Banking as a Student: Best Digital Banks
Comparing top bank accounts for students all over Europe
College is a time of great transition. You're making your first foray into the adult life, and you will definitely need a bank account. Sure, there are plenty of banks available for students in Europe - but which one should you choose? We compared the best online and mobile-first banking apps that offer digital accounts best suited to tackle students' needs. These include having a convenient mobile app, no hidden fees, convenient money transfers and free Apple Pay, of course! Let's dig in - we will first identify the most important aspects you should look into and factors to consider, and follow-up with our list of the best student banks in Europe at the end of this feature.
We also provide additional resources to explore modern banking to help you make your choice. If you're new to banking with mobile-first online banks, we have the introduction to digital-first banking for you. You might also be interested in seeing which banks we named one of the "Best Neobanks Available Right Now".
What to look for in a bank as a student?
Three aspects to consider when choosing a digital bank are security, fees and charges, and practicality. The first thing you should look for in a banking service is how secure it will be. This has become more difficult as hacking cases have risen; so make sure that your data is encrypted using the latest technology available today with all of its innovations!
Second on our list would be the fee schedule which includes every transaction or withdrawal from an account including the maintenance (monthly) charges (if any).
Thirdly we've got convenience: this means not only being close by but also having easy access via mobile devices since many people prefer doing their banking while they're out-and-about rather than sitting at home watching TV.
And lastly, well, who says banking has to be boring? We previously selected the most exciting, strange and innovative bank mobile app features we've seen in mobile apps of top European banks, and let's just say some of these would genuinely "wow" your friends if they saw you using these (similar to how having a stylish debit card made of stainless steel would!).
The Best Digital Banks for Students: Our Verdict
Europe's biggest neobank, Revolut is a pioneer of mobile-first banking. Offering a wide range of financial services and banking products, including (but not limited to!) trading stocks and crypto, Revolut is a safe option regardless of customer's country of residence.
Revolut, a London-based neobank, is the biggest mobile-first bank in the world that has been around since 2015. Revolut experienced hyper-growth this year after attracting over half a million customers who enjoy its "hassle-free" banking services and powerful mobile apps that both look and work great. With Revolut, you get instant transfers between countries at no cost regardless of currency transferred and zero fees for ATM withdrawals, making it an excellent choice for international students looking to save money abroad. Additional "pots" for specific purposes can be shared with others, making them a great tool for managing shared expenses, like the ones you'd have when sharing a flat. The best part? You don't have to be based in Europe to open an account. An even better one? Revolut offers accounts without a monthly fee.
If you're still under 18 years old, you can start by opening a Revolut Under 18 account. It looks very similar to the "adult" app, has powerful banking features and it comes with a personalized bank card with your own unique design!
Bank Accounts for Individuals
Read our detailed reviews of personal bank accounts available at some of the world's most popular online banks, compare the plans they offer, explore their pricing and discover all the hidden fees.
Dutch online bank that gives you the freedom to bank like a local all over Europe. The bank's mobile apps are packed with exciting and unique features, and the fully fledged banking license bunq has ensures your money are 100% safe at all times.
Who says banking can't be fun? Netherlands' latest fintech unicorn, Amsterdam-based neobank bunq is not only focusing on ethical and sustainable investment options with their user, for example, by having planted over 10 million trees as part of their "Easy Green" initiative. This creative and innovative company prides themselves on "making life (and banking) easy". bunq's colorful cards are bound to turn some heads, and the best part is that you can get up to three cards included in your subscription. bunq offers a range of savings accounts and student cards, but bunq's key selling point is that it is an easy way into the world of digital banking, investments and financial health (bunq has a ton of features that help you budget and save money). They also offer excellent interest rates and fee-free instant transfers to any European bank account.
Monese offers excellent currency exchange rates, an easy way to transfer money abroad in over 30 countries along with a great mobile app. Aimed at "digital nomads" from all over the EU, neobank offers customer support in 14 languages.
Monese Classic card is a great option for students in the UK who are looking to have access to the best of both worlds. This challenger bank offers ATM withdrawals and "offline" payments - all from the same device! Monese bank card payments come with instant notifications on transactions (including international ones) which comes in handy when managing your spending habits. The fees for transfers are set at just €0,15 per transaction, making managing money across borders a breeze, too.
Another perk? You can have up to three different Monese debit cards, allowing you easy control over how much each person with an access to your account spends at any time. Monese is a great choice when you want simple, affordable and straightforward banking experience.
Tomorrow represents the future of banking with a focus on being transparent, digital and sustainable. Instead of focusing purely on profits, the bank is instead committed to ethical investment practices and creating social equity.
If your studies take you to Germany, you should definitely consider Tomorrow bank. This up-and-coming mobile-first bank is built with a vision of making sustainable and ethical investments available to everyone. Tomorrow lets you offset your CO2 footprint without even thinking about it, and you can be sure your money is not going to fund any malicious businesses or worsen humanity's impact on climate even further. All the basics you'd expect (like convenient mobile apps, flashy bank cards, notifications and instant transfers) are also there, and it's relatively cheap, as well. Definitely worth a try!
Promising assistance in "taking control of your money with one card and one app" to its users, Curve quickly gained popularity in the UK. Unique product that consolidates all your cards and accounts in one place, while categorizing payments and providing cashback.
Curve is not exactly a bank, but is definitely worth a mention as it might help you squeeze out some extra "juice" from your bank cards. Curve is an "all-in-one" free mobile wallet app that simplifies your life by consolidating all of your credit, debit, and rewards cards into one convenient location. Curve also categorizes payments for you automatically to make it easier to understand where the money goes while offering cash back on select purchases.
Essentially, it's an app that's been specifically designed to help users consolidate all of their cards and bank accounts in one place, as well as offering cashback on purchases at no extra cost, which is always a welcome addition for a broke student! And in case things get confusing, you can easily contact Curve support via phone or chat with their support team if any questions come up about how they work.
We truly hope this article was helpful and we assisted you in finding your perfect banking match! The world of banking might seem confusing and intimidating at first, but it's nothing you can not wrap your head around if you put in a bit of time to do your research. Especially nowadays when banks offer a lot of really cool features people would not even dream about just 5 years ago.
Do you want to learn more about banking, how to make your money grow and how to get better at personal finance? Check out our "Guides" section to learn things that would help you save money! Do you have questions, feedback or comments? Perhaps, we missed your favorite mobile bank for students in Europe and beyond? Do not hesitate to reach out and let us know, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. And lastly, we wish you the best of luck in your studies! Who knows, maybe you will become the next person to revolutionize the fintech industry?