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Chase College Checking Account Review – Good Banking Option for Students?

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At a Glance
4.1 / 5
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Chase College Checking

  • Accounts: Chase College Checking
  • Bonuses: $100 in bonus cash when you open a new Chase College Checking account, enroll in paperless statements, and complete at least 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of account opening (offer expires 1/24/2020)
  • Monthly Maintenance Fees: $6 (waived from account opening until expected graduation date, up to 5 years)
  • Minimum Deposit Requirements: $0
  • Benefits: Fee-free access to approximately 16,000 Chase ATMs and 5,000 branches; mobile check deposit; Chase QuickPay; text banking

Chase College Checking is a low-cost, lightweight checking account for college students. It’s designed to streamline and simplify day-to-day spending so that student users can focus on what really matters: passing their classes, scoring coveted internships, and having amazing study abroad adventures.

Chase College Checking is pretty straightforward, but it does have some twists and turns worth explaining in detail. It also has a nice account opening bonus that’s a perennial contender for our monthly list of the best bank account bonuses available to U.S. consumers.

Here’s what you need to know about its features, upsides, downsides, and overall suitability.

See Also: Looking to get a head start on building credit? Check out our roundup of the best student credit cards and apply for your favorite today.

Key Features

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible account holders are individuals aged 17 to 24 with proof of college student status. Non-students aren’t permitted to apply, and graduates can’t retain their accounts indefinitely after leaving school.

Account Opening Bonus

You’re entitled to a $100 cash bonus when you open your Chase College Checking account, enroll in paperless statements, and make at least 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of your opening date. This offer expires 1/24/2020.

Minimum Deposit Requirements

The minimum opening deposit is $0.

Transaction Limits

Once your account is open, there are no transaction limits or other restrictions on account activity, provided your balance remains positive and you adhere to the other terms and restrictions spelled out in the Chase College Checking Guide to Your Account.

Mobile Check Deposit

You can make check deposits from anywhere using Chase’s mobile app. You just need to take a photo of the front and back of your endorsed check and follow the simple instructions to complete the transaction.

Text Banking

This account comes with 24/7 text banking functionality. You can complete a variety of tasks, such as balance checks, using simple text commands.

Online Billpay

You can pay bills on a one-time or recurring basis using Chase College Checking’s online billpay feature. The functionality is built into Chase’s mobile app, so you can take care of business from just about anywhere, whenever the need strikes.

Send and Receive Money

Chase College Checking customers can send and receive money in moments using Chase QuickPay® with Zelle®.

Important Fees

Chase College Checking’s fees include:

  • Monthly Maintenance Fee: The $6 monthly maintenance fee is waived under any of the following conditions: for up to 5 years while you’re in college, when your account receives a direct deposit at least once in a monthly billing cycle, or you maintain a $5,000 ending day balance in your account.
  • Non-Chase ATM Fee: There’s a $2.50 fee per withdrawal for non-Chase ATM withdrawals in the U.S. and major territories. Outside the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the fee is $5 per withdrawal.
  • NSF Fee: For NSF transactions that result in a negative balance of $5 or greater, there’s a $34-per-item fee, subject to a 3-item daily limit. If your account remains overdrawn for more than 5 consecutive days, there’s a $15 daily extended overdraft fee, even under the $5 negative balance threshold. For NSF debit card transactions to go through, you have to opt into Chase Debit Card Coverage.
  • Card Replacement Fee: If you lose your card, there’s a $5 card replacement fee.
  • Currency Adjustment Fee: When you make debit card transactions or ATM withdrawals in currencies other than U.S. dollars, you’re subject to a 3% currency adjustment fee. This accrues on top of any other international ATM fees and surcharges levied by Chase, local banks, and ATM operators.

Customer Support

Chase College Checking customers enjoy 24/7 support from Chase online and by phone.

Advantages

  1. Monthly Maintenance Fee Easy to Waive. Chase College Checking’s $6 monthly maintenance fee is pretty low by “adult” bank account standards, and it’s a snap to waive. If you can prove that you’re currently enrolled in college, you’re automatically eligible for a fee waiver for up to 5 years from your account opening date. Otherwise, all you have to do is accept a single direct deposit each month – a snap if your employer or government benefits provider offers direct deposit. You can maintain a daily minimum balance of $5,000 too, but that’s likely a heavier lift for cash-strapped students.
  2. Solid Account Opening Bonus. This account’s $100 opening bonus is easy to snag. Just open your account, enroll in paperless statements, and make at least 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of your account opening date. That’s an average of 1 transaction every 6 days. Bear in mind that this offer expires 1/24/2020.
  3. Mobile Check Deposit Capabilities. You can deposit checks on the go with Chase’s mobile check deposit feature. This is great news for account holders who don’t live, work, or study near a Chase ATM or branch.
  4. Fee-Free Access to Approximately 16,000 ATMs and 5,000 Branches. You’re eligible for fee-free withdrawals at roughly 16,000 Chase-branded ATMs and 5,000 Chase branches nationwide.
  5. No Minimum Balance Requirement. This account does not have a minimum opening balance requirement. That’s great news for frugal college students.
  6. Text Banking Capabilities. Chase College Checking’s text banking function is super convenient. No longer do you have to find an ATM or branch, or log into your online account on public WiFi or LTE, to check balances or transfer funds.

Disadvantages

  1. Strict Eligibility Requirements. Chase College Checking has pretty strict eligibility requirements. You need to be between the ages of 17 and 24, and an active college student, to open your account. If you’re looking for a checking account that you can keep open for decades, look to a mainstream option, such as Capital One 360.
  2. Chase ATMs Aren’t Available Everywhere. Chase has pretty good ATM coverage, but its machines aren’t ubiquitous. My home state of Minnesota, for instance, is the land of U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo – there are no Chase branches here, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Chase-branded ATM. If you live in a Chase-saturated area, you’ll love this account. Otherwise, look to an option that’s more prevalent in your neck of the woods.
  3. Hefty International ATM Surcharge. If you’re studying abroad, traveling on a cultural exchange program, giving back on a mission trip, or doing anything else outside the United States as a student, prepare to pay more at foreign ATMs. Chase charges $5 per withdrawal at non-Chase international ATMs – on top of whatever the ATM operators themselves charge.
  4. No Yield on Deposits. Chase College Checking is a non-interest-bearing account type. If you’re looking for a high-yield checking account, look into an online bank alternative, such as Ally Bank or EverBank.

Final Word

It’s never too early to start down a fiscally responsible path. Even high school students can get in on the action. Students aged 13 to 17 are eligible for Chase High School Checking, a similar product designed with adolescents in mind.

If you’re on a college track following high school graduation, it’s easy to switch to Chase College Checking when you’re ready. If you’re headed straight into the workforce, just wait until your 19th birthday and your Chase High School Checking account will automatically morph into Chase Total Checking. Either way, you’ll have a leg up on your less fiscally savvy peers.

Are you in the market for a college checking account?

Verdict
4.1 / 5
Rating

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Chase College Checking

Chase College Checking is ideal for frugal college students who aren’t studying abroad and don’t have complex financial needs. Its monthly maintenance fee is easy to waive, making it a true free checking option for the duration of your undergraduate studies (up to 5 years). If you’re looking for yields or truly ubiquitous banking coverage, you need to look elsewhere.

Advantages include easy monthly maintenance fee waivers, $100 account opening bonus (through 1/24/2020), mobile check deposit and text banking capabilities, fee-free access to 16,000 ATMs and 5,000 branches, and low minimum deposit requirements.

Drawbacks include strict eligibility requirements (basically limited to active college students within a narrow age band), gaps in Chase’s physical branch and ATM coverage, hefty international ATM fees, and no yields on checking balances.

Overall, Chase College Checking is a low-hassle, low-cost checking account option for low-drama U.S. college students.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Greekalphabets readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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