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9.7.2023 / Financial Tips

Finding the Right Bank for Your College Student

Choosing the right bank is an important decision for college students and their parents. The bank they choose can impact their financial journey throughout their college years and beyond. By understanding their unique financial needs and researching different bank options, parents and students can make informed decisions that will set them up for success.

Financial Literacy is a Critical Life Skill:

College students have unique financial needs and challenges. For many students, this will be their first experience managing a bank account beyond using it for simple transactions to pay for lunch and gas, so it’s important they understand financial concepts of credits, debits, overdrafts, budgeting, tracking spending, balancing an account, and more.

Financial literacy is a critical skill they will need throughout their entire life, so now is the time to make sure they understand the basics; before they order that midnight pizza and overdraw their account causing transactions to bounce and wreaking havoc on their budget.

One great resource to consider is the Kahn Academy Financial Literacy Course, which covers everything from budgeting and saving, to investments and retirement:

Another resource to consider is a budgeting app like Mint ( , which can immensely benefit individuals in terms of improving financial literacy. These apps allow users to track their income and expenses, providing a clear overview of their financial health. By having all transactions categorized, users can easily identify areas where they may be overspending or where they can cut back. Additionally, these apps can provide personalized budgeting tools and alerts, guiding users towards achieving their financial goals. These apps can help individuals develop a better understanding of their money management habits, leading to increased financial literacy and ultimately greater control over their finances.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bank:

When evaluating different banks, there are several key factors to consider. Accessibility is important. While having a conveniently located branch can be very helpful, since most transactions are digital now, a strong online presence may have an even bigger impact. Pay attention to fees and charges, including ATM fees, monthly maintenance fees, and overdraft charges. Student-friendly features like mobile banking apps and budgeting tools can make managing finances easier. Lastly, customer service is vital - responsive and helpful customer service can make a big difference.

Researching and Comparing Banks:

To find the right bank for your college student, it's essential to do your research. Explore bank websites, read reviews, and check customer satisfaction ratings. Seek recommendations from friends, family, or college advisors. Don't forget to utilize on-campus resources like financial aid offices or student organizations that may have helpful insights.

Questions to Ask When Meeting with Bank Representatives:

Meeting with bank representatives is an opportunity to gather more information and clarify any doubts. Ask about account options such as debit cards, and credit cards. Inquire about fees and charges, including any hidden fees, overdraft policies, and ATM access. Learn about the bank's online and mobile banking functionalities, security measures, and budgeting tools. Additionally, find out if the bank provides resources or workshops to help students improve financial literacy.

Choosing the right bank for your college student is a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. By understanding their needs, evaluating key factors, and doing thorough research, parents and students can make an informed decision that will support their financial journey. Remember, the right bank can provide long-term benefits in terms of convenience, affordability, and valuable resources.


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