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All Contents © 2020The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By Miriam Cross, Associate Editor
| From Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2017
The ideal bank for students will also appeal to parents who want to open an account alongside their child for quick and easy money transfers.
Our picks don't have many (or any) branches, but they charge low (or no) fees to maintain an account and withdraw cash, and they have strong mobile and digital features to make branchless banking more seamless.
Free, no-frills Essential Checking is a good choice for students and parents who want to bank together. There is no fee to open the account, no monthly maintenance fees, and no fee for withdrawals at any ATM in the U.S. or to transfer funds from a linked account or line of credit to cover overdrafts. Otherwise, Bank of Internet covers overdrafts on a case-by-case basis, but it doesn’t charge a fee when it does.
Parents can transfer funds between joint BofI accounts instantly or send money via Popmoney, a payment app offered by a number of banks. At BofI, standard delivery (three business days) is free. Students (and parents) can also open a High Yield Savings account, which charges no monthly fees and yields a generous 0.61%.
If you don't live near one of Alliant's 12 branches located in five states, you and your family can bank using Alliant's strong online and mobile banking features. (You can join Alliant if you make a $10 donation to its partner charity, Foster Care to Success.) Kids between 13 and 17 are eligible for a free Teen Checking account, which yields 0.65% as long as they receive e-statements and have one electronic deposit per month—a direct deposit, monthly ATM deposit or transfer from another bank. Once your teen turns 18, the account automatically converts to a no-interest Free Checking account, or your teen can switch to High Rate Checking (0.65% yield) by meeting requirements similar to the teen account. Alliant covers the $5 fee to open the mandatory regular savings account, which pays 1.05% on daily balances of $100 or more. Overdraft fees are a reasonable $25, and covering an overdraft with funds from a savings account costs $3 per day an overdraft is outstanding.
Circumventing ATM fees is easy: More than 80,000 ATMs in several networks are available free to Alliant members, and out-of-network ATM charges are reimbursed up to $20 per month. The mobile app offers a budgeting tool and in-app secure messaging, as well as account tracking and check deposit.
These stellar banks and credit unions are making all the right moves to win satisfied customers: