Student Stories

Why Did I Open 4 Bank Accounts?

Varun is attending the Community College in LA. He shared his experience about opening bank accounts and credit cards.

Student Bank Accounts

I would like to share about my BANK EXPERIENCE in California. I opened some bank accounts in

  1. Bank of America,
  2. Chase,
  3. CitiBank
  4. Wells Fargo

Bank of America Campus Edge Account

The best bank for students that I have found is Bank of America. They have really good service. They provide checking account for students called “Campus Edge account”.

The “Campus Edge account” is perfect when a depositor is an international student. The account doesn’t require to keep a maintaining balance. You can open even at a zero balance.

They will give an Over Draft protection too if the person is found eligible. They can also issue student credit cards if we apply for some.

Credit card application requires a Tax ID. It can be obtained by filling a W7 form. This is for non residents and non US citizens. Having a tax ID is helpful in banking transactions.

Other Bank Accounts

  1. Chase Bank is new in California. But the bank needs a minimum of 25$ for account opening.
  2. CitiBank is okay but it requires minimum balances to be maintained when a student opens an account.
  3. Wells Fargo is a little complicated and it doesn’t have many branches either.

One thing a student should remember when opening bank accounts is the need to always keep a check on your accounts. Normally, the transactions in USA are all internet / online based.

Monthly bills like telephone are charged over the internet. If we get less balance and the account is over drawn, then OVERDRAFT fees can be imposed as penalty.

So be aware of your bills so that your bank account doesn’t go into negative. I hope I had provided some useful information based upon my real life experiences in Los Angeles.

Don’t Open Multiple Accounts

I’m not sure why you had to open 4 bank accounts. All you really need is just one checking account that has ATM/branch in your campus or close to your home. Opening 4 bank accounts is definitely not required and is just too much.

I’m wondering what was the incentive for opening 4 accounts. Did those banks offer you referral fees of $25 or $50?

Just keep tabs on your credit card spending. Credit card debt is bad and it will come back to hurt you later on.

Know how much money you have in your checking account and swipe your credit card only within that level or don’t use your credit card for major purchases.

You have to use the card to build a good credit history, so be careful on what you use your card for.

  • Student Credit Card – Getting into Debt
  • How to Apply for Student Cards

Don’t spend money on your credit card when you don’t have money to pay for the credit card at end of a month.

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  1. Hi Raghu,

    It has been such a long time since I have posted anything on Happy Schools Blog. Well, here is the thing. I opened 4 bank accounts just to find out which works the best. After a span of an year, I closed Chase Wells Fargo and Citibank. I only maintained Bank of America and Chase being free to students. Chase has a super fast customer service experience as they are new. Right now, I have closed Chase as well because I did not need it anymore. I reopened Citibank as they had a good promo of $300 gift card upon applying for a savings plus checking account with minimum $1000 monthly balance. Currently, I maintain Citibank & Bank of America only. For Credit cards, I have American Express.

    As per my experience, two bank accounts are more than enough. Just keep one for foreign transactions such as money transfers from India and another bank account for local use such as purchasing groceries. I agree with Raghu that having 4 bank accounts sounds bit strange. It was an experiment as all the accounts were offered for free to students and I was basically doing a research. In the nutshell, two bank accounts are enough. For good credit history, request for a prepaid balance credit card and use it wisely to build a descent credit score.

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