A rookie’s guide to student bank accounts

Although uni doesn’t start for a few more weeks, chances are you’ve already started upgrading your laptop, phone, or stationery cupboard in preparation for the new academic year. But have you given thought about upgrading your bank account?

Sure, looking for a new student bank account isn’t as exciting as shopping for the latest and greatest techno-gear, but picking the right transaction account today could mean more money your way later down the track.

Why? Some bank accounts have sneaky fees and charges that could eat away at your balance if you’re not careful. While it’s true that all full-time students can have their account keeping fees waived (potentially saving you $6 a month), you might be required to pay for other trivialities such as debit card keeping fees, foreign currency exchange commissions, and ATM withdrawal fees.

These fees and charges vary between different accounts and understandably, no-one wants to spend hours pouring through all the fine print. Fortunately, Mozo’s Student Room has done the homework for you and have narrowed down the best student bank accounts to suit your spending habits.

The online shopper

If you’re addicted to shopping on a screen, you’ll want a bank account that makes online shopping quick and easy. Online retailers generally do not accept payments via EFTPOS, so look for an account that doesn’t charge you for using a Mastercard or VISA debit card. The IMB Everyday Unlimited Kick Start fits the bill perfectly, and sweetens the deal further by charging a low 2.00% foreign currency exchange commision (compared to the standard 3.00% fee). This is perfect if your favourite online stores are based overseas and do not take Aussie dollars.

The IOU(er)

If you need to make lots of payments every month, go for a bank account that offers flexible payment options and unlimited transactions. The NAB Classic Banking is one such account and offers BPAY and PostBill payment functionalities free of charge, which will come in handy come time to pay the bills. There are no minimum balance or monthly deposit restrictions on the Commonwealth Bank Everyday account, and you’ll even get a MasterCard debit card equipped with PayWave technology at no extra cost!

The cash king (or queen)

Are you part of the old school crowd that still prefers using banknotes and coins? Sign up to Commonwealth Bank Everyday Account and you’ll enjoy unlimited ATM withdrawals from all Commonwealth Bank and Bankwest ATMs. With more than 4000 ATMs available, you’ll be able to access Australia’s largest ATM network which means you’ll never be stranded of cash!

The globetrotter

You’re the envy of your cohort because you can afford to travel overseas. But even the privileged few need a travel-friendly bank account. If you’re a globetrotting student, the ING DIRECT Orange Everyday account will stretch your dollars further by only charging $2.50 on overseas ATM withdrawals compared to the standard $5.00 fee issued by other banks. For those who plan on travelling cashless, you’ll be just as well looked after by the Orange Everyday account as foreign exchange commissions are charged at 2.50% of the transaction amount (compared to the standard 3.00% fee).

The well heeled

If you’re part of the exclusive class of students who earn more than they spend, be sure to put your excess savings in a high interest savings account. ANZ, Virgin Money, and IMB all offer fee-free savings accounts that are easy to maintain, and reward you with great interest rates. While opening a savings account might sound like a lot of work, those juicy interest earnings will come in handy when you least expect it (like buying drinks for girls, or getting THOSE heels during the mid-year sales).

A rookie’s guide to student bank accounts was last modified: January 15, 2013 by Shaun Leung

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