A checking account for the college student in your family

(KOMO file photo)

Kids need a lot of things when they head off to college. A checking account is often one of them.

Helping your son or daughter choose the right financial institution is important.

Ken Tumin, consumer banking expert at DepositAccounts, says a credit union - especially one that caters to college students - could be your best bet.

"Credit unions typically have fewer fees and better rates then banks,” he said.

Make sure the checking account your college student chooses is free – with no minimum balance and no monthly maintenance fees.

And skip the overdraft service.

That way, the bank or credit union will block a debit card purchase or ATM transaction if there's not enough money in the account to cover it. By doing that, there's no overdraft fee.

"If you decide to opt-in for overdraft protection then the bank will cover you in those cases and then you will be hit with a overdraft fee every time you overdraw the account,” Tumin explained.

College students should also find a financial institution that provides free access to a nationwide network of ATMs and offers mobile banking.

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