11 best student checking accounts for March 2021 | finder.com

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11 best student checking accounts

Build financial responsibility with these top-rated college and high school student checking accounts.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked

The best student checking account helps students learn how to manage money. But the type of account depends on your situation and whether you’re a high school or college student. We researched over 165 accounts to find the best student checking accounts for both high school and college students. We narrowed down our top picks by considering key factors like monthly fees, minimum balance requirements, money management tools, special account perks and ATM networks.

What’s changed in 2021?

The HSBC Advance Checking was originally on our list of best accounts for college students, but we removed it because it required a $10,000 minimum daily balance to avoid the monthly maintenance fee. We replaced it with the Discover CashBack Debit Checking account.

The Umpqua Embark Checking account was also on our list, but it’s only available to customers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and Nevada. We replaced it with the Capital One 360 Checking account, which has similar account features and services customers nationwide.

We replaced Simple with Chime Banking because Simple announced it’s shutting down. We added Copper Banking and Axos First Checking to our list as best accounts for high school students because they’re designed for teens and come with tools to help them learn how to spend wisely. We added OnJuno as a good option for college students because it’s free and earns a high interest rate and cash back on debit card purchases.

Best high school student checking accounts

These high school student checking accounts are ideal for teens who are just starting to manage their own money.

Teens age 13 to 17 enjoy a 0.25% APY and no monthly fees.

Axos Bank First Checking

Axos Bank First Checking logo
Finder Rating: 5 / 5

★★★★★

Apply now
at Axos Bank's secure site
0.25%
APY
None
Fees
$50
Min. opening deposit
  • Earns interest. This account earns a competitive 0.25% APY, which is one of the highest rates you'll find with a free student checking account.
  • ATM reimbursements. Your teen will get reimbursed for up to $12 in non-network ATM fees each month, giving them the flexibility to withdraw funds anytime they need it.
  • Few fees. Axos Bank First Checking has no fees for monthly maintenance, overdrafts or minimum balances.
  • No check-writing privileges. This account doesn't come with a checkbook, but your teen can still e-deposit any checks they receive in the mobile app.
  • Transaction limits. Your teen can't withdraw more than $100 a day from ATMs. They also can't spend more than $500 a day, which could be a pro or con depending on their needs.
APY 0.25%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $0
Paper statement fee $5
Overdraft fee $0

Designed for teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17.

Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking

Up to 0.25%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
The Alliant Teen Checking account is perfect for high school students starting to manage their own finances. It has no monthly service fee or minimum deposit requirements. Plus, this free student checking account comes with two debit cards: one for the parent and one for the teen.
  • Interest. Unlike most checking accounts, this account pays 0.25% APY when you opt-in to receive e-statements and have at least one electronic deposit per month.
  • ATM fee reimbursements. Alliant has over 80,000 fee-free ATMs and reimburses up to $20 a month in non-network fees.
  • Flexible membership requirements. Anyone can join this credit union by making a $5 donation to Alliant's partner charity, Foster Care to Success.
  • Few branches. Alliant has two branch locations in Illinois, so you and your teen are limited to phone and email support if you live outside this area.
  • Non-sufficient fund fee. Although this fee is common with most banks, expect to pay $25 if your teen overdraws on their account.
APY 0.25%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $25
ATM transaction fee $0
Paper statement fee $1
Foreign transaction fee 1%
Overdraft fee $25
Accout closure fee $10

A tech-savvy checking account for high school students learning to manage their money.

Capital One MONEY

0.1%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
The Capital One Money account has no monthly fees and comes with a debit card that offers free access to over 39,000 ATMs nationwide.
  • Earns interest. Unlike many other checking accounts, this account pays 0.1% APY.
  • No overdraft charges. Capital One automatically denies charges that would drop your teen's account balance below $0.
  • Savings tools. You and your teen can set savings goals, track spending habits and more. But only parents can schedule transfers and set up an Automatic Savings Plan.
  • No 24/7 support. Live chat is only available during business hours and phone support is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.
  • No checks or bill pay. This account doesn't come with checks and it doesn't support bill pay services, which may limit withdrawals.
APY 0.1%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? No
ATM transaction fee $0
Paper statement fee $5

A checking account with a balance between freedom and parental controls.

Wells Fargo Teen Checking

N/A
APY
None
Fees
$25
Min. opening deposit
The Wells Fargo Teen Checking account encourages responsible financial behavior. Plus, it comes with 24/7 online access that allows you to manage this free student checking account anytime.
  • No monthly fees. It's free to maintain the account.
  • Easy access. Wells Fargo has the most branches of any North American bank, so you can access your money or get help when you need it.
  • Tools. Learn responsible spending and budgeting with tools like My Spending Report and Budget Watch.
  • Opening deposit requirement. As with most Wells Fargo accounts, you'll need $25 to open this Teen Checking account.
  • Must open in person. You can't open this account online, so you'll have to visit a local branch.
  • Overdraft protection transfer fee. If you overdraw on your account and Wells Fargo transfers money from your savings account to cover the difference, you'll pay $12.50.
APY 0%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $15
ATM transaction fee $0
Overdraft fee $12.50

Ideal for military members and their families.

USAA Youth Spending

Up to 0.01%
APY
None
Fees
$25
Min. opening deposit
Perfect for military members and their families who want to help their kids manage money. It has tools that allow you to monitor the account and assist with money management with no monthly fees.
  • Optional debit card. Request an optional ATM or debit card and help your teen maintain easy access to their money.
  • Smart money management. Parental controls help you manage your child's activities.
  • ATM access. Your teen gets free access to a network of over 60,000 ATMs. As a parent, you can set withdrawal limits to keep their spending in check.
  • Earns interest. You'll earn 0.01% APY if you have a minimum daily balance of $1,000 or more.
  • Opening deposit requirements. You'll need $25 to open this account.
  • Limited eligibility. Membership is open to active, retired and honorably discharged US military members and their families.
APY 0.01%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? No
Insufficient funds fee $29
ATM transaction fee $2
Foreign transaction fee 1%
Overdraft fee $0

A digital checking account for teens with a focus on financial education.

Copper

Copper logo
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5

★★★★★

Apply now
at Copper's secure site
0%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
Copper Banking is a free digital bank account for teens. It has built-in savings tools to help them reach their financial goals, along with educational resources and quizzes designed by Certified Financial Planners.
  • Instant transfers. Adults can instantly transfer funds to their teen's account whenever needed, which is a great perk if they're out with friends and in a pinch for cash.
  • Automatic savings tools. Your teen can use Copper's savings tools to divide their money into different savings buckets and automatically fund savings goals.
  • Fraud monitoring. Copper comes with 24/7 fraud monitoring to help keep your teen's account safe from unusual activity.
  • Low interest rate. Copper pays interest, but it's a paltry 0.001% APY, — that means you'll get a single penny for every $1,000 you keep in the account.
  • Potential cash deposit fee. You'll pay up to $4.95 when you deposit cash at a Green Dot location, but this fee is typical and is charged by the retailer, not Copper Banking.
APY 0%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
ATM transaction fee $0
Foreign transaction fee 0%

Best college student checking accounts

These checking accounts have unique features that benefit college students specifically — like budgeting tools, cash back and free overdraft protection.

Comes with free overdraft protection and an optional savings account that earns 0.5% APY.

Chime Spending account

Chime Spending account logo
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5

★★★★★

Apply now
at Chime Bank's secure site
N/A
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
Chime Banking has a lot to offer college students — no hidden fees, free overdraft protection and an optional savings account that earns 0.5% APY.
  • No hidden fees. As a college student, you won't pay any fees for overdrafts, monthly maintenance, foreign transactions and more. You can also open an account with $0.
  • Free overdraft protection. Set up at least $500 in monthly direct deposits and Chime will cover you if you overdraw on your account by up to $100.
  • Optional savings account. Open a Chime Savings account and have money automatically transferred to savings each time you get paid or use your debit card. Plus, earn 0.5% interest on your total balance.
  • No 24/7 support. You can't reach Chime 24/7 by phone, chat and email as you can with other online banks.
  • No joint accounts or secondary cards. You can't open this account with a family member or request secondary cards.
APY 0%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? No
ATM transaction fee $0
Foreign transaction fee 0%
Overdraft fee $0

Earn 5% cashback and up to 2.15% interest on your account balance.

OnJuno

OnJuno logo
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5

★★★★★

Apply now
at OnJuno's secure site
Up to 2.15%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
  • Two plan options. Both plans offer 2.15% APY and 5% cash back on debit card purchases, but the Metal plan has higher earning limits. Set up direct deposits and OnJuno will upgrade you to the Metal plan for free.
  • Banking with a purpose. OnJuno donates 2.15% of its profits every year to a charity in India that's focused on reducing wealth inequality.
  • Few fees. Aside from the potential $9.99 fee for the Metal plan, you'll only pay $5 for outgoing wires. There are no fees for monthly maintenance, foreign transactions or ATM withdrawals.
  • No joint accounts. You can't currently open this account jointly with a parent or family member.
  • APY limits. Your APY drops to 0.25% after you have at least $5,000 or $30,000 in your account depending on your plan. But this APY is still higher than what's offered at most traditional banks.
APY 2.15%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $0
ATM transaction fee $0
Foreign transaction fee 0%
Accout closure fee $0

This basic checking account is packed with features just for students.

U.S. Bank Student Checking

N/A
APY
None
Fees
$25
Min. opening deposit
This free student checking account comes with a suite of online and mobile banking tools and customizable checks with design choices from a number of universities and colleges.
  • No monthly fees. There's no monthly fee as long as you're enrolled to receive e-statements.
  • ATM fee refunds. US Bank waives your first four out-of-network ATM fees every month.
  • Opening deposit requirement. You need to set aside at least $25 to open this account.
  • Non-network ATM fees. If you make more than four non-network ATM withdrawals a month, you'll pay $2.50 for each additional one.
  • Overdraft fees. If you opt into overdraft coverage, you'll pay a $25 fee each time you overdraw on your account and $36 if your account balance remains negative for more than a week.
APY 0%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $36
ATM transaction fee $0
Paper statement fee $2
Overdraft fee $36

For students who want to earn cash back on everyday purchases.

Discover Cashback Debit

N/A
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
This Discover checking account is available to all ages. But college students will appreciate its large network of over 60,000 ATMs and 1% cash back on debit card purchases.
  • Earn rewards. Get 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in eligible purchases each month.
  • Minimal fees. You won't pay any fees for monthly maintenance, incoming wire transfers or debit card replacements.
  • Cash back limitations. You don't earn cashback rewards for ATM transactions, money orders, peer-to-peer payments or when you get cash back at retailers.
  • Daily withdrawal limit. To prevent fraud, you can't withdraw more than $510 a day from ATMs.
  • No cash deposits. Like most online banks, Discover doesn't accept cash deposits or traveler's checks.
APY 0%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $0
ATM transaction fee $0
Wire transfer fee $30
Overdraft fee $0
Accout closure fee $0

Best for those who want to keep the same checking account after they graduate.

Capital One 360 Checking

0.1%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
This checking account isn't specifically for college students, but it's one of the best overall checking accounts available today. It has no fees or minimum balance requirements, earns a reliable interest rate and has flexible overdraft options.
  • Earns interest. Earn 0.1% APY on your total account balance.
  • No fees. Capital One doesn't charge any fees for monthly maintenance, non-network ATMs or foreign transactions, which makes it a great option for overseas travel.
  • Flexible overdrafts. Avoid overdraft fees one of four ways: have purchases auto-declined, get a 24-hour grace period, transfer money for free from your savings account or take out an overdraft line of credit.
  • Miscellaneous fees. Although Capital One doesn't charge routine fees charged by other banks, there are $25 fees for overnight debit card replacements and stop payment requests.
  • Limited in-person support. This bank operates primarily online, so you won't find many branch locations.
  • Potential credit check. If you choose an overdraft line of credit as your form of overdraft protection, Capital One does a hard pull on your credit, which could impact your score.
APY 0.1%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? No
Insufficient funds fee $9
ATM transaction fee $0
Paper statement fee $5
Wire transfer fee $40
Foreign transaction fee 0%
Overdraft fee $35

How to choose the best student checking account for you

Here are a few factors to consider when picking the ideal account for your lifestyle and budget:

  • ATM access. Since checking accounts are designed to provide access to your money, make sure the bank you choose has an ATM network that’s convenient for you.
  • Eligibility. Meet any eligibility requirements to avoid getting denied or paying extra fees.
  • Bonus. Look for bonuses or rewards programs that can help you grow your account balance.
  • Availability. Make the account you want is available in your area and find out what happens to the account once you graduate.
  • Features. Compare things like mobile banking, bill pay and budgeting tools so the account meets your banking needs.
  • Fees. Even small fees can eat away at your balance, so try to find an account with low or no fees.

Alternatives to student checking accounts

One of the most popular and convenient alternatives to student checking accounts are prepaid debit cards, sold at banks and retail stores. Use them anywhere credit and debit cards are accepted. While you won’t get features like mobile banking and budgeting tools, these cards make it easy to manage spending and avoid overdraft fees.

Bottom line

Student checking accounts can teach youth valuable financial habits to make managing money easier. When starting out, be aware how fees on standard checking accounts can eat away at your balance.

These are some of the best student checking accounts we’ve come across, but compare other checking accounts to see if there’s a better option for you.

Compare the best student bank accounts

Name Product APY Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Copper
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Copper
0.00%
$0
$0
Copper is a digital checking account that teaches your teen healthy money habits through interactive quizzes and an intuitive mobile app.
Axos Bank First Checking
Finder Rating: 5 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank First Checking
0.25%
$50
Made for teens ages 13 to 17, this account earns 0.25% APY and has no monthly fees.
Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking
Finder Rating: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking
0.25%
$0
80,000 ATMs for free
$0
No minimum or maximum balance and no monthly service fee.
Capital One MONEY
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Capital One MONEY
0.10%
$0
39,000+ Capital One and Allpoint ATMs nationwide
A teen checking account with zero fees.
Wells Fargo Teen Checking
Finder Rating: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
Wells Fargo Teen Checking
N/A
$25
$2.50
Everyday checking made easy. Open with $25.
Chase College Checking
Finder Rating: 3.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Chase College Checking
N/A
$0
16,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches nationwide
$2.50
New Chase customers can get a $100 signup bonus when they complete 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of account opening. Plus no monthly service fee as long as you’re between 17-24 years and a student for up to 5 years.
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