Column: Money IQ for the College Bound Student and His or Her Parents

Money IQ
By Karen Easton

How quickly the time has passed and now you are sending your child off to college.

You might be asking yourself, “What does my student know about money management and how can I prepare them for it?”

This week’s Money IQ introduces you and your college bound student to Student checking accounts and the tools available to help manage them.

Most financial institutions have accounts for students. The question is, “How do you determine which one is right for you and your student?”

Start by looking for Student accounts that have low or no minimum balance requirements.

Most will provide free checks but students tend not to write many checks. Debit / ATM cards have the highest usage but they sometimes have additional fees.

Foreign ATM fees, fees imposed by your bank for using another institution’s ATM, are often waived on Student accounts but a fee will be charged by the ATM provider.

A way to save on these fees is to get cash back on transactions, a service offered by some merchants.

Online banking and Mobile banking are great tools for fund transfers, balance and transaction inquiries and bill payments, so look for accounts that offer these services free.

Before you sign up for mobile banking, check your cellular data plan for usage fees. Students may overdraft their account in the beginning so check if the financial institution offers a savings sweep to cover the checking account.

Another option is an overdraft protection line of credit.

These overdraft options can save your student from turning a $4 cup of coffee into a $34 cup of coffee.

Finally, ask yourself, “How easy is it to use the money management products and services offered with the account?”

Explore the financial institution’s website and online products. Make sure it is simple for your student to access their money and account information using these tools.

Remember, the representatives of your financial institution are there to help. Contact your financial partner to find the solution that is right for you.

When choosing your student’s checking account, ask about minimum requirements, low or no fees, unlimited check writing, online and/or mobile banking options, Debit or ATM cards without use limitations, overdraft protection options, and ease of access to money and account information.

As you pack up your student for college, don’t forget to pack your new money management knowledge.

Editor’s note: Karen Easton is an Operations Officer who oversees account services and the teller line at the Los Alamos National Bank Main Office. She has been employed at LANB since February 2007. 

  • Look for Money IQ every Wednesday in the Los Alamos Daily Post.



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