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Student bank accounts offer up great savings for those who need it most, providing most commonly used bank features at a discount - and often with no monthly fees at all.

In order to acquire a discounted student bank account, your bank will require you to provide proof of full-time enrollment. This is easily accomplished by providing a copy of your most up-to-date school schedule to your closest branch – little effort on your end with savings that are definitely worth it! From there, it’s your responsibility to renew your student status in accordance to the time frame set by your bank upon opening the account. Banks provide the renewal date when they run through your account details, but having to remember everything in one fell swoop can prove to be quite difficult.

As a student myself, it recently it came to my attention that a less-active bank account of mine switched from a no-fee student account to a regular everyday chequing account. This wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if it didn’t involve monthly payments I couldn’t quite afford – not to mention realizing all of this after already paying six months of said fees! The circumstance will definitely differ person to person, but for me, the monthly fees ended up being the sole transaction activity on the account.

Here are a few examples of some banks and their renewal dates:

Bank Renewal date each year
Scotiabank November 30
Bank of Montreal December 24
CIBC No renewal, lasts four years after enrollment
TD Canada Trust Each study period
RBC Each study period

It’s also important to note that if you miss the renewal date, your bank can switch your account type to any of their choosing based off of your recent account transaction history.

Tips For Student Bank Account Holders

I can’t stress the importance enough of monitoring your account activity, especially when the switch could occur when you least expect it, leaving you stuck paying those inconvenient monthly fees. Here are a few tips that I feel would help to prevent my situation from happening to you!

Make a note well in advance of the renewal date for your student account

This is one of the most important to consider. A bank will run through every single feature the account has to offer when you are opening an account with them, but the rapid-fire nature of this conversation can lead to an information overload. Instead of having potentially crucial information to your finances go in one ear and out the other, make notes of deadlines and other important dates such as this one on your calendar well ahead of time.

Monitor the account parameters on your bank’s website – the benefits and services offered could alter at any time

The banks aren’t just saying the account features are “subject to change” because they have to. The feature that may have enticed you in the first place could be here one day and gone the next, so I recommend checking out your account details at least once every couple of weeks just to stay ahead of the game.

In the event that your account switches away from a student account, contact your bank immediately

At first glance, you might think this is common sense. I would agree, however when my primary banking account became the victim of “laziness due to student status renewal failure”, I simply chose to disregard it and let the bank start charging me for the service. It was an unnecessary cost and something I could not afford, all because I felt it was my fault I missed the date, and there was nothing I could do about it. It took a combination of the bank charging me those dreaded monthly fees and myself watching the account dwindle before I acted. It all could have been avoided if I was more prepared and informed of the repercussions of being careless.

At the end of the day, I definitely recommend to stay on top of the small details and parameters your account features to prevent any unnecessary headaches down the line. Some banks will provide a notification when your account is nearing its renewal date, which leaves little excuse for you not staying on top of everything!

About the Author: Derek Nicholson

Derek is in his fourth year of the Bachelor of Public Relations program at Humber College, working as an intern with the marketing team at RATESDOTCA over the summer. As his first foray into the world of personal finance, he hopes to expand and further develop his understanding while offering insight from a student’s perspective.    

Derek Nicholson

Derek is in his fourth year of the Bachelor of Public Relations program at Humber College, working as an intern with the marketing team at RATESDOTCA over the summer. As his first foray into the world of personal finance, he hopes to expand and further develop his understanding while offering insight from a student's perspective.

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