When colleges and universities partner with banks to offer their students checking accounts, it's logical to assume the schools made an effort to negotiate a good deal. There's a good chance they didn't, say consumer advocates.
These accounts typically come with a debit card that prominently displays the school logo. It's easy to see how that could be viewed as an endorsement by the school, especially when the card can be used as student ID. It's just good old-fashioned marketing, however.
A new report, Overdraft U, from the non-profit Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) found that these college-bank checking accounts "offer few benefits" to the students who use them.
"These accounts are not any better than what a student could find on the open market, and in many cases, they're worse," said Maura Dundon, a senior policy analyst who co-authored the report.
The banking industry insists that's not the case. The American Bankers Association (ABA) says campus banking represents "a mutually beneficial partnership among banks, universities and students." It says students often do better with campus bank accounts that those found off campus.