Banks offers students no-fee checking and other benefits in order to develop long-term relationships

In recent weeks, there has been a good deal of coverage in business media on how banks plan to make up for the loss of debit interchange income, assuming the Durbin Amendment is passed. Much of the discussion has centered on rolling back on debit rewards, eliminating free checking, and increasing ATM fees.

However, it appears that these changes will not apply to student checking accounts.  For example, TD Bank recently introduced a new range of six checking accounts, only one of which–TD Student Checking–does not carry a monthly fee.  A perusal of leading bank websites shows that most offer a dedicated student account with no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirement.   The checking account is the most important product in building a relationship with customers, so expect no-fee student checking to continue.

In addition, banks will seek to build on the checking account relationships with:

  • Student banking bundles
  • Student credit cards
  • Special offers and benefits, such as no fees for using other banks’ ATMs, discounts on fee-based products, higher rates on saving accounts, or lower APRs on lending products
  • Range of virtual service options (Internet banking, mobile banking, social media)
  • Financial advice and planning tools

The combination of these products and services is designed to ensure retention of the customer relationship during that crucial period when students graduate and move on to a new life stage.