College comes with much independence. And with independence comes responsibility.
If you’re a senior about to enter your first year of college, it’s important to get your finances in order and choose a bank so you can purchase new books, get lunch on campus, get loans, and take care of things like tuition and car insurance. Don’t know where to start?
Here are four tips for choosing a bank before college:
1. See What Your Current Bank Offers
Whether or not you have a credit card, you probably have a bank account with some savings already. Talk with your bank and see what type of offers they have for students. Of course, it’ll be important to see if the bank has a branch near your school. This gives you additional access to help while you’re at college should something happen with one of your accounts.
2. Look for Banks that Partner with Your College
Many colleges partner with local banks to provide students with easy access to a suite of banking services. Some colleges even have small banks on campus and offer credit cards. Visit your school website and see if there’s any information about partner banks, but be mindful that campus-affiliated accounts may come with fees that can add up if students don’t use the accounts carefully. Be sure to talk to a bank representative about these types of accounts before signing up.
3. Keep Additional Fees in Mind
Smaller banks, like credit unions, offer great terms but can sometimes lack in features of larger banks. When choosing a bank, look for one an account with no monthly fee, no overdraft fees and a widely available network of automatic teller machines.
4. Think about More than One Bank
You don’t have to keep your savings and checking at one bank. Sometimes, students can get better rates if they mix things up and keep one account with one bank, and the other account with another bank. There are also online banks that offer online savings accounts with higher yields and lower minimum deposits—all while still giving you easy access to your money. If you’re okay with making online transfers regularly, this could be a good option for you as well.
If you’re thinking about getting a university account, you’re taking on your new adult responsibilities head on! Just make sure to be aware of the many different accounts, fees, and payment structures that often come attached to student or campus-affiliated accounts. This way, you can remain confident that your money is in a safe place, you always have access to it, and you can pay for all the items you’ll need for your college experience.