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Back-to-School Banking Tips for New Recruits & College Students

Children being held by their parents in bed.

Joining the Military as a new recruit or heading off to college for the first time both represent a new chapter in life. And there are plenty of new experiences that go along with it. From a new location or a new school, to a new lodging or dorm and new roommates, to the new experience of eating in the dining halls. For some, it may even be time to choose a new bank.

As a young adult, it may be your first-ever bank account, or it may be a change from what you had when you were younger. When it comes time to choose a new bank, here are some considerations for new recruits and college students.

What Do You Need From Your Bank?

The first question you should ask yourself is: What do you need from your bank? Finding the answer can help you decide what types of banking services are important to you, and this can help make it easier to choose a bank.
Your sources of income and expected expenses can impact your choice of bank. If your incoming money and your outgoing expenses are straightfoward in nature, a simple bank account may be all you need right now. If you expect to see a high level of activity or money flow, you may want to consider all types of checking accounts your prospective bank offers.

Another thing to consider is whether you want to start building credit. Getting a good start in the area of credit building is so important to get right as the consequences to getting it wrong can be long-lasting. Choosing a bank that offers a secured credit card can help you build credit in a risk-free way (Subject to credit approval).

Get It Done With Online Banking and Mobile Banking

Today’s young adults are more familiar with technology than generations past. And many new recruits and college students have a high comfort level with online institutions and processes.

So, if you’re a new recruit choosing a bank, it makes sense to go through the whole process online. While we may have more on installation locations than any other bank, we want you to bank from anywhere in the world. There’s no need to go to a brick-and-mortar building and wait in line in the lobby to open an account. You can open an account easily with a few clicks of a mouse or taps on the screen of your smartphone.

At Armed Forces Bank, we offer a convenient Online Banking and Mobile Banking experience. Bank as you go and access your account 24/7 from anywhere.

Benefits of Online Banking and Mobile Banking include:
  • Streamlined Access: More intuitive experience that works similarly across all devices -- mobile, tablet or desktop.
  • Enhanced Alerts: Set up, customize and manage alerts the way you want with ease.*
  • Mobile Deposit: Deposit checks for free in a snap – safely and securely from a mobile device.** Available on iPhone or Android.
  • New Payment Tools: Move money to your other accounts through account-to-account transfers. Use bill pay to schedule and send payments. Plus, we’ve partnered with Zelle® so you can easily send and receive money from friends, family and others you trust.***
  • Secure Messaging: Reach us for questions about your account on any device through secure messaging.*

Moving Money With Ease

Along with our Online Banking and Mobile Banking services, Armed Forces Bank offers new payment tools designed to make your life easier. This includes account-to-account transfers, also sometimes known as peer-to-peer payments or P2P payment services. And these are increasingly becoming a part of everyday life for Military recruits and college students.

For many, gone are the days of using cash. For peers or roommates who split a restaurant bill, it’s easier to just electronically transfer your half through your favorite P2P payment app than it is to track down the cash you need and remember to pay your friend.

And P2P services can also be especially useful for those who have military family living across the country or even overseas -- it’s an easy way to get money where it needs to be without worrying about exchanging currency.

So when you’re a new recruit or college student choosing a bank, be sure it integrates seamlessly with a trusted, secure P2P service.

Get Started With Saving

Saving money isn’t easy for most people, and it feels even more true when you’re away from home. There are so many things that require spending money, not saving -- from textbooks and lab supplies for college students, to social experiences with friends, to too much TV or other tempting extravagances.

But getting started with saving early can have big benefits. The sooner you start, the more time your money has to grow. And starting good financial habits when you’re young can help set you on a path of financial success throughout the rest of your life.

At Armed Forces Bank, we make it easy for new recruits -- and anyone -- to save money. In fact, you don’t even have to think about it. Thanks to our Saving Cents program, you will end up saving money any time you make a purchase. We’ll round up your debit card purchases and transfer that amount to savings automatically.

  • Choose: Choose how much you'd like to round up your debit card purchases from your Armed Forces Bank checking account. Options range from the nearest $1 to $5 increment.
  • Save: Every time you make a purchase, we’ll round it up. Each night all the extra change is transferred automatically from your checking to your savings.
  • Track: See what you saved on your bank statement each month.

Ready to sign up for the Armed Forces Bank Saving Cents program? All you have to do is log in to Digital Banking and send us a message. Or, call or visit a branch for assistance.

Armed Forces Bank Can Meet Your Needs

At Armed Forces Bank, we’re sure to have a banking solution for you. New recruits can open a Recruit Access Checking. And, if you’re a college student, be sure to consider our Armed Forces Bank Student Checking account. You’ll find these offerings are excellent choices for meeting your banking needs.

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* Message and data rates charged by your mobile phone carrier may apply.
** Deposits are subject to verification and not available for immediate withdrawal. Deposit limits and restrictions apply.
*** Zelle and the Zelle related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.