Student Bank Accounts
Getting ready for college or university can be an exciting and sometimes an overwhelming experience. For many of you, this will represent the first time you will have real independence and responsibility. You will have some big decisions to make – many that you’ve never had to consider before. Apart from the areas of study to choose, you have to focus also on money management and selecting the right student banking products for your individual situation and lifestyle.
The good thing is that you have options, however you should always study the options properly to ensure that you make the right choice.
Before we move on, there’s something you should know about banks and other financial institutions. Many banks are extremely eager to sign you up to meet their long-term customer acquisition goals. Depositing your stipend with them now, increases the chances that you’ll continue banking with them later in life. For instance when you need a business loan, buy a home or even finance your own children’s education. This means that most banks are more than willing to offer you all kind of incentives and schemes, which can be impossible to decipher and make comparison between the banks difficult.
Don’t just settle for the gifts. Throughout your student life you need more than just a onetime freebie. Making a decision based on freebies and incentives is not a smart money tip and could make things harder for you in the long term. Money is often tight as a student which is why it’s so important to make sure you get the best deal on everything concerning your finances. You will need to find a bank that will help you manage your finances, save that extra money you may earn and offers you some financial flexibility.
There are a number of things that you should take into consideration before you select a bank. The location might be an important factor if you will be making most of your transactions at a branch level. However, keep in mind that nowadays there are more convenient ways to access your accounts, like automated teller machines (ATMs), internet banking and also phone banking.
Nevertheless, the most important thing above all these will be the products which are offered by the bank. You should look for an institution that offers a full suite of products for you to choose from, including current accounts, savings accounts, online banking accounts complete with e-bill pay options, credit and debit cards and student loans if that pertains to you.
Choosing your account wisely
Once you have chosen which bank suits your needs the most, you have to work out which type of account is right for you. A good starting point is to think about how important different features are to you, such as ways to run your account, access to cash, interest rates and the services attached to the account.
Before opening the account, ask the bank for the terms and conditions governing such account and make sure to read everything well before you sign on the dotted line. Most importantly, check what charges apply, for example with regards to receiving and/or transferring money in and out of the account.
You might also want to find out what interest rates the bank offers to students, how the account can be accessed, any spending limits (if applicable) and what to do if things go wrong.
When opening the account, you will usually be asked to:
- Provide information about yourself;
- Fill in a form confirming details of the terms and conditions of the account;
- Provide proof of identity; and
- Pay some money into your account.
When the bank provides you with its terms and conditions, look out for any reference with respect to account closure fees. You might incur charges if you decide to close the account before a predetermined date.
You might also want to enquire on how a student account will be treated after you finish college or university and how to go about making new arrangements to open other accounts after you finish your scholastic years. Keep in mind that the bank that might have offered you the best terms on your student account might not necessarily afford the same level of excellence throughout the whole range of its products and services and therefore it is wise to start shopping around again for the best deals.
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