There are quite a lot of expenses that come with going off to college. Aside from tuition and rooming costs, you’ll likely have to foot the cost of a few pricey textbooks, and you may even be paying a few bills now! On top of that, you’ll be paying out of pocket for your own personal expenses, such as food and transportation.
If you’re looking for a way to take some of the hassles out of budgeting for college, you should consider a Bank of America student account. There’s certainly a lot to think about regarding what exactly you need out of a bank. However, a student account with Bank of America offers a great deal of flexibility.
Whether you’re comparing banks or trying to learn how student banking can benefit you, this quick guide will walk you through what you need to know.
Getting Started on Your Way to Financial Independence
Financial independence can be a tricky thing to secure when you’re just starting out on your own. On top of attending class, studying, and working, you’re now handling all your expenditures mainly independently. Through Bank of America, though, you’ll have all you need to secure your financial independence.
With thousands of branches across the country, Bank of America is accessible and convenient. Branch employees will be able to not only help you set up your account but walk you through the basics of banking. If you’re looking for financial help or need a little bit of guidance, Bank of America has also partnered with Khan Academy to provide financial advice for students!
Student checking accounts and savings accounts come free of maintenance fees for eligible students under 24. Additionally, you have breathing room to make mistakes and learn to budget with waived overdraft fees. If you’re looking to build up a savings account, you can even opt for the Keep the Change program. This program will round up your purchases and deposit the difference directly into your savings account.
A Digital Financial Toolbox Right at Your Fingertips
There’s an app for that, of course! Bank of America’s mobile app puts a digital financial toolbox at your disposal! The app will allow you to check your balance, transfer between accounts, check your transaction history, and much more. Zelle integration means that you can send money to friends without needing to download a third-party app, even if they’re not a Bank of America customer!
Not everybody has gone digital, of course; you might still end up with a written check for your birthday. Mobile deposits let you snap a picture of the check with your phone and deposit your check digitally. All images are stored within Bank of America’s servers, leaving no sensitive data on your phone.
If you’re looking to budget better, the spending and budgeting tool will help you track your spending habits and keep college costs manageable. If you’re looking to motivate yourself to save and budget better, you can even set savings goals!
Additionally, you can set up custom alerts for account events such as deposits, low balances, or pending withdrawals. You can have these alerts sent to your email or even have text alerts sent via SMS.
Are you a fan of your phone’s digital assistant? The Bank of America mobile app features Erica on certain devices. Erica is a virtual banking assistant that can help you at any time of day! Erica is integrated with most major app features, allowing you to check your balance, view your rewards/cashback, monitor recurring payments, and much more!
Look After Your Financial Security With Cutting-Edge Security Features
What if you’ve lost your debit card and can’t remember if you last used it in the book store or the dining hall? Luckily, the Bank of America mobile app features remote debit card controls. You can “lock” your card from the app to prevent purchases from being made and can just as easily “unlock” it if you find it again. Don’t worry if you happen to have recurring payments, as these will still go through even as your card is locked.
What if you don’t find it? You can easily report the missing debit card, as well as request a replacement from within the app. If you’re in a pinch and need your card back now, you can even issue a digital debit card to your phone’s digital wallet. Digital wallet functionality is available even when you have your card, allowing quick, secure contactless payments.
In the event you can’t stop someone from using your card, Bank of America offers fraud protection against unauthorized use. With the $0 liability guarantee, you won’t be held liable for unauthorized purchases made with your card. Remember, you still have to report the transactions in a timely manner!
The Bank of America mobile app offers 24/7 fraud monitoring to provide an added layer of defense. Additionally, the app utilizes most phone thumb scanners, allowing you a secure and quick way to access your bank accounts.
Handle Sudden Expenses While Building Your Credit History
Things can creep up on you pretty quickly. Whether it’s a sudden car repair or a textbook you forgot to get until the last minute, a sudden expense can be highly detrimental to your financial stability. If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your financial safety net, you could consider a Bank of America student credit card.
Credit cards let you purchase now and pay later. You do, however, have to pay interest on these purchases. In particular, student credit cards tend to have lower interest rates, and Bank of America is no exception.
Bank of America’s selection of credit cards offers a variety of different perks and benefits in addition to lower interest rates. For a balanced entry into credit cards, the BankAmericard for students offers one of the bank’s lowest interest rates, in addition to the $0 liability guarantee.
If you’re looking for more direct benefits, Bank of America also offers students a customized cash rewards card. This intriguing card offers 3% cashback on purchases within a category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases.
A more straightforward card is the unlimited cash rewards card for students. This card offers a flat 1.5% cashback rate on all purchases. Additionally, there’s no limit to the cashback that students can earn, nor do they expire!
For students looking to travel abroad, the travel rewards card for students allows you to earn travel points! Points can be earned anywhere at any time and go towards your rewards balance. This Bank of America card functions like an airline miles card, only with the flexibility of any airline or hotel chain you want!
Credit cards offer many active benefits, but they also provide a passive benefit that you may not have had to worry about yet as a student. As you use your card and pay off its balance, you’ll build your credit score. Your credit score affects how easy it is to rent an apartment, secure a mortgage, finance a car, and sometimes even some jobs!
Most Bank of America student credit cards come with free FICO score monitoring. A FICO score is a composite of your creditworthiness, based on how well you manage your debt. Things such as missed payments can take points off, but continually spending and paying back your credit card will help add them.
Studying Abroad? You’re Eligible for a Bank of America Student Account!
A college student bank account isn’t out of your reach if you’re an international student looking to come to the United States. If you hold a Visa and have a physical address in the United States, you need to do some prep work before opening your account.
In addition to the full address of your US residence, you’ll need the full address of your residence in your home country. Make sure to include the street name and number, city, town, province/state, and country. If you reside in an apartment building, also make sure you provide the name of it.
Next, you’ll need at least one of the following documents to prove your address:
- Government-issued photo ID
- University photo ID with the campus’ address
- A current utility bill in your name and for your address
- Lacking any of these, official documents such as rental agreements may suffice
You will also require two forms of identification. This requires one form of photo identification from the list below:
- Foreign passport
- US Non-Immigrant visa and Border Crossing ID Card DSP-150
- Mexican, Guatemalan, Dominican, or Colombian Consular ID
- Canadian Citizenship Card
You will also require one of the documents off this list as well:
- Foreign or US driver’s license
- US student ID for the current term or school year
- A major debit or credit card with either the Visa Or Mastercard logos
- A major retail credit card
- A Department of State Diplomatic ID Card
- Mexican Voter Registration Card
Once you have your documents prepared, schedule an appointment with your local Bank of America branch. Once your account is open, you’ll have full access to the benefits of a student account!
Finance Your First Car With an Auto Loan
It’s already a pretty complicated hassle paying for college, but what if you’re looking to make a big purchase like a car? After all, you’re already out on your own; you’ll need your own wheels! Luckily, Bank of America makes it easy for students to finance a car on their own.
Bank of America works with dealerships around the country to help customers finance vehicles: This means that you can shop for a car directly through the bank and apply for financing all at once. If you’re hoping to shop around for a while, any rates offered once you apply for a quote are locked in for 30 days.
If you happen to find a car that’s not being sold at a dealership, Bank of America also offers private party loans. These function similarly, with the seller being paid in bulk by the bank and you paying them back in return. If the car you want happens to be for sale by its current owner, a private party auto loan will come cheaper than a personal loan. This difference in cost is due to the car serving as collateral for your loan.
Additionally, if you come to college already leasing a car, it’s possible to refinance or even buy out your loan! Through Bank of America, you can apply for a lease buyout loan as a means to adjust your monthly payments. Remember, however, that you’ll need to consult your existing lease agreement first! If you’re not careful, you may be stuck with fees as a result of breaking your lease.
If you’re looking to refinance without a buyout, you can do it through Bank of America or the bank you’re currently leasing through. If hoping to refinance for lower monthly payments, make sure to consider your car’s current market value. If your current loan payoff balance is more than your car’s value, you might have to pay the difference out of pocket.
Finding Financial Independence Can Be Difficult
While the debate is still out on the best banks for students, Bank of America student account services serve as a versatile option. With cutting-edge digital tools, 24/7 fraud protection, and a wide variety of ways to navigate the path to financial independence.
Managing a work/life/study balance can be extremely difficult with the pressures of managing personal expenses. If you’re heading to college soon, or you’re just entering, and you’re wondering about paying back your student debt, check out our guide on how to pay for college. Bookmark our blog and check back weekly for advice on financing your college education!