Looking forward to college or university? As you plan which schools you'll apply to, what posters to put up on your dorm walls and start following your potential future alma mater's Tik Tok tags to get a sense of campus life, you might also want to think about your bank account and credit situation. Why? Because doing so could save you a lot of money — and stress next year. 

In this article

Welcome to student banking! Where banking isn't just simpler – it sometimes even gives you reward points. That's right! From unlimited debits to endless e-transfer transactions, many banks offer amazing perks to make students' lives easier.

So, get your pencils ready and listen up. One quick read, then you can take advantage of all the epic discounts available to you — then use your extra cash to buy one of those cool light strip thingies everyone seems to have on IG for your dorm.

What's a student chequing account? 

This one's easy! It's a bank account designed for everyday transactions. This is what you'll use to pay for your textbooks, Spotify membership and late-night pizza orders.

Banks like Scotia offer student chequing accounts designed specifically with students in mind. Many even offer periodic welcome bonuses of money, rewards points or tech when you sign up. Score! 

Things to look for in a student chequing account

Here's what to expect from a great student chequing account:

No monthly account fees

Rewards points

Unlimited debit transactions

Unlimited Interac e-Transfertransactions

Sign-up bonuses

Bundle bonuses for when you sign up for more than one student banking service

A bank with convenient branch locations and ABMs

These accounts have your back as a student. They often charge zero monthly fees and give you unlimited debit transactions ('transactions' referring here to every time you spend money), unlimited Interac e-Transfer transactions (split the cheque easily with friends when you eat out! Just send them your share via email or text), free statements (those things you get every month telling you how much is in your account) and bundle bonuses if you sign up for something else like a savings account. What does that mean for you? That you can buy as much coffee to get you through those late-night study sessions as you need without worrying about transaction fees. They also sometimes give you rewards on debit transactions like with Scotia's Student Banking Advantage Plan, where you can earn Scene+™ points to use for travel, shopping, entertainment, dining and banking. You'll be eating free popcorn and watching a blockbuster in no time!

How to qualify for a student chequing account

In order to qualify for a Scotia student checking account, you just have to be enrolled full time in a post-secondary institution in Canada or the United States — which you will be. However, that means that you'll only get all of these cool perks while you're studying. Want to open an account? It's easy. Just provide your local branch with proof you're enrolled full time at a qualifying post-secondary institution each academic year prior to November 30. 

What's a savings account? 

You might be thinking that it's bold of anyone to assume you have savings. Isn't that for older people with jobs and mortgages? Well, many students get large chunks of money at the beginning of the school year from student loans and scholarships or can save up money while working over the summer that they then use to pay for rent and expenses throughout the year. A savings account is a great place to keep those funds until they're needed or to save for a big purchase like a car to make your commute to campus less of a jostle on crowded public transit. 

Things to look for in a savings account

Here's what to expect from a great savings account:

No monthly account fees

No minimum balance

Higher interest rates

Unlimited self-service transactions

A bank with convenient branch locations and ABMs

Why you need one

Why should you have your money in more than one place? Sounds more complicated than just putting it all in a chequing account, you're likely thinking. Not so fast! Savings accounts pay you higher amounts of interest on the money you put in them. That's free money you get from doing nothing other than parking your cash somewhere. The downside is that they're not meant for buying late night snacks (read: pizza) or paying for your cell bill. That's best paid out of a checking account with unlimited transactions since savings accounts often charge for transactions.

How it helps you ... in the future

Savings accounts also help students like you create good savings habits and can be helpful with budgeting if you transfer a certain amount from your savings account to your chequing account every month. Of course, another way to track your spending is to use Scotia's app, if you're a customer. You can easily budget and plan with our free tools! There we go ... making your life easier again. 

Soak up the cool perks

One more thing about savings accounts is that they often have cool perks. For example, Scotia’s MomentumPlus Savings Account gives you a progressively higher interest rate the longer you save. It also offers no monthly account fees or minimum balance, unlimited self-service transfers, automatic savings, mobile and online banking and mobile cheque deposit. 

Find out more about how you can save and invest your money

How to open a Scotia student bank account online or in a branch

Here's what you should know: applying for a student bank account is painless. Some are available to students under 18 while others are only available to students officially enrolled in a post-secondary institution.

1. Open an account online or in branch

Don't want to leave your house? The good news is you can set up a Scotia account in just a few minutes online, but you’ll still have to bring your proof of enrollment to a branch to finalize the process. You could also drop into a branch to set one up from start to finish. Call ahead, make an appointment and you'll be in and out in a breeze.

2. Have ID and proof of enrollment ready

This one's pretty straightforward. You’ll need proof of enrollment from your school, and a government ID to set up an account. Between the ages of 12 and 15, your and your parents’ IDs are required and over age 16, only your ID is required.

You'll want to sign up for online banking. After all, how else will you get a cool budgeting app that will tell you how much you decided to spend on eating out that month before you order in for the third night in a row? You can also do important banking stuff there.

4. Fund your account

This is the step when you put your money in your fancy new account. You can do it with an Interac e-Transfer transaction, ABM deposit, electronic funds transfer (that's where you go to your current bank and give them the account info for your new account), cheque or by visiting your branch.

5. Set up automatic deposits

Got a part-time job? You might have to set up your payroll direct deposits to feed into your new account. All you need is your branch number, your account number and your bank's institution number (Scotia’s number is 002). Unsure what those are? You can usually find them in your online banking portal. You can also ask any branch representative and they'll help you. Or give your bank a call.

6. Update any pre-authorized payments

You don't want to miss a payment and accidentally cancel your monthly gift box subscription featuring all the weird but delightful stuff celebrities are using lately. Or, horror of horrors, your Netflix! Ensure that you won't miss a payment by making the switch.

7. Close old accounts

If you're no longer using them, you won't need them! So devote some free time to this task and get it off our to do list. Once done, you’ll be all set with your student banking for the start of the new school year. 

Congrats! You now have a handle of the student bank account basics

Read this far? You now know the basics of student bank accounts! Congrats! We really wish we could throw some confetti your way to help you revel in the excitement of this moment but, you know, the internet makes that hard.

Passing your courses may not be this simple but, luckily, your banking can be. With the right student bank accounts, you're basically a superhero. If by superhero you mean better able to manage all your student expenses and even achieve your future financial goals more easily. Arguably, a much better skill than invisibility or super strength.

You'll spend less time worrying about money and more time on what you do best – learning and working towards your dream career! Oh, and also ordering pizza. Because pizza is delicious. 

Want to find out more? Talk to a Scotia advisor to come up with a plan that works for you