New freshman entering college this Fall should take the time right now to get their banking account set up if they don’t have one already. Consumerist Commentary rounds up the best student checking accounts and compares their benefits and fees. The good news is that the best of the crop have no fees, or fees waived if you can meet some pretty easy requirements.
For instance, check out US Bank Student Checking, which has a $0 monthly fee, a $1 minimum deposit, and gives you debit card, bill payment, mobile banking, alerts, free non-bank ATMs, and free check orders. TD Student and Fifth Third Student Checking are similar but with fewer features.
The trend seems to be that the bigger the bank is, the more fees and restrictions there are. You may be able to get even better deals by hooking up with your local smaller bank or credit union. On-campus student credit unions can offer very student-friendly terms as well.
Student Checking Accounts Comparison, June 2011 [Consumerism Commentary]