Now we’ve gotten our visas it’s time to look at other things, like phones and checking accounts.
The UW Fresher’s Guide seems to recommend Bank of American and Chase over Wells Fargo/Citibank.
There is only checking account information for college students aged 17-24, and this is roughly how it goes:
– $0 monthly service fee for up to 5 years while in college (what does this mean? Does it mean that if you keep the account for 5 years (how can they verify this?) your monthly fee is waived? Does it mean that they will only waive your monthly fee if you take at least 5 years to complete your degree? Or the monthly fee is waived for your first 5 years in college, after which you close your account? In other words, how is this a condition that benefits them?)
— Have a monthly average of $5000 in the account (i’m sure my M&T went below this average several times at cornell, because our allowance is disbursed twice a year only)
— Have a direct deposit made into this account every month (unlikely because we are not hired by the school)
– Otherwise there is a $6 monthly fee levied for the college checking account
– For the most basic non-student checking account, there is a $10 monthly fee instead
— This is waived if you have a $1500 minimum daily balance, or a $5000 average daily balance – so if your balance drops to $1499 for just ONE out of THIRTY days in a month, they are allowed to deduct $10 from your account?
See more information on Chase checking accounts here
I can’t believe they only have 4 different kinds of checking accounts. That’s mad.
– No interest on any of the accounts
Bank of America
– Student checking/core checking account has monthly fee of $12 unless
— You maintain an average daily balance of $1500 or more
— A monthly direct deposit of $250 or more
— You are under 23 years of age (!!!)
– No interest
Here is the Schedule of Fees for BoA personal checkings and savings accounts.
Yikes. I miss M&T and its user friendliness and NO FEES. Maybe I should send all my money to my still existing M&T account and pay myself with monthly direct deposits/cheques of $250 at the minimum to avoid paying fees? I have nearly 100 M&T cheques remaining.
Oh, oh, the most similar to M&T account is
See information on their College Checking account here
– Monthly fee of $3 (only!) unless you link it to your student ID card. That’s great news. They don’t specify other criteria of having it waived though.
– You can add on a Way2Save savings account for free with only a minimum deposit!
For some reason the freshers guide lists it as the least popular bank, probably because of limited ATMs. I never had that problem at Cornell though, even though there were like what, 5 M&T atms in all of Ithaca haha. The most is you just get cash back at Target or QFC or something. I must say I encountered a lot more “shady” outfits that didn’t accept card payments and only demanded cash payments (paseo, that good thai place in collegetown, etc.) Nearly everything was cashless in Ithaca.
– They don’t seem to have an age limit for the college checking account, just proof of enrollment, which is easy enough to get, and a ridiculously small initial deposit.
So I think we’ll go with Wells Fargo (good ol’ family banks who appreciate that $10 a month is daylight robbery for a college student) and maybe one more popular bank, like Chase.
For phones, according to the fresher’s guide, the best idea is to go with the T-Mobile $30/month unlimited data plan (slows down after 5Gb) where you also get unlimited texts and 100 minutes (more than enough for me). This can apparently only be activated online though, but can be activated after buying a 99c T-Mobile sim card in store:
T-Mobile: 1216 North 45th Street Seattle, WA 98103 (206) 632-1064
Mon-Fri 10 AM to 7 PM / Sat 10 AM to 7 PM / Sun 11 AM to 5 PM
This is slightly more than I was paying with my AT&T Pre-paid plan but I’ll also get data, which is nice. I’ve never had a data plan before haha.