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Prep For College With the Right Financial Tools

Before you head off to college, make sure you have all the financial tools you’ll need to not only survive, but to prosper during your educational adventure. The decisions you make now may establish your financial picture for the rest of your life, so you definitely want to give it some thought and do it right.

It’s no secret that things like checks, paper statements, and even cash are no longer essential financial tools. With a debit card, a smartphone, and a few of the latest electronic tools, a student can begin a healthy and lifelong relationship with their finances.

It all starts with a basic checking account.  Opening a simple account with little or no minimum balance requirements will help to avoid fees and make record keeping easy. Since college is a launch pad for budgets, investments and your career, an account with little or no fees is the way to go. Your account activity may be minimal for a while, so a basic account will provide everything you need for the foreseeable future.

Next, a debit card is a must-have. Cash is almost non-existent in today’s college economy and a debit card offers safe and secure access to your funds around the clock.  Coffee for the all-nighter? Breakfast before class?  Your debit card has you covered. Be sure your bank offers some type of 24/7 fraud protection to monitor your transactions and report anything suspicious (via text) before things get out of hand.

To monitor the account’s activity and keep an eye on spending, online banking is safe, secure and easily accessible. Even greater accessibility is offered through a mobile banking program that will put the front door to your bank right on your smartphone. Check your balance, transfer funds, set reminders, it’s all there.

One other smartphone tool to eliminate the need for cash in your wallet is a person-to-person (P2P) program such as PopMoney, that allows for transferring funds to anyone with an email address.  Splitting the check at a restaurant was never so easy. And just in case you receive a check and need to make a deposit to your balance, a service called mobile remote deposit capture allows you to take a picture of the check (front and back) with your phone and upload it to your bank. It can’t get any easier!

One final decision you’ll need to make is whether you wish to include a parent as a co-owner on the account. They may be the one making all the deposits (while you make all the withdrawals!), so having access to the account may provide some peace of mind back home. It’s not a requirement, but having a second set of eyes to help with your finances is a good thing.

Your focus is on your grades and shouldn’t be about the status of your funds – and we can help.  Stop by any First Keystone Community Bank office to discuss these services and more.  Or, for more information, check out our website at There are several types of accounts that you can open and manage online. Good luck!

Written by Kevin Krieger

Kevin is the Vice President - Compliance Officer at First Keystone Community Bank. He has a 40-year career in community banking with 27 years in regulatory compliance.

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May 18, 2020

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