Most parents and family members have some questions about money management while their student is in school, and we have asked our friends at the UK Federal Credit Union to help give some guidance.
Many ask what a credit union is and how one can be of service to them, so here's a brief description.
Banks & Credit Unions
What's a member, you say? Being a "member" instead of a "customer" is one of the fundamental differences between a bank and a credit union. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions owned by the people who have accounts with them (members). As a member/owner, you typically receive lower fees and better rates on savings and loans than you would at a regular bank.
Some more FAQs...
How can my student access their account when they're away at school?
Whether they decide to keep their bank account at home or have one near campus, they will most likely have a debit card which will allow them to access the funds in their checking account at most businesses and many ATMs. The convenience of using a financial institution near campus is that if your student has problems or issues with their account they can easily go to a local branch and speak with someone.
Is there a financial institution on campus and are there ATMs?
The UK Federal Credit Union is the only institution that has a branch on campus, in room 245 of the Student Center. The Credit Union also has several ATMs on campus, and there are a few banks that also have an ATM in select locations.
Are the ATMs free to use?
The only way to avoid an ATM fee is to use your financial institution's ATM. Typically, when you use a foreign ATM your institution will charge you and so will the ATM's institution. UK Federal Credit Union members enjoy not being charged this foreign ATM fee from us, and we offer thousands of free ATMs nationwide with the national networks we participate in.
How can my student get money from home?
Of course, you can always mail a check to them and they can deposit it, but there a couple of other ways. If you know you're going to be sending your student the same amount of money each month, check with your employer to see if you can do a payroll deduction. This will allow you to automatically put it right into their bank from your paycheck. You can also consider using online banking with your financial institution to pay your student. You can pay them just like you would a bill. Your financial institution may have other opportunities to send electronic payments, so check with them to see what they may have to offer.
Is it wise for my student to have a credit card?
This is a decision that will be made between you and your student, but we do a lot of financial education with students and this is a topic we address. Credit cards aren't bad, as long as you start with a low line of credit limit and use it wisely. We recommend to only charge what you can pay off in full each month and use it for expenses you will have anyway, for example, gas or groceries. Having a credit card will also allow them to have funds in case of an emergency. Using a credit card responsibly and paying it off in full each month will help the student establish a strong credit history for when they graduate and are on their own.