All students need bank accounts to have their student loans and grants paid into. Even if you already have a bank account, you should still consider these accounts. The list on this article contains accounts that are ideal for students.

All of them are free accounts, all of them offer free ATM use of some sort or another, and all of them have a mobile app that students can use on their iPhones, Android phones, or both.

What Students Need To Know

The first thing you should know is that an APY is the annual percentage yield. It gives you an idea of how much money you are going to get as interest on your account, but an APY requires you to keep your money in the account for over a year. There are some accounts on this article that will pay you for shorter terms, but you should always assume that the APY requires you to keep the money in your account for a year.

1. Avoid Credit Cards

Credit card companies target students with very fierce and aggressive methods because they know that once the students get into debt they will never get out of it. It starts a negative cycle that can haunt students for his or her life.

2. Avoid Student Credit Cards

These are almost worse than regular credit cards because they are targeted at students and marketed in a way that makes you accept worse deals and spend more money. If regular credit card companies were piranhas, then student credit cards would be crocodiles.

3. Foreign And Domestic Transaction Fees Are Different

If you are studying abroad or making visits to other countries, then be aware that US transaction fees and overseas transaction fees are different. There may be different charges for moving money overseas, and there are almost always ATM fees.

4. You Should Not Pay ATM Fees

A good checking or debit account is not going to charge you to use ATMs. A good account will offer a certain number of free ATMs, and may even reimburse you for fees you pay with other ATMs. As a student, it is imperative that you do not waste money on things as foolish or needless as ATM charges.

5. University Credit Unions Are Not A Sure Thing

They are marketed as if they are a sure-thing discount or deal for students. The credit unions make it appear as if students are in a select group and that is why they are allowed better rates and better deals, but the opposite is true. Students are a high-risk prospect that companies target because they want their custom over the long-term. Credit unions can be as bad as credit card companies and should be avoided with equal vigor.

6 You Probably Shouldn’t Be Saving

It sounds like terrible advice to tell a student not to save, but the truth is that living as a student is expensive and a student doesn’t have a full-time income. Saving is a good thing, but students need to save the saving for later and therefore shouldn’t concern themselves with savings accounts.

Best Bank Accounts for Students

1 – Simple Mobile Banking

  • Geared Towards Smartphone Obsessed Students
  • A Very Good And Clear Mobile GUI
  • The ATM Finder Is Very Useful

With this checking account, you get a mobile app that you use to manage your account. They have a safe-to-spend function that is geared towards students. The app figures out what the student should and shouldn’t be spending. They factor in your upcoming bills and your scheduled transactions to figure out what you should and shouldn’t be spending. You may transfer money for free and pay your bills with the account. They also have real people within their customer service department.

Why We Recommend It

The first and obvious criticism is their lack of good online facilities because it is all geared towards mobile phones and mobile Internet. Nevertheless, if you are looking to manage your accounts and your money via your Smartphone, then this is the account you need. Their photo check deposit function is handy, and their auto-savings and auto-budgeting functions are ideal for students. They have over 55,000 fee-free ATMs, they offer a free visa card, and there are no maintenance fees and minimum balance stipulations. It is ideal for students.

2 – Bank Of Internet USA

  • No Overdraft Fees or Non-Sufficient Funds Fee
  • Cash-Back Purchase Rewards
  • Free FinanceWorks™ Money Management Software

If you keep your money in your account, then you can earn interest of up to 1.25% APY, which is a fairly good rate. You can enroll for their cash-back rewards scheme where you get money back for yours purchases. They have a Bill Pay function that allows you to pay bills and their checking account comes with the free use of ATMs around the country. You can use whatever ATM you like, and the bank will reimburse you for their use. Plus, there is no limit to how much money they will reimburse you for. You only need $100 to open your account, and that is only a deposit, it is not a fee.

Why We Recommend It

The fact that they do not charge for overdrafts and/or non-sufficient funds with this account is a big benefit to students. If you are not very good with your money and sometimes you go overdrawn, then this account will save you a lot of money. The fact they have unlimited ATM reimbursements is fantastic, and their money management software is ideal for students that have not yet figured out how to budget their money correctly. This is a brilliant account for students that are not great with their money, and frankly, that is most students in the USA. It is hard to fault this account and it has earned its lofty position on this list.

3 – Ally Bank

  • No Minimum Balance Or Maintenance Fees
  • APY Rates Between 0.10 And 0.60%
  • 24/7 Live Customer Care

This is an interest-generating checking account that doesn’t require maintenance fees and there is no minimum balance needed to open the account. They have real people within their customer service department, and they will pay for your ATM use up to $10 per statement cycle. They have a mobile app that you can use to manage your account; they have an eCheck deposit system and allow ACH transfers. You can move your money easily and pay bills with your online account.

Why We Recommend It

The account is almost flawless and students should consider it as a strong contender for their custom. You get to use their 43,000+ Allpoint ATMs for free, and they will reimburse you for ATM fees up to $10 per statement cycle if you use other ATMs. Their mobile platform is easy to use, the signup process is simple, their customer support is passable, and they have far fewer masked fees than many other banks, credit unions and financial institutions. You can set up recurring payments, pay people with PopMoney, pay bills and make easy deposits. There is very little to complain about.

4 – Moven

  • Instant Notifications With Every Purchase
  • Link Your Accounts And Use Them On Your Phone
  • 42,000+ ATMs

They have invested a lot into their mobile app, which is why this account is so student friendly. It allows you to manage and move your money online and with your app. They have an ATM finder that you can use on your phone, and you can link and control all of your Moven accounts with your phone. You can leave your wallet at home and use their tap-to-pay function and the MasterCard PayPass, you can pay your friends, and you get a free debit card.

Why We Recommend It

The account is difficult to criticize, which is probably why it has such a good online reputation. Obviously, if you are looking for a traditional or an online account, then you should maybe look elsewhere, especially if you do not have a Smartphone with a touch screen. If you do have a touch screen device, then this may be the account for you, which is ideal for students since they are often very keen on Smartphones and mobile devices. The only real downside is that it can take a while for your money to transfer in or deposit in and become available for you to spend.

5 – Charles Schwab Bank

  • Fees Rebated On Every ATM In The World
  • Deposit Checks With Your Smartphone
  • Earn Interest On Your Account

Accessing your money and your account is very easy, and the online user interface is intuitive and easy to use. There are no monthly service charges and you do not have to maintain an account minimum, which is ideal for students. Link your account to Apple Pay so that you may make purchases with your iPhone, you get free checks and a free debit card too. They have a free Bill Pay system that you can use on the Schwab website and with Schwab mobile. There are no maintenance fees, no minimum balance requirements, and no opening fees.

Why We Recommend It

The fact they have unlimited ATM fee rebates is good, but the fact that they apply all around the world is fantastic and is something you will not see with many other deposit/checking accounts. The reason this bank is not further up the list is because it is great, but just not as great as the accounts before it. The other accounts above it on the list are 100% ideal for students, but this account is ideal for students and for small-time investors in tandem. The slight tinge towards investing and away from students is the only reason this account doesn’t rank higher, otherwise it is fantastic and a strong contender for your custom.

6 – Salem Five Direct eOne Checking

  • Mobile Check Deposits Via A Mobile App
  • First Order Of Checks Free
  • Free ATM Use No Matter Where You Are

With Salem Five Direct eOne Checking™, you are able to use an ATM wherever you are and you will not be charged a fee. If one is sent to your account, then the Salem Five Direct company will pay it for you. The account allows you to pay your bills online and via their app, you get your first order of checks free, and there is no minimum balance to maintain. They do not have maintenance fees, and you can even get cash back on your non-pin based purchases with your debit cards. Your rewards are not in the form of points; they are in the form of cash that is delivered to your account.

Why We Recommend It

Their policy to pay your ATM fees is very good and very attractive for students, who shouldn’t be paying fees for withdrawing their money anyway because they cannot afford it. There are no maintenance fees or minimum balances to deal with, which is also good for students, and their mobile app is fairly simply to use. They have worked reasonably hard to improve their app and online security, and you can pay your bills with your online account without worrying about having your identity stolen.

7 – 360 Checking Account

  • No Monthly Overdraft Fees
  • Over 38,000 Fee Free Allpoint ATMs
  • Deposit Apps Via The Mobile App

The 360 checking account is a free checking account that has no monthly maintenance fees and no opening fees. You can sign up without placing a large deposit, and you do not have to pay overdraft fees. You also get 0.20% APY interest on your account, but it only applies if you leave the money in for a full year, and there are few students that will do that.

Why We Recommend It

You get a free debit card with which to make purchases, and they are happy to give students an overdraft. The APY rate is useless because there are few students that can afford to keep their money in their account for a full year. Their mobile app works well, and you can use their ATM locator to find your nearest fee-free withdrawal point. They offer an all-round good service, but their willingness to sell debt to students is a little worrying. Many banks, credit unions and financial institutions sell debt as early as possible because they know it keeps people tied to them for as long as the debt lasts.

8 – USAA Secure Checking Accounts For Students

  • Bank From Anywhere With Their Free Mobile App
  • Convenient Deposit Options
  • Best For Ages 17 And Upwards

You can also get an account if you are joining the U.S. military, which includes signing an enlistment contract or participating in a commissioning program. You can get an account if your parent had, or currently has, a USAA account, if your spouse had, or currently has, a USAA account, and if your spouse has honorably served in the U.S. military.

Why We Recommend It

If you are able to get a USAA account, it is ideal for students. It has a great online reputation; it is just a shame that only people with military affiliations can get an account. There are no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. You can make direct deposits for free, and you can enjoy free bill payments and transfers.

You can take pictures of your checks as a way of depositing them, you can check your account, transfer funds and pay bills. You can put money into your account with their deposit-capable ATMs, you can use Apple Pay, and they have a texts alert function. All of these perks are idea for students.

9 – Bank Mobile

  • Apply And Sign Up In Five Minutes
  • A Savings Rate Of 0.75% APY
  • 55,000 Fee-Free ATMs

With Bank Mobile, you may conduct and manage your account on your Smartphone or your tablet. The Smartphone functions are fine, but it is far easier to manage your account via their tablet app. You can use their apps on either an iOS or Android operating system. There are no fees to maintain your account, and you do not have to pay fees to open it. Their mobile solutions allow a branchless banking experience. One of their biggest bragging points at the moment is the fact they are going to be one of the first banks to have an app on the Apple Watch.

Why We Recommend It

Their savings rate of 0.75% is not high. It is not as high as many savings accounts, but it is still higher than the average checking, debit, and current account. They are trying so hard to appeal to younger people and students that it is sickening. They even have Twitter reviews on their website. They offer a good checking account, so why they are trying so hard with juveniles and misguided tricks like Twitter reviews is a mystery. They would hold far more credibility if they were to simply offer their services and let them speak for themselves.

10 – GoBank

  • No Overdraft Fees
  • A Good Smartphone GUI
  • Deposit Cash For Free

Why We Recommend It

They would be far higher up the list if they were not so troublesome when it comes to their check-cashing tool. If they do not recognize the check, then they close your account because of suspicious activity. If something goes wrong, then you are going to suffer because their administrative skills are lacking. The negative side to this company is being highlighted here because other than their handling of problems and their customer service, they are offering a very good and free account. If you are a victim of fraud, then they are going to take a long time to help you and any situation where you have to deal with their customer service department is going to be a nightmare.

11 – HSBC Personal Choice Checking Account

  • An Amazing Online GUI
  • Free If You Have A Direct Deposit
  • Optional Overdraft Protection

Why We Recommend It

Their security measures are the best of all the companies, financial institutions and banks listed on this article. If you have student loans and/or work money going into the account, then it will remain free. Your combined balance and deposit amount needs to total over $1500, otherwise you pay a $15 monthly fee. This may be a little too much for many students, but for others it is going to be easy to maintain.

The $15 fee for people who do not have enough in their account or direct deposited is the reason this amazing account is not higher on this list. Their online tools are very good and enable you to have full control of what you do with your money and how it is managed. They give you any and all options you would need to maintain and manage your account. HSBC is also one of the few banks in the country that has not had any sort of government bailout in either the US or Europe.

12 – MyCBB Free Checking

  • 0.79% APY rate
  • Easy Sign Up
  • Online And App Banking Tools

Why We Recommend It

The checking account is suited for students that are good with money because they have hidden fees in obvious places. For example, too many transactions may have you charged, and there many of the ATMs you come across will not be fee free. It is only your initial check order that is free, and you need a minimum opening deposit of $100. It is a good account with fairly smooth online and app functions. The signup process is also very simple as you answer small sections full of questions before moving on to the next batch, plus if you have an ATM or debit card or a deposit account (excluding CD accounts), then they can speed up your signup considerably.

13 – Bank 5 Connect Account

  • 0.76% APY
  • Free ATM Use No Matter Where You Are
  • UChoose Debit Rewards program

Why We Recommend It

One of the nice things about the account is the marketing. They have clearly aimed their account at students, but they market the account to them as if they are adults. They haven’t sunk to tactics such as showing how “cool” their mobile app is, or showing tweets about their “killer” services. Their customer support services are good via their online “Connect to a person” function, and they have invested a lot of time and resources into making sure their service is secure and safe. If you want to know about their UChoose Debit Rewards program, then there is a video on their homepage that tells you all about it.

14 – Ever Bank

  • A 1.11% APY For First Time Account Holders
  • Deposit Checks With Your Mobile Device
  • An Easy-To-Use Banking App

Why We Recommend It

The account is clearly marketed at students for the fact it heavily rewards first-time account holders. If you are looking for a handsome APY rate for your first student bank account, then this is the company for you. Their marketing doesn’t mince words, but it also misses out a few stipulations. However, in fairness, they have put their small print on the homepage, which is something that all banks and financial institutions should do.

If you are worried about their small print, the only things that matter is that your funds are not insured, which doesn’t really affect students unless they are very rich. The account may be closed at any time, but that is true of most financial accounts on the market, and the APY may be blended. This means that even though you sign up for a 1.11% APY, it may not be the APY you get.

15 – BlueBird Deposit Account

  • They Add Government Benefits The Same Day
  • No Credit Reviews
  • Online And Mobile Bill Pay

Why We Recommend It

They do not charge a maintenance fee, there are no overdraft fees and no minimum balance required to keep the account open. They do not have credit reviews, and if you are getting government assistance whilst you are studying, then you can have your benefits paid into your account and made available right away. They have a membership benefits system that some students can enjoy, and they have a mobile check deposit system. You can pay bills with your Smartphone and with a desktop computer, and they allow you to create and receive direct deposits.