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Good Bank Accounts?

mensch-o-maticmensch-o-matic Registered User regular
edited June 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm going to be heading off for college soon and i was wondering if anyone knew any good banks for students, especially travelling ones. the bank of america near my house has a neat student banking program (no overdraft fees, no minimum balance, free anti-identity theft protection) but if there's another bank around with a better deal i'd love to hear about it. links to those sites would be appreciated! thanks

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    KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I been with Bank of America, and they always treated me good. Recently had some fradulent charges made on my debit and they cleared it up pretty quickly. Also, when I had a dispute with my gym overcharging me, I took it to them and they got my money.

    Of course YMMV. Credit Unions are another thing to look at.

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    RecklessReckless Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Scout around the local area and ask other students. Usually those student accounts are pretty nice, I've got Student Checking, Student Credit and Student Savings from KeyBank. Obviously the interest rates on the savings account is basically jack, but the fact is I'm a broke college kid and the no overdraft fees plus free foreign ATM use is really nice.

    Oh, and definitely do the online banking thing. Makes life very easy.

    Reckless on
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    mensch-o-maticmensch-o-matic Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    thanks guys, bank of america sounds right for me!

    mensch-o-matic on
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    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Skip the Student Accounts altogether. They tend to add fees to your account for the most random things (atm usage, both ways, GPA and hold payments (if affiliated with the university), double to triple overdraft fees).

    Usually, the standard rates are always better long-term than a student plan. They also have better returns on savings, cheaper checks (or often free), plus very limited fees on a global basis. Remember that "Student Plans" are just another way for Banks to make money, usually by exploiting with double or triple charges fees that new account holders generally make, as most Student Account holders are first time bankers.

    Any of the major institutions are comparable. I've been with SunTrust, Bank of America, and Wachovia(now Wells Fargo). All are fairly comparable. Find out which bank will be the most convenient for you with the best offers and go with them. Shop about, if you will.

    Enc on
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    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Ugh, apologies for the double post. I broke the internet.

    Enc on
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    RecklessReckless Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I'll reiterate that I've had the exact opposite experience with my Student services than Enc has, but I'll add that my bank is not directly affiliated with my Uni.

    Reckless on
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    Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Chase is one to look at as well. Their student account has a lot of nice features. They also have the electronic bill pay feature free for their student account.

    Dark Shroud on
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    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Reckless wrote: »
    I'll reiterate that I've had the exact opposite experience with my Student services than Enc has, but I'll add that my bank is not directly affiliated with my Uni.

    It may well have just been the bank I was working with (SunTrust). The University is huge, and only has SunTrust atms on campus (or anywhere near it, at the time. Going to an off-campus ATM (Suntrust or otherwise) equated a $5.00 fee. It was $7.00 if you went to another banks ATM (not counting the fee from that bank). In short, If I needed cash in a pinch I'd loose about $10.00 of a $20.00 bill to fees. This was only one of the issues. You got checks, a book of fifty, but to obtain more you had to pay a $40.00 ordering fee, plus a $5.00 pick up fee.

    Overdrafting was "free" the first time, meaning that on your first offense they wouldn't charge you. However, should one of their fees go through while you had less than a 0 balance it nullified the free overdraft charges. If you had a 0 or lower balance for longer than 24 hours, you were charged a $20.00 fee. This would trigger a Overdraft fee of $30.00 per transaction (your initial plus the lack of coin for the fee places this at $60.00 minimum). So for Free overdraft protection, you would in essence be paying $80.00 minimum if you didn't replenish your account in 24 hours.

    Then, to close a Student Account, you had to pay a $50.00 closing fee else you would rake up their overdraft charges from the 0 balance fine. To this day I have not paid this, and have this account open (7 years later) with $5.26 in the account (you get fined for having less than or equal to $5.00).

    Not to mention, as the University and the bank has a deal going, any holds on one were transferred to the other. Library book late? ATM account is frozen, etc. Complete crap on Finals week.

    Yes, all of this was in the packet they had me sign, across five pages of 6 point font. Other students in the area had similar experiences with the other major carriers. This may no longer be true, as all of the banks are hurting for business these days, but be sure to check everything before you opt in. Also: bring a magnifying glass.

    Enc on
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    Dunadan019Dunadan019 Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Enc wrote: »
    Reckless wrote: »
    I'll reiterate that I've had the exact opposite experience with my Student services than Enc has, but I'll add that my bank is not directly affiliated with my Uni.

    It may well have just been the bank I was working with (SunTrust). The University is huge, and only has SunTrust atms on campus (or anywhere near it, at the time. Going to an off-campus ATM (Suntrust or otherwise) equated a $5.00 fee. It was $7.00 if you went to another banks ATM (not counting the fee from that bank). In short, If I needed cash in a pinch I'd loose about $10.00 of a $20.00 bill to fees. This was only one of the issues. You got checks, a book of fifty, but to obtain more you had to pay a $40.00 ordering fee, plus a $5.00 pick up fee.

    Overdrafting was "free" the first time, meaning that on your first offense they wouldn't charge you. However, should one of their fees go through while you had less than a 0 balance it nullified the free overdraft charges. If you had a 0 or lower balance for longer than 24 hours, you were charged a $20.00 fee. This would trigger a Overdraft fee of $30.00 per transaction (your initial plus the lack of coin for the fee places this at $60.00 minimum). So for Free overdraft protection, you would in essence be paying $80.00 minimum if you didn't replenish your account in 24 hours.

    Then, to close a Student Account, you had to pay a $50.00 closing fee else you would rake up their overdraft charges from the 0 balance fine. To this day I have not paid this, and have this account open (7 years later) with $5.26 in the account (you get fined for having less than or equal to $5.00).

    Not to mention, as the University and the bank has a deal going, any holds on one were transferred to the other. Library book late? ATM account is frozen, etc. Complete crap on Finals week.

    Yes, all of this was in the packet they had me sign, across five pages of 6 point font. Other students in the area had similar experiences with the other major carriers. This may no longer be true, as all of the banks are hurting for business these days, but be sure to check everything before you opt in. Also: bring a magnifying glass.

    dude, thats a problem with that particular bank not student accounts in general.

    in general if its a name like HSBC or bank of america or citibank or wachovia or something that actually has a name worth mentioning, they aren't going to screw you over. they want you to carry your bank account with them over to when you graduate and get a high paying job so screwing you over is against their interest.

    Dunadan019 on
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    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009

    dude, thats a problem with that particular bank not student accounts in general.

    in general if its a name like HSBC or bank of america or citibank or wachovia or something that actually has a name worth mentioning, they aren't going to screw you over. they want you to carry your bank account with them over to when you graduate and get a high paying job so screwing you over is against their interest.

    SunTrust is a Major bank in the S.E. US, comparable with Wachovia or WaMu in saturation for the region. At the time, the other banks (BoA, WaMu, Wachovia) has similar plans with similar fees. My roommates all had similar problems (with the exception being the guy working with the Navy Credit Union, those guys are hardcore).

    My point is, regardless of how good it looks, the model in 1999-2003 was to make money via fees as the total deposits in student accounts is usually negligible. This might not be true now. Check to make sure before hand, what can it hurt?

    Also, be sure to check the student rate, then the normal rates at another branch. Shop around, you are a customer, after all.

    Enc on
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    jclastjclast Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Do you have a checking account with ATM card access right now? Do they have branches (or at least ATMs) near your campus? If so, you're set to just keep using your regular checking account. Assuming you have a job (for direct deposit) and meet the minimum balance then you should be able to get a free checking account anywhere.

    jclast on
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    mensch-o-maticmensch-o-matic Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Thanks for the insight Enc, but i believe that the problems you mentioned would not occur with the bank of america, according to their brochure (i'll have to look it over again, though) thanks for giving me a few things to look out for, though

    mensch-o-matic on
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    mensch-o-maticmensch-o-matic Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    jclast wrote: »
    Do you have a checking account with ATM card access right now? Do they have branches (or at least ATMs) near your campus? If so, you're set to just keep using your regular checking account. Assuming you have a job (for direct deposit) and meet the minimum balance then you should be able to get a free checking account anywhere.

    nope, starting out fresh

    mensch-o-matic on
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    matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Bank of America is fine for student accounts.

    At one point banks were making deals with colleges to sign students up and basically link the checking account to the school. I know my student ID had a magnetic strip that made it also my ATM card through BB&T. Now though, you can go into a bank and basically say "I'm a student" and as long as you fall into the right age range (usually under 25) they give you a student account.

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    KillgrimageKillgrimage Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    DO NOT DO BoA. After I made an account with them, they decided my name was similar to someone else’s (even though it was a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT name) who owed them money. Next thing I know I have 200$ taken out of my account and three months of me yelling at them to give it back. Some of my checks bounced because of this. The experience was less than stellar.

    YMMV but this was very unprofessional and, from what others have told me, not too uncommon. Just be aware they have their share of issues, and their customer service sucks.

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    MrMonroeMrMonroe passed out on the floor nowRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    BoA can be a terrific pain in the neck if you are going to school in a different state than the one you opened the account. Going from CA to MA, virtually every deposit would be put on hold after they were listed as cleared online, leading to overdraft fees, transfers would take days... it was really on the whole a very annoying experience. I would get an account with a local bank or credit union. You're sure to be able to find one with overdraft protection, good rates, and sometimes without any ATM charges, and the service is invariably better than calling BoA's 800 number.

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    matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    MrMonroe wrote: »
    BoA can be a terrific pain in the neck if you are going to school in a different state than the one you opened the account. Going from CA to MA, virtually every deposit would be put on hold after they were listed as cleared online, leading to overdraft fees, transfers would take days... it was really on the whole a very annoying experience. I would get an account with a local bank or credit union. You're sure to be able to find one with overdraft protection, good rates, and sometimes without any ATM charges, and the service is invariably better than calling BoA's 800 number.
    The problem with Bank of America in California was due to antitrust action in the 50s. Basically Bank of America in California, and Bank of America everywhere else, are two different banks. Up until the 80s, it was Bank of America in California, and First Interstate Bancorp everywhere else. The name got switched back to Bank of America in the 80s, but they only started consolidating the actual systems within the past couple years. It's gotten better though, moving money between accounts started in California and elsewhere, and depositing money into a California-opened account when you're in another state.

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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    My current BofA account started as a Nationsbank Student account. Never really had any problems with it and it was nice not to have to carry a balance, and there was no direct deposit required. It used to have limitations on the number of in person bank visits per month (2/month, though this was 14 years ago).

    I wish I'd kept my University Federal Credit Union account though. It had all the features of the BofA account, fewer limitations, better rates (for savings or loans), and lower standards for lending to customers. It had sufficient ATMs locally, but not really outside the city.

    Djeet on
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    KivutarKivutar Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    For what it's worth, I had a friend with a BoA account who used automatic billing for her utilities.
    Her phone or gas/electric bill was overcharged by a matter of two digits, causing all sorts of overdraft fees & everything else you could imagine.

    The utility coming being a utility company wasn't eager to refund the money in any sort of timely fashion, and a month on she went to the bank to see about having the charges reversed. They were entirely unhelpful, to the point of stonewalling her - I started going in with her every few days to see if I could help, each time we'd be shunted off to a different manager, told we needed to speak to someone else, who would invariably tell us that they could do nothing, and/or to take it up with the utility company again. This shit went on for months before her father finally had his lawyer make a few calls to right the situation.

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    cncaudatacncaudata Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    If you feel like using an online bank, I can comfortably recommend ING (ingdirect.com I think...). My wife and I use it for almost everything now, mortgage, bills, direct deposit, etc. They have better interest rates, fewer fees, and are easier to work with than just about any brick and mortar bank I've ever had. They have ATM cards that have a relatively extensive network, I think, though I don't make use of that (cash is dumb...).

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    th3thirdmanth3thirdman Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    go with Chase 14000 atms

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    ToefooToefoo Los Angeles, CARegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I have BofA for my student checking, and I've never had a problem (although I've never had to use it much outside of CA, so YMMV). I've had my bank info stolen twice in the 5 years I've used them, and both times they got my money back to me and new account info ASAP.

    I would also consider looking at Citibank. This is the bank I will be switching to, since they actually have international branches in the place I will be moving to overseas, and it's a major bank like BofA.

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    firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I pimp this in every finance thread on here - the Schwab Investor Checking account is the best thing ever.

    No account fees, free checks, a variable interest rate (at 0.75% right now, but was as high as 2% when things weren't so crap), and they reimburse all of your ATM fees (obviously, as they don't have Schwab ATMs!). Also, you can make deposits at any Schwab branch.

    Pretty much the best thing ever.

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    mensch-o-maticmensch-o-matic Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    ..well now i dont want a bank of america account anymore, considering i plan on going back and forth between states for college D:

    and Schwab looks pretty neat, but not really for me

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