Personal Finance
Advertiser Disclosure

Best Student Savings Accounts in June 2024

best student savings accounts
iStock

Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.

Updated May 29, 2024

Many college students don’t have much extra money, so they tend to forgo opening things like savings accounts. However, there’s never a better time to establish healthy savings habits than when you’re just starting out.

To help you find the right account, we’ve dug through dozens of student savings accounts and picked out the best for anyone looking to start saving in 2024.

Best student savings accounts compared

Bank/InstitutionBest ForAPYMonthly FeeMinimum DepositFeatures
BMO Alto Online Savings Account
High APY
5.10%
$0
$0
Unlimited transfers and withdrawals
New customer bonus
4.35%
$0
$0
Competitive yield, no monthly fees
Customer satisfaction
4.25%
$0
$0
1% cash back on up to $3,000 per month in debit card transactions, no monthly fees
Earning airline miles
2.5 American AAdvantage Miles per $1 saved
$0
$0
Earns American Airlines miles and no monthly fees
Combined savings and checking
Up to 4.60%
$0
$0
New account bonus, get paid two days early, additional FDIC insurance
Combined spending, savings, and investing account
Up to 5% APY
$0
$0
Manage savings, investing, and credit building from one app

Our recommendations

Best for high APY: BMO Alto Online Savings Account

With its recent Bank of the West acquisition, BMO has expanded its foothold across the Midwest and western states. However, the BMO Alto Online Savings account is available to customers anywhere in the U.S. We love it because it offers a 5.10% APY, one of the highest yields currently on the market.

In addition to its high APY, there is no minimum deposit to open an account, and you won’t pay any monthly fees to keep it open.

Pros:

  • No minimum opening deposit.
  • No monthly fees.
  • High APY.

Cons:

  • Can’t make cash deposits into your account.

Best for no fees: Barclays Online Savings

Barclays Online Savings is a no-fee account, making it ideal for students. This means you’ll be able to keep more of your hard-earned cash. Barclays does not require a minimum deposit to open an account or charge monthly maintenance fees. Plus, the APY is competitive, at 4.35%. While this isn’t the highest available, it is still very respectable compared to many other traditional banks.

Pros:

  • No monthly fees.
  • No minimum deposit.

Cons:

  • Lower APY than many online banks.

Best for customer satisfaction: Discover® Online Savings Account

When you have an issue when dealing with a company, you want confidence that it will be resolved. Discover Bank is known for delivering outstanding customer service. In 2023, J.D. Power named Discover “Best for Customer Satisfaction” for all direct bank savings accounts.

Additionally, the Discover® Online Savings Account has no monthly fees or minimum deposits and earns a respectable Savings: 4.35% variable APY.

Pros:

  • Award-winning customer service.
  • Discover also offers student loans.

Cons:

  • APY is less competitive than others on our list.

Best for earning airline miles: Bask Bank Mileage Savings Account

If you prefer travel rewards over high interest, consider the Bask Bank Mileage Savings Account You’ll earn 2.5 American Airlines AAdvantage miles for each $1 you save annually. The best part is that the miles you earn can be used for flights on American Airlines or one of 20+ partners.

There is no minimum deposit required to open an account, and Bask Bank doesn’t charge monthly fees. If airline miles aren’t your thing, it also offers an Interest Savings Account with a 5.10% APY.

Pros:

  • Earns American Airlines miles.
  • No minimum deposit.
  • No monthly fees.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer the ability to add a checking account.
  • Maximum of six withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle.

Best for new customer cash bonus: SoFi Savings and Checking

SoFi Savings and Checking is a popular choice for many students because it provides both a checking and savings account. Plus, when you open your account, you can earn up to a $300 bonus with the following direct deposits:

  • $50: When you set up direct deposits totaling $1,000 to $4,999.99.
  • $300: When you set up direct deposits totaling $5,000 or more.

In addition to a generous sign-up bonus, SoFi offers up to 4.60% APY on savings account balances (1.20% APY without direct deposit) and 0.50% APY on checking accounts. Plus, there are no account fees, and you can receive your paycheck up to two days early when you set up direct deposit.

Pros:

  • Generous sign-up bonus.
  • No account fees.
  • Access to paycheck up to two days early.

Cons:

  • No reimbursement for ATM fees.
  • Savings APY is lower without direct deposit.

Best for combining spending, savings, and investing: Step

If you’re looking for a bank account to help you manage all your finances, look no further than Step. With a Step account, you can access a spending, savings, credit builder, and investing account all in a single app. This is ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with multiple banks.

When you sign up, you can choose between a Step or Step Black plan. Step accounts have no fees, while Step Black charges a $99 annual fee. With a Step account, you’ll get a 5.00% APY when you set up direct deposit. No direct deposit is required to earn 5.00% APY with Step Black.

Pros:

  • Generous APY.
  • No fees for the basic Step account.
  • Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit.
  • Spending, savings, credit building, and investing in a single app.

Cons:

  • Direct deposit or annual fee is required to earn 5.00% APY.
  • $99 annual fee for Step Black account.

Methodology

Our team reviewed dozens of savings accounts to find the best for students. We focused on fees, APY, new account promotions, and useful digital tools. The best overall accounts on our list feature low or no fees for typical banking use and provide customers with an above-average APY on savings balances.

How to choose a student savings account

When choosing a student savings account, consider the following factors:

Monthly fees

Students are typically on a fixed budget, so even paying modest bank account fees can be a challenge. Always look for an account with no monthly fees so you can keep more of your money.

APY

Most people use savings accounts to store their money safely and earn a little interest on the balance. Ensure the account you choose offers an APY that’s competitive with other banks and doesn’t require you to jump through many hoops.

Access to money

When choosing a bank account, you want to choose one where you can easily access your money when needed. This could be through bank-to-bank transfers or free ATM access to your funds.

Alternatives to student savings accounts

If you’re a student in search of a savings account, don’t feel as though you need to settle for one specifically for students. There are many great savings accounts available that offer high APYs and no fees and are still a great choice for students.

If you don’t need instant access to your cash, you could also consider other account types, such as a money market account or a certificate of deposits (CD). These accounts tend to have higher APYs than high-yield savings accounts.

More about the best student savings accounts

What is a student savings account?

A student savings account is just like a regular savings account, but it can include features that cater to a student's needs, such as no fees, early direct deposit access, free ATM use, or cash back on purchases frequently made by a college student.

Some student checking accounts require the account holder to be enrolled in high school or college, while others require the person to fall within a certain age range.

Student savings accounts: Pros and cons

Pros:

  • High APYs
  • No fees
  • No minimum balance

Cons:

  • No check-writing abilities
  • No ability to deposit cash
  • May require customers to set up direct deposit to access certain benefits

Benefits of student savings accounts

Opening a student savings account has several benefits.

Most importantly, you’ll be able to earn interest on your savings. Some savings accounts also have digital tools to help make your life easier—such as early direct deposit access, budgeting apps, and the ability to earn shopping rewards when you spend.

Key considerations when choosing a student savings accounts

When choosing a student savings account, consider the following:

  • Monthly fees: Look for an account that doesn’t charge a monthly fee. This includes most online bank accounts.
  • Minimum balance: Some accounts require you to have a minimum balance to avoid a maintenance fee. Shortlist accounts without this requirement.
  • Minimum deposit: Many online banks allow you to open an account without an initial deposit.
  • APY: Consider accounts that offer competitive APYs, such as those in our review. Many online savings accounts offer APYs between 4% and 5%, and some offer even more.
  • Cash access: If you deposit or withdraw cash regularly you’ll want to ensure your account offers convenient ATM access.
  • Digital tools: Digital tools, like budgeting tools, can make things much easier for college students who are often away from home and managing money on their own for the first time.

TIME Stamp: Plenty of student accounts to suit your needs

Many options are available if you’re a post-secondary student looking for a savings account. But don’t just sign up for the first account you see. Consider the most important features, including APY, monthly fees, and other tools that make it easy to manage your money.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can parents or guardians open student savings accounts for their children?

If you are under 18, you cannot open an account alone. You need a parent or guardian to open a custodial or joint account. If you are over 18, you will be responsible for opening the savings account and signing any necessary paperwork.

Are there any restrictions on using funds from student savings accounts?

No, the funds in your savings account can be used for anything you like. However, keep in mind that if you withdraw all the funds and the account has a $0 balance for an extended period of time, the account could be closed.

What type of savings account is best for students?

As a student, you may be on a tight budget. Look for a savings account that doesn’t charge fees or require a minimum balance, and offers an attractive APY.

How do you open a student bank account?

When opening a student bank account, consider your choices and pick the best account for your needs. Once you’ve identified the right account, you’ll need to apply for it either online or in a branch location. Most banks require you to provide your legal name, Social Security number, physical address, and government-issued ID. Once your account has been approved, you can fund it.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

1.2322.0+1.68.1