BEST OF

8 Best Bank Accounts for College Students

The best bank accounts for college students have easy opening requirements, low or no fees and high interest rates.

Ruth Sarreal
By Ruth Sarreal 
Edited by Yuliya Goldshteyn

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A bank account can help college students manage money and build good financial habits. The best bank accounts for college students don’t charge monthly fees or require direct deposit, and they have forgiving overdraft policies and well-rated mobile banking apps, and offer multiple customer support options.

Note that college students under 18 typically need an adult to be a joint account owner.

Why trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure fairness and accuracy in our coverage to help you choose the financial accounts that work best for you. See our criteria for evaluating banks and credit unions.

Summary of the best bank accounts for college students

  • PNC Virtual Wallet Student: Best Budgeting Tools

  • Discover® Cashback Debit: Best for Cash Back

  • Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking: Best for ATM Access

  • Ally Bank Spending Account: Best for Overdraft-Friendly Bank

  • Varo Bank Account: Best for International Travel

  • Alliant Credit Union Ultimate Opportunity Savings Account: Best for High-Yield Savings (tie)

  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account: Best for High-Yield Savings (tie)

  • Wells Fargo Everyday Checking: Best for Branch Access

Discover the bank accounts that fit your financial goals
Just answer a few questions to compare bank accounts that meet your needs.

Best Bank Accounts for College Students

Our pick for

International Travel

NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5
Varo Bank Account
Learn more

at Varo Bank, Member FDIC

Monthly fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Our pick for

Best Budgeting Tools

NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5
PNC Virtual Wallet Student
Monthly fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Our pick for

ATM Access

NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5
Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking
Monthly fee

$0

APY

0.25%

Bonus

N/A

Our pick for

Overdraft-friendly Bank

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
Ally Bank Spending Account
Monthly fee

$0

APY

0.10%

Bonus

N/A

Our pick for

High-Yield Savings

NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5
Alliant Credit Union Ultimate Opportunity Savings Account
APY

3.10%

Bonus

$100

NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account
APY

4.50%

Bonus

N/A

Our pick for

Branch Access

NerdWallet rating 

4.0

/5
Wells Fargo Everyday Checking
Monthly fee

$10.00

APY

N/A

Bonus

$300

Our pick for

Cash Back

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
Discover® Cashback Debit
Learn more

at Discover® Bank, Member FDIC

Monthly fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Last updated on November 14, 2023

Methodology

Methodology for the Best Bank Accounts for College Students

To determine the best bank accounts for college students, we took a close look at accounts that are specifically designed for students as well as accounts with features and benefits that are helpful to students but not specifically designed for them. We compared the accounts based on monthly fees and requirements, overdraft policies, ATM network size, number of branches, mobile and online banking capabilities and customer support options.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Bank Accounts for College Students

Frequently asked questions