Whether you’re an international student studying in the US, or a US native student trying to navigate the (often confusing) world of banking to open a student bank account, it can often be difficult to understand a) what you’re being offered and b) what you actually want from a bank account.\r\n\r\nFor anyone left feeling a bit confused about student banking, you definitely aren’t alone! Read on as we explain what some of the biggest banks in the US are offering students and how you can take advantage of this. Free money, anyone?\r\n\r\nWhich student bank account do I need?\r\n\r\nIn the US there are two main types of bank accounts you should know about: the checking account and the savings account.\r\n\r\nA checking account is the bank account you’ll be using on a day to day basis. These accounts allow you to access your money whenever you want and provides you with a safe place to store your money. These accounts are ideal for managing your daily expenses and for paying any bills. Some banks have specific checking accounts for students, which we will be exploring in the table below.\r\n\r\nA savings account is the bank account you’ll use for longer term deposits. These accounts allow you to gain interest on your savings, so it is worth researching each bank’s savings account interest rate to find the one with the highest rate of interest.\r\n\r\nBenefits and extras explained\r\n\r\nBanks often try to entice students with a variety of extras and benefits – but what do they mean? Before we start comparing the different student checking accounts on offer in the US, we’ll give you a quick run though of the different perks banks may use to compete.\r\n\r\nATM charges \r\n\r\nIn the US, banks will often charge you if you take money from another bank’s ATM. As you will see in the table below, some banks will offer an extra benefit by reducing the fees you will be charged for using another bank’s ATM.\r\n\r\nOthers will compete by offering a large number of ATMs around the country. This is particularly common in larger banks, such as Bank of America and Chase bank, who have a lot of branches.\r\n\r\nCash bonuses \r\n\r\nYou may see this and think – free money! However, beware that this may come with certain restrictions, such as having to deposit a certain amount in the bank account each month. But in the end, yes, it is free money.\r\n\r\nOverdraft protection\r\n\r\nWhen you spend more money than you have in your student bank account, you will go into an overdraft. When this happens, your bank may decline your payment and possibly charge you a non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee. Overdraft protection will stop this happening by allowing your transactions to go through, even if you don’t have the money in at the moment.\r\n\r\nYour bank may offer several options: linking an eligible savings account which automatically transfers money over from a savings account to cover the amount, linking a credit card, overdraft line of credit (a line of credit for overdrafts based on your creditworthiness) or even overdraft coverage for one time transactions. However, it’s worth noting that all of these come with potential fees, so bear this in mind before you go on a massive online shopping spree!\r\n\r\nMonthly service fees \r\n\r\nMonthly service fees are fees that banks charge on a monthly basis to maintain your bank account, and are usually between US$6 and $50 per month, depending on the bank and the type of account you open. These fees can easily be avoided, however. For example, they are often waived as a benefit of student bank accounts and can also often be avoided by having a regular monthly deposit or keeping a certain amount of money in your bank account. Make sure you check your chosen bank to verify their policy on monthly service fees. \u0026nbsp;\r\n\r\nWhich student bank account is right for me?\r\n\r\nIn the table below, we compare the top US student checking accounts, made specifically for university students, so you can decide which one is right for you.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tTop US Student Checking Accounts\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tBank\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tBank account name\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tMonthly service fee\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tMinimum initial deposit\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tWho is it available to \r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tOther perks\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tBank of America\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tBank of America Advantage Banking\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tNo fee for eligible students\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$25\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tStudents under 24 and enrolled in school\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tOnline and mobile banking\r\n\r\n\t\t\tDebit card lock/unlock\r\n\r\n\t\t\t$0 Liability guarantee\r\n\r\n\t\t\t\u0026nbsp;\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tChase\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tChase college checking account\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$6 monthly service fee or $0 for 5 years in college\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$25\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tCollege students aged 17 to 24 years old with proof of student status\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tGet $100 when you open a new account\r\n\r\n\t\t\tAccess to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 5,000 branches\r\n\r\n\t\t\tChase quickpay with Zelle® (send money in moments)\r\n\r\n\t\t\tChase Mobile® app\r\n\r\n\t\t\tZero Liability protection\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tWells Fargo\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tStudent checking account\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$10 monthly service fee or $0 for 17-24 year olds\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$25\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t17- 24 year old college students\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tAccess to more than 13,000 ATMs\r\n\r\n\t\t\tWells Fargo Mobile® app\r\n\r\n\t\t\tZero Liability Protection\r\n\r\n\t\t\t24/7 Fraud monitoring\r\n\r\n\t\t\tChip technology\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tHSBC USA\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tHSBC Student accounts\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tNo monthly maintenance fee for six years\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$25\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tOver 18 US students and international students studying in the US\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tReceive $100 welcome deposit\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tHSBC USA\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tHSBC USA International student checking account \u0026nbsp;\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tNo monthly maintenance fee for six years\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$25\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tAvailable for international students until December 31st 2019\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t30-day sim card with unlimited international calls, 2GB data plan, 200 text messages\r\n\r\n\t\t\tAccess to exclusive offers and services, including travel, transportation and airport services and more\r\n\r\n\t\t\tNo minimum deposit balance required with account opening\u0026nbsp;\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tUS Bank\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tU.S. Bank Student Checking Account\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tNo monthly maintenance fee (unless you wish to receive paper statements, which cost $42 per month)\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$25\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tUS or international students\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tFree U.S. Bank ATM transactions\r\n\r\n\t\t\tNo minimum balance\r\n\r\n\t\t\tNo bank fee on first four non-US ATM transactions per statement period\r\n\r\n\t\t\tOnline banking with free credit score access\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tSantander\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tStudent Value Checking\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tNo monthly fee for students\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$10\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tStudents aged 14-25\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tApple Pay\r\n\r\n\t\t\tReduced ATM fees\r\n\r\n\t\t\tNo incoming wire fees\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tTD Bank\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tTD Convenience Checking \u0026nbsp;\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$15 or $0 if between 17-23\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$0\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tStudents aged 17-23\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tUntil December 2nd, 2019, $150 bonus with direct deposits of $500 or more in 60 days\r\n\r\n\t\t\tFree at TD ATMs\r\n\r\n\t\t\tSend money with Zelle®\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tKeybank\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tKey Student Checking\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$5 or $0 if you make at least 5 posted transactions or deposit at least $200 to waive the monthly maintenance fee.\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t$50\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tStudents ages 16 to 24 who are high school juniors or seniors or are enrolled in post high school education\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\tOnline banking\r\n\r\n\t\t\tZero fee overdraft protection transfers if linked to a KeyBank savings account\r\n\r\n\t\t\tFinancial wellness tool\r\n\t\t\t\r\n\t\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\nHow to open a bank account\r\n\r\nSo now you know which bank account is right for you, what you’re probably wondering is how you go about opening your new bank account. Luckily, it’s now easier than ever to open a new bank account, provided you have the correct documents.\r\n\r\nYou will need several things in order to open your new bank account. These are:\r\n\r\n\r\n\tYour passport\r\n\tStudent visa (if you’re an international student) as well as your I-94 card and I-20 form\r\n\tDebit/Credit card from your own country (if you’re an international student)\r\n\tCredit history report\r\n\tProof of enrollment document (acceptance letter)\r\n\tA utility bill (not phone) dated less than 3 months from today or any government issued document including your address as well as your last three bank statements\r\n\tThe amount of money you wish to deposit into your new account\r\n\r\n\r\nNearly all banks allow you to apply for a new bank account online in just a few minutes, by simply entering in the information you’re asked for. However, if you this option is not available for you (perhaps if you are an international student trying to open a bank account) you can make an appointment with a bank branch to sort it out in person.