Consider These Banking Tips for College Students
Whether your soon-to-be college freshman will be starting college thousands of miles away, a couple of hours away or living at home, this is a time for learning of life management skills as well as traditional academic topics. A few tips on personal financial management and banking will go a long way toward avoiding mistakes that may result in additional fees, jeopardize credit ratings or cause embarrassment.
In between shopping for a dorm room or purchasing text books for the first semester, be sure to find time to walk through the tips below:
1. Open a Gen Z-Friendly Bank Account.
If he or she does not yet have a bank account, help your freshman select an account that fits his or her needs. If your college freshman already has an account, consider whether it works for this new stage of life.
Today, many banks offer checking accounts that don’t even include checks, a nod to the ways technology has changed the way younger people pay as well as a proven strategy for avoiding overdrafts.
Check Free Checking Accounts require deposit holders to use a debit card for transactions against the account. Debit cards can also be linked to digital payment apps on their smartphones. Check out Heritage Bank’s Checkless Checking.2. Use Digital Banking to Retain Local Bank Ties.
Your hometown bank offers many advantages – including bankers familiar with your family and community. A decent-sized community bank will also offer the digital banking tools most young people prefer along with the personal service from experienced bankers that can come in handy if the future college student needs a loan or more hands on assistance with banking products.
At Heritage Bank, you won’t be put on hold for 20 to 30 minutes or work your way through a phone tree before finding a friendly banker able to help. Feeling forced to choose between the convenience of digital banking and friendly, competent personal service is just the wrong mindset when it comes to choosing a bank for yourself or for your children.3. Cover Off on Budgeting Basics.
There are many temptations to spend when away from home for the first time – fast food, clothes, entertainment. It can add up quickly and eat away at a checking account balance.
Many digital banking apps and financial management apps help younger people understand the basics of budgeting and allow users to track their expenses through their smartphones. However, it is worth sharing your real-life experiences and tips for anticipating expenses and putting money away for unexpected expenses. Heritage Bank’s digital banking offers tools for analyzing expenses as well as monitoring transactions and deposit totals.
If your child is borrowing money to cover college tuition and related expenses, be sure to seek out a banker or other resources to explain the importance of borrowing judiciously rather than running up more debt to pay off later. Experienced bankers have had these conversations with many young people and may bring up points and solutions you wouldn’t think to mention. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a Heritage Banker before sending your child off to college.
4. Use Debit and Credit Cards Responsibly.
Discuss the responsible use of debit and credit cards. Talk openly about the consequences of misusing these financial tools, and ensure your freshman understands the difference between the two.
Many parents help their kids open credit cards with a low credit line to ensure their children have access to emergency funds or learn to manage credit cards without the risk of running up large amounts of debt. Heritage Bank can help young people explore credit card options.
5. Prepare for Safe Person-to-Person Payments.
Whether it’s paying back a roommate for a shared late-night pizza or reimbursing a fellow student for used text books, young people rely heavily on P2P payments. You might even want to use a P2P app to forward funds to your child living in another city or state. Just be sure to use one recommended by your bank.
Heritage Bank offers customers Zelle, a fast and easy way to send money. As one of the leading P2P services, Zelle is accepted by most banks across the nation. However, with convenience comes risk. Be sure to advise your college freshman to use P2P apps carefully. They should only send money to people they know well and trust.
6. Know Where to Get Cash Day or Night.
Many young people prefer paying through a P2P app or through their smartphones. However, there will still be times when cash is required or preferred. So, make sure there are surcharge free ATMs on campus or within walking distance.
Heritage Bank is part of the AllPoint network, so our customers have access to tens of thousands of surcharge free ATMs across the nation. Locating an AllPoint ATM is as simple as calling 800-809-0308.
7. Use Direct Deposit for Paychecks.
Whether your college student has a job on campus or is planning to earn some extra money waiting tables or working retail, Heritage Bank can help set up direct deposit in minutes. Employers are usually happy to make the process simple for employees because it relieves them of headaches and expenses, but if there are questions, a Heritage Banker is a phone call away.
8. Protect Personal Information
Educate your freshman about the importance of safeguarding their personal information. Remind them to avoid sharing sensitive details, such as account numbers or Social Security numbers, through unsecured channels.
Identify theft is rampant on college campuses. Advise them to shred financial documents, be cautious of phishing emails or calls, and regularly monitor their accounts for any suspicious activity.
To learn more about how scammers are targeting people of all ages, check out the online information Heritage Bank makes available.
Remember, open communication and ongoing support will empower your freshman to make informed financial decisions throughout college. By preparing a young person entering college to bank responsibly, you are setting up a young adult for financial success and independence after earning a degree.