Student Banking Cheat Sheet: Which bank account is right for you?

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Choosing bank accounts can be a daunting task. Shaun Leung takes a look at a range of finance packages and matches them according to the needs of different students.

The semester has well and truly begun and by now you’ve upgraded your laptop, phone and stationery cupboard for the new academic year. But have you given thought about upgrading your bank account?

Sure, looking for savvy student bank accounts won’t be as fun as bargain hunting for iGizmos. Just like iPods, everyday transaction accounts come in all shapes and sizes. So how do you know which bank account is right for you? Money comparison website Mozo has come up with a quick cheat sheet that narrows down the best student bank accounts based on your spending habits.

The online shopper
If shopping on a screen gets your blood pumping, you’ll want a bank account that makes online shopping fast and fuss-free. Online retailers don’t accept payments via EFTPOS, so look for an account that doesn’t charge you for using a Mastercard or Visa debit card. The IMB Everyday Unlimited Kick Start fits the bill perfectly, and has the added bonus of charging a low 2.00% foreign currency exchange commission (compared to the standard 3.00% fee). This is perfect if your favourite online stores are based overseas.

The IOU(er)
If you need to pay many bills each month, go for a bank account that offers flexible payment options and unlimited transactions. The NAB’s Classic Banking is one such account and offers BPAY and PostBill payment functionalities free of charge, which will come in handy come time to pay the utility bills. There are no minimum balance or monthly deposit restrictions on this account. You’ll even get a Visa debit card equipped with PayWave technology at no extra cost!

The bargain hunter
If you’re always looking to get more bang for your buck, apply for a bank account that regularly rewards you with perks and cool benefits. With the Bankwest Student Edge account, you’ll be able to score heaps of awesome discounts from major retailers including McDonalds, Hoyts, City Beach, and Wagamama. Just whip out your Bankwest card at the counter and watch the discounts kick in.

The cash king / queen
Are you part of the old school crowd that still prefers using banknotes and coins? Sign up to Commonwealth Bank Everyday Account and you’ll enjoy unlimited ATM withdrawals from all Commonwealth Bank and Bankwest ATMs. With more than 4,000 ATMs available, you’ll be able to access Australia’s largest ATM network which means you’ll never be stranded for cash!

The globetrotter
You’re the envy of your cohort because you can afford to travel overseas. But even the privileged few need a travel-friendly bank account. If you’re a globetrotting student, the ING DIRECT Orange Everyday account will stretch your dollars further by only charging $2.50 on overseas ATM withdrawals compared to the standard $5.00 by other banks. For those who plan on traveling cashless, you’ll be just as well looked after by the Orange Everyday account as foreign exchange commissions are charged at 2.50% of the transaction amount (compared to the standard 3.00% fee).

The well heeled
If you’re part of the exclusive class of students who earn more than they spend, make sure to put your excess savings in a high interest savings account. Commonwealth Bank, RAMS and NAB all offer student friendly savings accounts with great interest rates. Through the magic of compound interest, your piggy bank will fatten up in no time so you won’t have to rely on coupons and vouchers for your morning coffee!

Final tips
Most banks waive their fees for full time students so simply flash your student ID and smile at the bank teller. Remember, picking the right transaction account today could mean more money in your wallet tomorrow to be spent on more important things, like drinks at the uni bar!

[box_light]Editor’s Note: The information within this piece was correct at the time of publishing. Grapeshot advises readers of this piece to carefully consider the PDS statement before creating a bank account. Grapeshot does not endorse the content of this article.[/box_light]

[box_dark]Shaun Leung writes for mozo.com.au, a money savvy website that compares hundreds of banking and insurance products in Australia. [/box_dark]