Whether you’re just starting college or have been hitting the books for a few years, if you don’t have a checking account, it’s a good idea to set one up. Checking accounts make it easy to handle your personal finances, including check deposits, bill payments and making online purchases. It’s also safer to carry around a debit card instead of cash — if the former gets stolen, you can immediately shut down the card to prevent further losses.
Having a checking account also makes it easier to track your spending since you can view your account balance and all of your transactions and debit card purchases online or on your monthly statement. If you decide you’d still like some cash in your pocket, it’s easy to withdraw money from your account at any time with an ATM machine or by getting cash back during purchases.
Since college students often have very different financial habits and concerns than adults who have entered the workforce, many banks offer checking accounts designed for college students. The Chase College Checking account is just one example. In this article, we cover six things you need to know if you’re considering opening a student checking account through Chase bank.
Eligibility Requirements for Chase College Checking Accounts
Chase College Checking is for college students who are 17 to 24 years old. (Note that if you are still in high school, you can instead opt for a Chase High School Checking account, which you can convert to a college checking account once you matriculate.)
The basic eligibility requirements for a Chase College Checking account are as follows:
- Account opening online requires your Social Security number, a driver’s license or state-issued ID, and your contact information.
- To open a new account at a Chase branch location, you will need to bring two forms of ID, such as a Social Security card, taxpayer identification number (TIN), driver’s license with photo or a student ID with photo.
- You’ll also need proof of your college/university student status and expected graduation date. Something like a transcript or an acceptance letter works.
- If you are not a U.S. student, you can still open a Chase College Checking account in any Chase branch as long as you have a passport with photo and the Student INS I-20 or ICE I-20 form or DS-2019 form. Non-U.S. students still need to supply a residential address (U.S. or foreign) and proof of student status.
If you’re unsure whether the documents you have can be used as proof of identification or student status, contact your local Chase branch and ask for clarification. There are no credit score requirements. When you open your account, you will be given an account number information, a visa debit card and a pin number.
Pros and Cons of Chase College Checking Accounts
Like all banking options, there are pros and cons that may make more or less of a difference depending on your situation, needs and so on. For example, you’ll want to consider if there are any monthly fees, overdraft fees and ATM fees that might apply when using a non-Chase ATM, minimum deposit requirements and more.
The following outlines some specific pros and cons of a new Chase College Checking account, which you can use to compare Chase’s offering with other banks.
Pros of Chase College Checking
Aside from being a checking account designed with college students in mind, Chase College Checking includes the following additional benefits and perks:
- Chase bank branch offices are easy to find. There are more than 4,700 branches nationwide and a Chase bank ATM network that is 16,000 machines strong.
- The monthly service fee for Chase College Checking accounts is $0 for up to five years if you are a student between the ages of 17 and 24.
- Chase offers online and mobile banking, including the ability to deposit checks via the Chase mobile app, which means you can bank from just about anywhere.
- You can open a linked Chase savings account for free and use it to save money and as overdraft protection.
- Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, not just during business hours or on business days. This makes it easy to get help with your account on your schedule.
- Opening a Chase College Checking account helps you establish a banking history with Chase bank. This can come in handy down the road when you apply for loans or want to apply for a Chase credit card.
- Other services offered with a Chase College Checking account include free online bill pay and text banking.
Cons of Chase College Checking
Because there are two sides to every coin, there are some negatives to consider when considering a Chase College Checking account, including the following:
- Although Chase bank has thousands of branch offices located around the country, it isn’t located in every state. Chase bank has branch offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- If you want a checkbook to make check payments, this comes with an additional fee.
- Chase College Checking accounts don’t pay interest.
- If you use a non-Chase ATM, you will be charged ATM fees, and Chase bank doesn’t offer ATM fee reimbursement like some banks do.
Chase College Checking Service Fees
In banking, service fees or account fees are fees charged to your bank account to cover services offered by the bank. For example, you might be charged a service fee for using an ATM, transferring money or setting up an account. Some banks also charge monthly service fees, sometimes called maintenance fees, that might be waived if certain conditions are met.
While Chase College Checking charges no fees on a monthly basis for up to five years while you’re in school, after graduation, your account will convert to a Chase Total Checking account, and a monthly maintenance fee of $6 applies. However, this fee can be waived for each month that the following conditions are met:
- You make at least one direct deposit during the month.
- Your average daily balance is at least $5,000.
While there are no monthly service fees while you’re in college, you might be charged fees at non-Chase ATMs, or for money orders or cashier’s checks. You will also be charged an Insufficient Funds Fee of $34 each time you overdraw your account, unless you set up overdraft protection with a linked Chase Savings account.
Chase College Checking Minimum Balances
Some banks require that you maintain a minimum balance in your checking account to keep the account and avoid additional fees. There are many reasons a bank might require a minimum balance.
For example, requiring minimum balances on accounts ensures the bank has a certain amount of cash at its disposal, which allows it to fund withdrawals, lend money and meet certain financial regulations. The bank may also invest this money to add to its profit margin. When minimum balances are not maintained, banks can also profit from the fees charged.
The good news about Chase College Checking accounts are that they have no minimum balance requirements. This makes them perfect for students who may have limited financial resources while attending school.
Chase College Checking Signup Bonuses
New customers who open a Chase College Checking account may qualify for a $100 signup bonus. That’s free money you don’t have to pay back. There are some stipulations, however.
To qualify for the bonus, you must complete 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of account opening. Qualifying transactions include the following:
- Chase debit card purchases
- Online bill payment
- Paying with a check
- Using Chase QuickDeposit to make a deposit
- Using the Zelle app to send or transfer money
- Paying with ACH credits
This offer is only good until 7/14/2021, so if you’re reading this after that date, check the Chase College Checking website to see if any new offers are available.
Is Chase College Checking Right for You?
Only you can decide if you’d like to become a Chase customer. You may want to take some time comparing different college checking accounts before making a final decision, but many college students choose Chase College Checking because Chase is a well-known and trusted banking institution, their accounts have no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, and they are convenient and easy to use.
CollegeFinance.com Is Here to Help Students With Financial Information
CollegeFinance.com offers many resources for students regarding financial topics, student loans, financing and more. Check out the saving for college page for information on organizing and optimizing your finances before you get to college and the financial aid page to learn about how to pay for college expenses.