Whether you are headed off to college, or staying closer to home to attend classes, it’s time to think about college student banking.

Read on to learn more about what to look for in a student bank account, how to bank wisely and hopefully learn a few savings tips.

Choose the Best Bank for Your Needs

Try to open a student bank account before you get to campus. It will be one less thing to take care of during freshman orientation. Begin by assessing which banks have branches and ATMs near campus. Some may even be located on campus. This will come in handy if you need to visit the bank to deposit or withdraw money, or if you want to get money from an ATM without paying fees. You should also make sure the bank you select offers convenient features, like:

  • Online banking;
  • Mobile alerts;
  • Paperless statements;
  • Low fees; and/or
  • Special accounts and packages just for student banking.

Get a Student Checking Account

Your first student checking account should offer the convenience and benefits you want. It’s designed so you can easily perform transactions such as withdrawals, deposits and transfers daily. If you get a campus job or your parents send cash, put that into checking instead of keeping it in your wallet.

To access your student checking account, you’ll be given an ATM or debit card that you can use to make purchases, withdrawals. You can also write checks or consider applying for a credit card. You’ll receive monthly statements, which can help you manage your spending.

Look for Extra Features

On top of  paperless statements and an easy-to-use debit card, look for a student bank account that comes with other perks that could be handy:

  • See if you can sign up for mobile alerts when your balance gets low;
  • Find out if the account makes you eligible for student discounts at places like restaurants or movie theaters;
  • Ask about cash back rewards, and/or;
  • Make sure you will have 24/7 live support.

Start a Savings Account

One of the best savings tips for students is to begin saving immediately. Even though you may not be have a job or aren’t earning much money from other projects, you can still set some aside for an emergency.

Once you have your savings account open, you can easily transfer money from your checking account. If you have a steady income, you can set up automatic transfers from checking into savings. Even if it’s only a small amount per week, it will add up.

Think About Budgeting

While budgeting may not be on your mind now, some basic tips may help you in the long run. For example, avoid opening credit cards if you’re not making any money. Maxing out a credit card is an easy thing to do, and tempting.  For example, if you catch a movie a few times a month, hit the local campus hot spot for lunch, or stop for coffee every morning at the corner coffee shop, these things add up fast on the credit card.

Another budgeting tip is to go the cheaper route when hunting for things to do. Look for coupons online or sign up for email discount lists so you can buy the things you want for less. Many discounts are available just to students, so be sure you always have your student ID on hand.

Now that you are armed with these tips, opening, starting and/or maintaining a bank account/checking account while in college can be a breeze.