Advice for managing student finances

Managing credit cards wisely is one of the most important aspects of establishing good financial habits. It’s a good idea to adopt the habit of using credit cards only for incidental expenses - i.e., things that one knows can be paid off every month when the bill is due.

As students and parents plan monthly expenses, they also should take into account paying for tuition fees. Planning for education financing can be easily managed if students consider all the financing tools available to them. Working with a bank to apply for a student loan is a solid option.

Students and their families should determine:

• Which type of loan or combination of loans will work best for their situation,

• If the loan application can be filed online,

• If the bank charges application fees or any additional fees, and

• How soon after graduation the payments begin, and how long the term of the loan will last.

Beyond paying for college, there are other money matters to consider. Keeping track of expenses and managing cash also is important.

Students and parents would be wise to work with a bank that offers specific student banking services. Some banks understand students’ desires for convenience and cost savings. For example, students who open a new checking account with a debit card at KeyBank receive a special ATM benefit if they choose to receive their statements online and receive approval for a credit card.

Ordinarily, most banks charge if you use another bank’s ATMs. When students enrolled in Key’s Student Checking package use their debit cards for a cash withdrawal at another bank’s ATM, they receive a refund of the ATM surcharges up to $6 per month. Additionally, fees will not be charged by this bank for using another bank’s ATM.

Carrying cash can be worrisome due to the possibility of loss or theft. Students should think about alternatives, such as prepaid debit cards. The Key Possibilities prepaid MasterCard, for example, is protected against fraud, loss or theft. It can be used for everyday spending, even online, and is a great source of emergency funds.

Another convenient way for students and parents to manage cash and monitor checking account and credit card activity is to access online banking so they may review finances together.

Managing finances in these time-saving ways carries added benefits. For more advice from experts in financing for students, visit

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