Switching From a Student to a Non-Student Bank Account

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Updated on Thursday, May 27, 2021

If you’re wondering how to change your student account to a normal account, we’ve got good news for you: Your bank will probably do this for you automatically. You’re only eligible for a student account and the incentives that come with it while you’re enrolled in school or meet another requirement.

Once you graduate, age out or otherwise become ineligible, your bank will likely switch your student account over to a standard account. At this point, it’s up to you to decide whether to stick with your current bank or change to a new one.

Let’s take a closer look at what causes a student account to change to a standard one, as well as how to choose the right bank account for you.

How to change your student account to a normal account

As a college student, you’re seen as a hot commodity to banks. To entice you, banks will offer exclusive deals, such as free banking during your college years. However, when you become ineligible, your account will switch to a standard one, and all those perks and savings will come to an end.

Here are some common requirements you may need to meet to have a student account (note that these may vary by bank, so check with yours to see its specific criteria):

  • You’re enrolled in college
  • You’re between the ages of 17 and 24
  • You’ve had your student account for 5 years

Once you graduate, turn 25 or have your account for longer than the specified time frame, the bank will likely change your student account to a normal one. If you have extenuating circumstances, such as not graduating on time, let your bank know. It might be able to extend your eligibility while you’re in school.

Whether or not you’ve already switched to a standard account, it’s worth exploring your options to find the best bank account for you. After all, you don’t want to waste your money on unnecessary fees when you can switch banks and protect your cash.

Fees to avoid when choosing a non-student bank account

Here are a few tips on how to avoid costly banking fees while you’re shopping around for the best “non-student” banking deal for you. Specifically, let’s look at the following:

Monthly fee

When you first graduate from college, you may be living from paycheck to paycheck, with minimal money in your account. Monthly fees for bank accounts can add up quickly, so look for a bank that has no minimum deposit amount and no monthly fees.

A minimum deposit is a set amount of money you’ll need to keep in checking, or else the bank will slap you with a monthly charge. As an example, for Bank of America’s Advantage Plus account, you need to either have a qualifying direct deposit of $250 each month or a daily minimum of $1,500 in your account. Otherwise, Bank of America will charge you a maintenance fee of $12.

These fees are waived for students, but college grads get the unhappy gift of a “real-world” account. Beware — if you’re searching for a job and don’t have a direct deposit going into your Bank of America account each month (or a spare $1,500 sitting in there each day), you’re going to get charged a monthly fee.

Try to keep up with any requirements to avoid fees, or search for a bank with more lenient rules.

Overdraft fee

Big banks can charge you a fee per incident when you go overdraft. These fees can be as high as $35 per overdraft charge. Charges like this can add up quickly, and when you have a low balance in your checking account, it’s easy to make a mistake.

You may have signed up for overdraft protection, but many of the big banks still charge a fee to transfer money from your savings account to cover the cost of overdraft. Make sure you choose an account that doesn’t punish your mistakes with massive fees or nonsense charges to move your money.

ATM fee

Many internet-only banks offer free ATM visits at any ATM in the country. In some cases, you’ll be charged initially, but your bank will reimburse you for the fee.

Returned deposit fee

If you deposit a check that bounces, some banks charge a fee. Big banks can charge up to $19 for returned deposit items, and $40 for an internationally returned deposit item — however, some smaller banks and credit unions don’t charge a fee. Hopefully you won’t encounter any bounced checks, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Lost debit card fee

If you’ve misplaced your debit card, it will typically cost you up to $7.50 to replace — and if you need it replaced ASAP, then it could cost you up to a hefty $25 expedited delivery fee for a new shiny piece of plastic.

To lessen the blow, you don’t have to request expedited delivery on your new card — you can simply use cash you have on hand or a credit card for payments until the new debit card arrives.

Paper statement fee

Some banks charge customers $5 for paper statements. To avoid this fee, search for a bank that waives this fee or look into an account that enables you to bank entirely electronically.

Returned mail fee

When you move, a mail-forwarding request with your post office may not be good enough for your bank. Many banks print “return service requested” on their envelopes, so your mail gets sent back to the bank if it can’t be delivered, upon which a number of banks charge a fee.

These fees can add up, so make sure you update your address with your bank upon moving.

Human teller fee

Some banks charge a fee for using a person to handle transactions. If you’d like the ability to consult a teller, seek out bank accounts that don’t levy this charge.

How to eliminate bank fees

Don’t limit your banking options to banks with branches. Consider internet-only banks, like Ally, Axos Bank and Charles Schwab’s online banking, which often don’t have monthly maintenance fees or ATM fees and offer higher interest rates. Credit unions also tend to levy fewer (and cheaper) fees than traditional banks.

In fact, if you’re interested in opening a savings account, credit unions and internet-only banks often pay higher interest rates on savings accounts than brick-and-mortar banks. Luckily, you don’t have to do all of the work when searching for a fee-free checking account with perks — MagnifyMoney’s got you covered. Just fill out the simple tool here to find a checking account.

Now that you’re aware of these fees, you can take necessary steps to avoid the ones that may put a strain on your finances. After all, as a new graduate, these pesky fees should be the last of your worries.

When all else fails, keep in mind that you’re not obligated to stay with your current bank. If you’re not too fond of the features they offer, consider switching to a different one. Chances are, you’ll find a convenient institution where you can bank without being charged these annoying fees.