Shopping for a Bank - By Alicia Messer
As young consumers, it can be difficult to financially establish yourself. There are so many banks with a variety of offers. How are young adults supposed to decide which bank to do business with and which accounts to open? The amount of information received by talking to a banker and taking the time to visit different banks can be overwhelming and time consuming. Below is a summary of a few of the major banks and the account offers they have available for students.
- JP Morgan Chase Bank offers a free student checking account for college students for 5 years.
- Bank of America offers a free checking account for college students who are younger than 23 years old.
- Wells Fargo offers a free college checking account for 5 years when a savings account is opened simultaneously.
- U.S. Bank offers a free checking account to students until college graduation.
- Citi Bank offers a free checking or savings account for students until college graduation.
After deciding which bank works for you (whether that’s based on types of accounts, convenience, or something else), it’s important to understand how the “free” accounts may no longer be free after a certain amount of time. For example, Chase Bank will charge $6/month for their College Checking account 5 years after the account was opened. Be sure to ask a banker how you can limit the fees your bank will charge you.
Shopping around for a bank takes time. Be patient and find the one that fits your needs. Here are some other tips to look for when deciding who to bank with:
- What are the fees associated with the account?
- Do you have access to direct deposit?
- Do you have access to online banking?
- Is there a bank or ATM near your home/school?
- Do you need a parent to sign off on the account?
Use the internet to research your banks of interest before driving around to several branches. Create a list of priorities you want your bank to provide and see which bank can satisfy your needs best. When shopping for a bank, shop smarter not harder!