Student Money Management: 8 Benefits of a Student Checking Account

Going to college is a rite of passage for many people and represents their first taste of real independence. In addition to pursuing an education, students are also preparing for adult life. That includes learning how to manage their money. Getting a student checking account can help students in a variety of ways.

Here at Addition Financial, we love helping our younger members prepare for college with our college checking account. We understand that it can be challenging to learn about money management and do things like paying bills and splitting costs with roommates. With that in mind, here are eight benefits of a student checking account.

Why Should a Student Have a Student Checking Account?

We believe that every college student should have a checking account. A student checking account is a type of checking account that’s designed with college students in mind. The best student checking accounts include things that make life easier as a college student, including online bill pay, free coin machine access and access to online resources like calculators and budgeting tools.

When you go to college, you’re likely to be sharing expenses with roommates whether you’re living in a dorm room or off campus. A student checking account makes it easy to pay your share of rent and utility bills, send and receive money directly from your account and set up direct deposit for your student job. 

At the same time, you’ll get a handle on what it’s like to manage your money. With online and mobile banking, you can review your account, transfer funds and more. 

What Features Should a Student Look for in a Student Account?

Here are some of the best features to look for before you open a student account:

  • Student debit card. A debit card, which should be free with your student account, gives you easy access to your money and can also be stored in a mobile wallet and used to make purchases.
  • Online banking. Online banking provides access to your account around the clock and access to help when you need it.
  • Mobile banking. Mobile banking with a mobile app makes it easy to check your balances wherever you are and may also provide card security features.
  • Overdraft protection. Overdraft protection is a nice feature to have because it can help you avoid bouncing checks as you learn how to manage your money.
  • Money management tools. Money management tools may include access to an online resource library as well as things like calculators and budgeting tools.
  • Low fees. Many student accounts, including Addition Financial’s, come with low fees to help college students save money.
  • No minimum balance requirement. Some checking accounts come with a minimum balance requirement, something that can be difficult for students to maintain. Our student checking account has no minimum balance requirement.

Before your account opening, make sure you understand which features come with the account you’ve chosen and that they’ll help you manage your finances.

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What Are the Benefits of a Student Checking Account?

There are many ways that having a student checking account can help you manage your money. Here are eight benefits that you should know about.

#1: You’ll Have a Safe Place to Keep Your Money

Carrying cash isn’t the safest way to pay for your expenses. With a student checking account, you’ll have a safe place to keep your money while still having easy access to it. 

Credit unions and banks put excellent security in place around all checking accounts, including those designed for students. For example, you may have card control via your financial institution’s mobile app allowing you to freeze your debit card if it’s lost or stolen.

#2: You Can Access Your Money in a Variety of Ways

Banking today is a lot easier and more versatile than it was before. You can access your money via your ATM card. You can log into your account with mobile or online banking, make peer-to-peer transfers and more.

Many financial institutions allow you to send and receive money from friends and roommates for free using Zelle. You can also write checks and use your debit card for purchases by putting it in a mobile wallet.

#3: You Can Save Money for Emergencies or Major Purchases

Student checking accounts are often required to be linked to a savings account. Having both types of accounts makes it easy to transfer funds and build the habit of saving money for the future.

Many students use a linked savings account to set up an emergency fund or save to buy a car or take out a loan. You may even be able to take advantage of automatic round-up transfers to your savings account when you make a purchase with your debit card.

#4: You Can Get Discounts on Interest Rates for Loans

At Addition Financial, we offer our members with student checking accounts discounts on both car loans and our Signature Loans, which can be used for a variety of purposes. In both cases, we offer a discount of 0.25% on the interest rate.

While not every financial institution offers this feature, it’s something to keep in mind if you’re planning on buying a car or taking out a loan when you’re still in school.

#5: You Can Take Advantage of Discounted Student Fees

Paying fees on your checking account can put a dent in your balance and make it difficult to manage your money. Many student checking accounts offer discounted fees or fee waivers to make it easy and affordable to maintain a checking account.

For example, our Addition Financial student checking account waives the membership fee for students.

#6: You’ll Be Protected from Overdrafts

It’s not uncommon for college students who have never had a checking account before to bounce a check. When that happens, you may get some protection because you have a student checking account.

Addition Financial’s student members get one free Overdraft Protection transfer per month, meaning that you can transfer funds from your savings account to cover a check. That means you’ll avoid overdraft fees.

#7: You’ll Get Access to Financial Education

One of the best things about choosing a credit union student checking account is that you’ll get access to an array of financial education and resources just by joining.

At Addition Financial, we have calculators, blog posts, guides, podcast episodes and more to help our student account holders learn how to manage their money and set themselves up for financial stability and success.

#8: You May Qualify for an Affordable Student Credit Card

Building credit is essential if you want to be able to buy a car or a house. You can start early by choosing a student checking account 

Our Addition Financial student members can qualify for a student credit card with a $2,000 limit to help them build credit.

What Fees Are Associated with Student Checking Accounts?

We’ve mentioned fees a few times, so let’s review the types of checking account fees that may be associated with student checking accounts:

  • Maintenance fee. The maintenance fee is a monthly fee charged by some financial institutions to maintain an open checking account. Some accounts offer the chance to waive the fee in return for maintaining a minimum balance.
  • ATM fee. ATM fees are typically not charged when you use your credit union’s or bank’s ATMs and may not be charged for any in-network ATM. It is common for there to be a fee if you use an out-of-network or foreign ATM. Some student checking accounts offer reimbursement for a specified number of foreign ATM transactions each month.
  • Overdraft fee. If you write a check and have insufficient funds in your checking account to cover it, you may be charged a hefty overdraft fee. There’s also a chance that the recipient’s bank will charge a fee and you may be expected to cover it.

If you can find a free student checking account, you may be able to avoid most fees. You should keep in mind that a free account may not have many of the most advantageous features of other student checking accounts.

What Are Some Tips for Managing a Student Checking Account?

Here are some pointers to help you manage your student checking account:

  • Protect your debit card by putting it in a mobile wallet. If you don’t need to carry your card around, you’ll reduce your risk of losing it or having someone steal it. Mobile wallet transactions are encrypted, which means you’ll avoid the risks associated with hackers who target websites and retailers.
  • Take advantage of online and mobile banking. Create an online account and download your financial institution’s mobile app. Familiarize yourself with the features and resources that are available.
  • Check your balance often. Keeping an eye on your balance can help you get a handle on how much money you have available and how much you’re spending.
  • Sign up for multi-factor authentication. With multi-factor authentication, you add an extra layer of security to your account. You’ll either need to scan a fingerprint or enter a texted code to access your student checking account.
  • Sign up for account alerts. Signing up for alerts can notify you if your balance is low or if there’s unusual activity on your debit card or account.
  • Take advantage of online bill pay. Paying your bills on time will help you build credit. Online bill pay allows students to make automated payments and eliminate the risk of delinquency.

Following these tips will help you establish your credit and manage your money wisely as you prepare for the future.

Manage Your Student Finances with Help from Addition Financial

Opening a student checking account is one of the best ways we know for college students to learn how to manage their money and set themselves up for financial success. The eight benefits of a student checking account we’ve listed here illustrate the point and can help you find the best student checking account for your needs.

Are you looking for an affordable student checking account with tons of useful features? Addition Financial is here to help! Click here to learn about our student checking account and join today.

The content provided here is not legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. Please consult with legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific needs or questions you may have. We do not make any guarantees as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not support any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability or legal obligations for your use of this information.