Stock investing for dummies – The Best Free Checking Accounts For College Students

Stock investing for dummies

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Today we’re checking out the best free checking accounts for college students (or anyone really). If you’re looking at banking products, you MUST use a free checking account. Don’t fall for gimmicks like starter checking, student checking, etc. Typically, these accounts all start you on a free program, but after a certain period of time, they transition you to a paid checking account product.

Too many people fall for the myth that banking is expensive and that your only options for a checking account involve fees, or maintaining outrageously high balances to keep the fees waived. But today, we’re fighting this myth.

We’re going to show you​ three options for students (and anyone really) that offer truly free checking accounts. No fees. No minimums. No strings attached.

Fighting The Myth Of Free Checking Accounts

​We talked about it slightly above, but there is a long standing myth in America that checking accounts are expensive. As a result, too many people go without this tool, and end up using expensive tools like check cashing, money orders, and more.

According to a NerdWallet study, the average checking account charge $10-12 in monthly maintenance fees. That’s crazy!​ There is no reason than anyone should pay these fees when opening a checking account.


Furthermore, to waive these fees, many “big banks” require you to open other products with them (such as a savings account), or maintain a monthly minimum (say $5,000 at all times, or pay the fee), or they require you to have direct deposit setup. Some banks even have a transaction requirement to waive the fee – for example, you must have 25 debit cards transactions per month, or you get charged a fee. All of these fees and requirements are wrong.​

What Students Need In A Checking Account

Students (and other people) typically maintain lower balances than older Americans. They also might not have a job yet (for direct deposit), or have other accounts at the bank. As such, they have unique requirements that we wanted to share, so that you can see how we based our criteria for the best free checking account options.

In order to be one of the best free checking accounts, we put the following criteria in place:

  • No Monthly Maintenance Fees: This is a big one. All of the accounts we consider must not charge a monthly maintenance fee, today, or ever. We hate gimmicks, and some banks waive the fee for a certain amount of time, and that’s still not okay with us.
  • No Or Low Monthly Balance Required: You shouldn’t have to have huge amounts of money to waive fees or qualify for a free checking account. We only look for banks that don’t have a monthly minimum balance requirement or if they do, it’s incredibly low.
  • No Direct Deposit Requirement: Many students don’t have jobs yet, so it can be hard or impossible to get direct deposit. As such, we don’t want banks to require direct deposit for free checking.
  • Awesome Online Access: The best free checking accounts will also have awesome online access, a great app or mobile site, and be accessible anywhere.
  • No ATM Fees: College students are on the move. They should be able to access their money for free, where ever they are.

The Best Free Checking Account Options​

Based on that criteria above, here are our choices for the best free checking accounts available. ​

stock-investing-for-dummies

Aspiration Summit Checking Account

  • No Minimum Monthly Deposit
  • No Monthly Maintenance Or Service Fees
  • No Minimum Balance Requirement
  • Earn Interest On Your Checking Account Balance
  • Free ATM Withdraw With ATM Fee Reimbursement
stock-investing-for-dummies

BBVA ClearChoice Checking Account

  • $25 Minimum To Open A Checking Account
  • No Monthly Maintenance Or Service Fees
  • No Minimum Balance Requirement
  • Free ATM Fees With ATM Fee Reimbursement
  • Free Checks (but who uses checks anymore?)
stock-investing-for-dummies

USAA Classic Checking

  • $25 Minimum To Open A Checking Account
  • No Monthly Maintenance Or Service Fees
  • No Minimum Balance Requirement
  • Free ATM Fees With ATM Fee Reimbursement
  • Awesome App With Mobile Check Deposit

Final Thoughts

Hopefully you can see that there are good options for free checking. You don’t have to pay fees to have a checking account – you just need to open your account at a good bank. 

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