5 Best Student Checking Accounts

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 31, 2023

A student checking account can be a first step in financial independence and building money management skills. While typically marketed to college students, helping your high schooler open a student checking account can ensure good financial habits early.

Student checking accounts offer low or no monthly fees, low or no minimum balance requirements, and simplicity of access. If you're in the market for a student checking account either for yourself or your child, the options below offer many benefits and few downsides. 

Some of these student checking accounts even offer small interest payments. Read on to find five of the best options this year. 

What is a Student Checking Account?

A student checking account is a standard checking account specifically designed for students. Student checking accounts typically have low or no fees and low minimum balance requirements. 

A student checking account might be right for you if you're currently in high school, college, or vocational school. Some banks limit student checking accounts to students ages 17 to 24 years old, while others require proof of enrollment in school. In a few cases, you can continue using the student checking account long after you've graduated. While the best bank for college students will vary by individual requirements, many offer favorable terms for those just starting out. 

How Do Student Checking Accounts Work?

A student checking account, like a traditional checking account, is a place where you can deposit money and make expenses. You can make deposits by online transfer, automatic paycheck deposits, or by cashing checks. 

Student checking accounts may limit account holders to a specific age range, like 14 to 25. Students under 18 will need a parent to be a joint account holder, but they can be removed from the account once the student turns 18. 

5 Best Student Checking Accounts

Here are five of the best student checking accounts to consider this year

  • Best for Cash Back: Discover Cashback Debit Checking
  • Best for Younger Students: Capital One MONEY Teen Checking
  • Best for Interest Payments: Axos Bank Rewards Checking
  • Best for Credit Union Account: Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking
  • Best for Physical Branches: Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking

1. Best for Cash Back: Discover Cashback Debit Checking

The Discover Cashback debit card has low fees and 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month. With the Discover Cashback card, there's no monthly maintenance fee, non-sufficient funds fee (i.e. overdraft fees), or out-of-network ATM fees. You get official bank checks at no charge. There's no minimum deposit for account opening. 


  • No minimum deposit
  • No overdraft fees
  • Free checks
  • 1% cash back on purchases up to $3,000
  • 60,000 surcharge-free U.S. ATMs
  • 24/7 customer service 
  • Apple Pay compatible


  • No interest earned on funds in the account
  • No cash back for purchases above $3,000 a month
  • No physical branches
  • Some mobile apps and debit card functions are only available for Apple

2. Best for Younger Students: Capital One MONEY Teen Checking

The Capital One MONEY Teen Checking account is specifically designed for students up to age 18. You can open the account with no minimum deposit requirement, few fees, and an extensive ATM network. Students can switch to a regular Capital One 360 checking account and transfer the balance at age 18.

Capital One MONEY Teen Checking account stands out for access to a highly-rated mobile app and Capital One's website. This account comes with a debit card that can be used at more than 70,000 ATMs. 


  • 0.10% interest rate
  • No minimum deposit
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Debit card for kids
  • Highly rated mobile app
  • Optional parental controls
  • 70,000 ATMs in network


  • You must convert it to a standard checking account when the child turns 18
  • $500 daily purchase and withdrawal limit (although this could also be a pro)

3. Best for Interest Payments: Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Axos Bank Rewards checking account has low fees, low minimums, and a large ATM network of over 91,000 ATMs throughout the US. Axos Bank Rewards also offers unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements for out-of-network ATM use. 

With this tiered-rate account, you can earn up to 3.30% APY total, although most students won't maintain a balance large enough for that amount. You'll need a minimum deposit of $50 to keep the account open.

With a highly-rated mobile banking app available on the App Store and Google Play, Axos Bank Rewards Checking is an excellent introductory checking account for students that can grow with you. It's currently offering a $100 account signup bonus.


  • Interest up to 3.3% APY
  • No monthly fees
  • No overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees
  • Unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements
  • Competitive tiered interest structure
  • 91,000 ATMs in network


  • No physical branches
  • No interest on balances over $50,000
  • Stringent monthly requirements to earn higher interest

4. Best for Credit Union Account: Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking

The Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking account offers a modest 0.25% APY but has no minimum deposit requirements. On account opening, you'll get a Visa debit card and a box of standard checks. 

This credit union account has a top-rated website and mobile app for iOS and Android. You can easily deposit checks, use budgeting tools and manage financial transactions through the app. You also get access to 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs and rebates up to $20 per month in third-party ATM fees.


  • Some interest payments
  • Low fees
  • Excellent app
  • Complimentary debit card and checks
  • 80,000 ATMs in network
  • Up to $20 per month in out-of-network ATM charge rebates


  • No physical credit union locations
  • You'll need credit union membership 

5. Best for Physical Branches: Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking

You can open a Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking account with just a $25 minimum balance. There are no overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees. The monthly fee is waived for customers ages 13 to 24.

The Wells Fargo account comes with digital tools for budgeting, managing cash flow and spending to help students learn basic budgeting and financial management. 

With this Wells Fargo account, you can access 12,000 surcharge-free ATMs or visit approximately 4,900 branches nationwide.


  • Branch locations across the country
  • $25 minimum deposit
  • No feesHighly rated mobile app


  • Smaller ATM network than others on this list
  • $5 monthly maintenance fee for people 25 years of age or older 

How to Choose a Student Checking Account

If you're ready to choose a student checking account, here are key considerations:

No Monthly Fees

Look for student bank accounts that do not charge monthly fees. Many banks offer free checking accounts specifically designed for students. Prioritize those options to avoid unnecessary costs.

No Minimum Balance Requirement

As a student, you might not have much money to keep in your account. Choose student bank accounts that do not require a minimum balance to avoid potential fees.

ATM Access

Ensure the bank has a network of ATMs available on or near your campus. This will allow you to access cash easily without incurring out-of-network ATM fees.

Online and Mobile Banking

Look for a bank that offers convenient online and mobile banking features. This includes checking your account balance, transferring funds, depositing checks, and paying bills through their mobile app or website.

Overdraft Protection Options

Check if the bank offers overdraft protection to avoid costly overdraft fees. Some banks may link your checking account to a savings account or a line of credit to cover overdrafts automatically.

Student-Friendly Services

Some banks offer additional perks for students, such as discounts, cashback rewards, or special offers on products and services. Consider these extras when making your decision on the best student bank accounts.

Customer Service and Support

Research the bank's customer service reputation and availability. Good customer support can be crucial if you encounter issues or have questions about your account.

Financial Education Resources

Some banks provide financial education resources for students to help them manage their money effectively. These resources can be valuable for those who are new to handling finances independently.

Location and Branch Availability

Consider the bank's physical branch locations if in-person banking is important to you. Having a nearby branch can be useful for cash deposits or other in-person transactions.

Account Holder Age Limits

Check if there are age restrictions on the student bank accounts. Some accounts may only be available to students within a specific age range.

Parental Involvement

If you're under 18, find out if the bank requires parental consent or joint ownership of the account. Some banks offer special accounts designed for minors that involve parental oversight.

Should You Choose Student Checking Accounts?

The best checking accounts for students offer significant benefits. Just like student discounts or special student credit cards, a student checking account comes with unique rewards to plan your financial future. If you're a student, a student checking offers low fees and extra bonuses from cash back to interest to earn a little bit more. The budgeting tools many student checking accounts offer mean that even while you're busy with classes, you'll have the tools to manage expenses and start saving more.

Frequently Asked Questions


What factors should I consider when choosing a student checking account?


When choosing a student checking account, look at monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, and minimum balances. Check also the ATM network and whether checks and a debit card are included free of charge.


Can I have a student checking account if I am under 18 years old?


Yes, you can have a student checking account up to age 24 or 25 in most cases. Some checking accounts, like the Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking, allow you to maintain a checking account even after you turn 25, although it comes with a $5 monthly fee.


What is a student checking account and why should I get one?


A student checking account is a standard checking account designed for students. You should get a student checking account with a low minimum balance and no fees to manage your finances easily.

Alison Plaut

About Alison Plaut

Alison Plaut is a personal finance writer with a sustainable MBA, passionate about helping people learn more about financial basics for wealth building and financial freedom. She has more than 17 years of writing experience, focused on real estate and mortgage, business, personal finance, and investing. Her work has been published in The Motley Fool, MoneyLion, and she is a regular contributor for Benzinga.