What Students Need to Know About Opening Their First Checking Account

A first checking account is a great opportunity for students to learn about fiscal responsibility and smart money management. At GCS Credit Union, we offer a Student Success Account Package , which includes both a checking account and a savings account for students aged 14-23. These accounts feature a number of benefits, including a personalized debit card and rewards for things like getting straight As for the school year. If you’re a student considering your first checking account, here is what you need to know.

Not all checking accounts are created equal.

Before you open an account, it is important to review the benefits of all of the accounts offered by your credit union to determine which one is the best choice for you. Depending on your age, you may be limited to a certain kind of account that requires your parents to share ownership, but if you are over 18, you can likely choose any account that is offered. Be sure to pick an account that offers you the most benefits for the lowest fee. For instance, if you can’t maintain a specific minimum balance, look for a no-frills, free account.

Checking accounts require proactive management.

Even if your debit card has a credit card logo on it, you cannot spend money you don’t have in your checking account without consequences. If you write a check or complete a debit card transaction without enough money in your account, you will be charged overdraft fees, which can be costly. To use a checking account, you have to be proactive about checking your spending and deposits and knowing exactly how much money you have before making any transactions.

Transactions don’t always clear immediately.

Using online banking is a great way to see your checking account balance, but you should always track spending and deposits using a paper ledger or app to have an idea of your true balance. Because checks and transactions may not clear right away, it could look like you have more money than you really do when you check your balance.

GCS Credit Union is invested in helping our young members build healthy financial habits. You can learn more about our checking accounts in O’Fallon by calling (618) 797-7993.

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