If you have student debt, you probably already know that opening a bank account can be much more stressful than it seems. Those with student debt tend to have less disposable income, as you’re probably going to be putting more of your income toward paying off your student debt. That means it’s absolutely essential that you’re thinking about your student debt when you open your new bank account. Here are five questions to ask before you open a new one.
1. What Fees Does This Bank Account Have?
The fees associated with a bank account can be extremely significant. Even fees that seem to make sense, like overdraft fees, can be detrimental to your ability to manage your bank account. This is especially true if you’re working with a generally lower amount of money on a day-to-day basis. Look for a bank account with as few fees as possible.
2. Does This Bank Account Have a Minimum Balance Requirement?
A minimum balance requirement can make sense for some people, but if you’re hoping to put most of your money toward paying off your student debts, it can be frustrating. Your best bet will be to choose a bank account without a minimum balance requirement of any kind.
3. How Do I Unlock Rewards and Similar Benefits?
Some bank accounts have built-in rewards, some have no rewards at all, and some have rewards that you can only access by doing certain things. For example, you may need to have a certain amount of direct deposit set up with the bank itself. No matter how you unlock the rewards, know this information before you set up your bank account.
4. How Is This Bank Insured?
Typically, a bank will have insurance through either the FDIC or the SIPC. The FDIC insures most banks, while the SIPC instead insures investing firms. Make sure you see the exact dollar amount that you’re insured, along with any special information that you need to know before you start your bank account.
5. Does This Bank Account Include Any Introductory Bonuses?
Introductory bonuses are an amazing way to get even more out of your money. An introductory bonus with a Sofi bank account is great because it typically doesn’t even require that you spend any money. Instead, you’ll often get the bonus just because you opened the account or because you did something like add direct deposit to your account.
Student debt shouldn’t itself have a negative impact on your ability to open a bank account. However, what many people unfortunately miss is that a bank account can actually be a benefit to your student loans as long as you know how to use it. Make sure you’re looking into a variety of different accounts and pieces of information to choose the right bank account for your needs, student debt or not.