Banking in College

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Banks are not a student’s best friend. They might keep your money safe, but they also love to slap account holders with plenty of fees. Fees you can’t possibly afford to pay every month.

So here are a few tips on opening and managing your checking account in college.

1 – Find a Bank with an ATM Nearby

When you need money, you need it now. You won’t have time to walk or drive 2 miles to the closest location in-between classes. Instead you’ll wind up throwing money away on ATM surcharges. So choose your bank wisely. Make sure the ATM locations are convenient on your college campus.

2 – Open a Free or Student Checking account

Did you know that you could pay $9 a month just to keep your money in the bank? When you open your account make sure that’s a free or student checking account without any maintenance fees.

3 – Go Paperless

Many banks have recently started charging maintenance fees to account holders who have a paper copy of their statement delivered; so go paperless. Paperless is better anyway, you’ll save a tree and you’ll never have to worry about your mail disappearing in your frat house.

4 – Use the ATM

Instead of heading inside to deposit your paycheck use the ATM. Stopping inside to have a teller deposit your check or withdraw money might actually cost you money. So stay as electronic as possible to avoid unnecessary fees.

5 – Overdraft Settings vs. Overdraft Protection

Banks are no longer permitted to overdraw your account and charge an overdraft fee without your permission. If you’re using your debit card for a purchase that exceeds your available balance your card will be denied. That’s your overdraft setting.

Overdraft protection, on the other hand, is an option you can elect, which gives the bank permission to transfer funds from your savings account to your checking account. You will be charged every time this feature is used. But they can’t do it unless you opt in. So, is it really necessary?

6 – Saving Programs

Many banks offer optional savings programs that automatically transfer money to your savings account every time you use your debit card. If you do choose to opt in to one of these programs be careful. Don’t forget to subtract that extra dollar from your bank account when you calculate your balance.

7 – Policies change

Keep an eye on emails and online notifications from your bank. Fee structures and policies are always changing and you don’t want to find out about a change after you get smacked with a $50 fee. Stay alert.