Monday 19 March 2018

'My son's opening a new bank account - how does he decide which one is right for him?'

Most banks offer fee-free banking to students (Stock photo)
Most banks offer fee-free banking to students (Stock photo)

Aine Carroll, Director of Communications with the CCPC (


My son has just started college. He needs to open a bank account and I want him to get into the habit of comparing all his options rather than just choosing the bank that's on his campus. Have you any tips I can pass on to him? Tom, Sligo town


It makes sense for your son to compare all his options before he opens an account. While it can be tempting to go with the bank on-campus, or the one offering the best freebies, the reality is that your son will do most of his banking online. So he should find out how good each bank's online and mobile banking platforms are. Also it might be worth knowing the opening hours of the nearest branch in case he does need to use this service at some stage.

Most banks offer fee-free banking to students, but this doesn't cover overdraft or late payment fees, which can be expensive. If you son will use any of these, he should choose the account with the lowest fees. He can compare student current accounts, credit cards and loans using the student financial product comparisons on the CCPC's website

Once he has chosen an account, he will have to fill out an application form. Under anti-money laundering law, he will need documents to prove his identity (a passport or a National Age Card) and address (his CAO or university letter will suffice if he doesn't have bills in his name). He cannot use the same document to prove both his identity and address.

Opening a student account can also help your son keep track of his spending and budget for any planned or unforeseen costs. This will be important if he is going to be living away from home and is getting an allowance from you - or money from a grant - to pay for his rent and other outgoings.

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