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Best Ways to Get Money to Your College Student

a young woman checks her bank account after her parents sent her money through Zelle

When it’s time to prepare your young adult for college, money is one of the most important things to think about. Most of all, you want to help make sure that money is a tool and not a source of stress or concern.

There’s much more to college life than getting to class on time and making new friends. First, there are necessary expenses to keep in mind -- books, class or lab materials, other supplies, and any other fees. Then there’s public transport or gas expenses, parking fees, printing fees, game tickets and more… not to mention the overpriced coffees at the local study spot.

Even students who are generally good with budgeting may be surprised by the unexpected expenses that pop up, especially in the first few semesters. But for parents -- whether you’re near or far away, down the street or overseas -- it’s easier to get money to your college student than ever before.

Share A Bank Account

One of the simplest ways to get money to your college student is with a shared bank account, one that you can both access. Doing it this way can help avoid needing to make transfers, which is not always an immediate process.
Sharing an account means you will be able to view and manage the deposits and withdrawals. You’ll also be able to keep track of your student’s expenses.

In some cases, your student might attend a college or university in a place where your banking institution doesn’t have a branch. In that situation, you may need to set up a new shared account with an institution that has a nearby or local presence.

Sharing an account with your student can be a great way to encourage financial responsibility and help teach them strong habits that can last a lifetime. When you set up the account, sit down with your student and set guidelines for their spending. A good financial role model can help them set their own saving and spending goals for the future.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Services

What’s a peer-to-peer (P2P) service you say? You’ve likely been using them for years. Apps and services such as Zelle, Paypal, and Venmo make it simple to send funds straight to separate bank accounts.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) services are quick and simple ways to send money between separate bank accounts. If you don’t think you know what they are, you might be surprised -- many people are more familiar with these types of services than they think. Have you heard of Zelle, Paypal, or Venmo? These are all P2P services.

If you’re not as familiar with P2P services, here’s an overview and some tips.

With Zelle, you can send and receive money safely and easily to people you know through your trusted banking app. You can also use the Zelle app if your bank isn’t partnered with Zelle -- but Armed Forces Bank is a proud Zelle partner.

After enrolling, all you need to do is enter your student’s email address or phone number. Then, you just enter the amount of money you want to send. If they are already enrolled, they’ll typically receive their money within a matter of minutes. If they aren’t enrolled yet, they will get a notification explaining how to receive the money.

After you’re all set up, all you have to do is send funds whenever your student needs them.

Venmo, Paypal, Cashapp, Apple Pay, and other messenger app pay systems work similarly. Sending money over these and online services are also secure. Usually, no card info is required after the initial setup.

Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards are fairly simple to get and set up. Some P2P services, such as Venmo, even have a debit card feature that could act as a prepaid system for your college student.

All you have to do is add funds to the corresponding account. Then, you are able to view the resulting withdrawals. There are no annual fees to the card, but there may be fees when money is withdrawn from an ATM. This is usually somewhere around $2.50.

PayPal also has a CashCard debit card that acts like a prepaid card for your student. You can buy the card at Walmart for just a few dollars, and you can use the card anywhere Mastercard is accepted. While there is no fee for use, there is a charge of $3.95 when depositing money into the account.

Neither PayPal or Venmo are banks, but they provide secure card systems that may meet your needs when it comes to sending money to your student.

Use Your Student’s School

If you are signed up as a contributor to your student’s School Finances Account, there’s a good chance you can add funds directly to their student account. This can often be used toward books or financial aid, as well as on-campus amenities.

Many colleges give their students an ID and have some sort of campus currency. For instance, the University of Kansas has ‘Beak ‘Em Bucks,’ and the University of Missouri has a ‘Tiger Card.’ This money is able to be used at dining halls, student stores, and sports arenas. They may also be available for use at certain off-campus businesses (usually restaurants) that are partnered with the school.

If you want to track your student’s spending more closely or want them to spend the money on specific things, this may be the best option for applying restrictions. Their spending history will likely be reflected on their student account as well as their bill.

Armed Forces Bank Is Your Life Milestone Partner

Through many of life’s big changes -- from PCS moves to college moves and more -- we at Armed Forces Bank are here to support you and your family.

We’re here for you no matter what you need. And we’re ready to help.

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