s referral program, which pays up to $310 per successful referral.
  • Possible Fees: Virtually none. See SoFi Money’s account disclosures for more details.

Learn More

10. PNC Virtual Wallet Student

Pnc Bank Logo

3-in-1 Account Package for Short- and Long-Term Financial Needs

PNC Virtual Wallet Student is a student-friendly version of PNC’s popular Virtual Wallet package. It combines three subaccounts to help younger people manage short- and long-term financial needs in one place:

  • Spend, a primary checking account for day-to-day money management needs
  • Reserve, a cash set-aside for shorter-term financial goals and emergencies
  • Growth, a long-term savings account with a variable yield

The PNC Virtual Wallet Student student bank account package adds some benefits the “adult” PNC Virtual Wallet package lacks, including no monthly service charge, one complimentary incoming or outgoing domestic wire each month, and one courtesy overdraft per month.

Plus, new sign-ups are automatically enrolled in electronic statements and online banking.

PNC Virtual Wallet Student upgrades to PNC Virtual Wallet after six years, at which time it’s subject to Virtual Wallet features and fees then in effect.

  • Account Opening Bonus: There’s currently no account opening bonus. Check back for the latest updates.
  • Yield: Yields on Growth balance vary with prevailing rates.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no ongoing minimum balance requirement or minimum deposit required.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Get up to two monthly ATM fee reimbursements at non-PNC ATMs.

Learn More

11. Discover Bank Cashback Checking

Discover Logo

Get 1% Cash Back on Up to $3,000 in Debit Card Purchases Each Month

Discover Bank Cashback Checking is a totally free checking account that delivers 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in eligible debit card purchases per month. That’s enough for $30 cash back monthly or $360 annually when maxed out.

And it’s just the beginning. While Discover Cashback Checking isn’t specifically marketed to students, it has a lot of features friendly to frugal learners. They include:

  • No minimum balance requirements
  • No fees for online bill pay, NSF transactions, bank checks or replacement debit cards
  • Fee-free access to more than 60,000 ATMs nationwide.

Plus, Discover Cashback Checking offers free overdrafts when you link your account to another Discover deposit account. 

  • Account Opening Bonus: There’s currently no account opening bonus. Check back for the latest updates.
  • Yield: This account has no yield. 
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There are no monthly minimum account balance or activity requirements.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Qualifying Discover Cashback debit card purchases earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 spent each month. This excludes transactions like P2P transfers, ATM transactions, and extra cash at the point of sale. Discover Bank Cashback Checking customers don’t pay ATM transaction fees. Checks and replacement debit cards are free too. 

Learn More

Final Word

Discounts and deals abound for frugal students who know where to look for them. It’s heartening to see so many financial institutions — large, small, and in-between — acknowledging that students need a break on banking fees and balance restrictions too.

Now that you’ve committed to investing in your economic future by pursuing a college degree, perhaps it’s time to step out of your parents’ financial shadow and open your first real bank account. You certainly have no shortage of options.


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