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Banks in Cambridge

A.S.A.P.A.S.A.P. Registered User Posts: 2,663 Senior Member
edited July 2007 in Harvard University
What are the best banks for Harvard students? It seems like BofA has free student accounts, and Citizens Bank as well.
Does anyone have any positive or negative feelings about your bank- these or others in the area? Which ones seem most convenient,personal and helpful?
Post edited by A.S.A.P. on

Replies to: Banks in Cambridge

  • maritemarite Registered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    I have not used Citizens and I'm not in love with BofA. Unfortunately, it took over Fleet Bank which took over BayBank which took over....Since we started out with Baybank, we just kept our account. For most things, the staff is helpful; but when there are glitches and you call, the service is not great. I suspect, though, that most students will do fine. There are other branches of banks in the Square (there must be more banks per square inch than any other place in the US), not to mention ATM. Is your child going to be at Harvard? Exciting. When freshman orientation week happens, the banks will fall over themselves to get students to open accounts and will walk them through the process. I think my S has gone into the bank only once or twice in two years. He mostly uses the ATM machine.
  • A.S.A.P.A.S.A.P. Registered User Posts: 2,663 Senior Member
    My daughter, who will be there starting in August, would love to find something other than the BofA. We have had problems with their service, too - I've had a small account there for years, and both kids have accounts there (daughter started with Fleet also before it was swallowed by BofA.) They make it very attractive for students , however- free checking, no minimums, no fees, free checks, atm's everywhere, etc. Citizens is the only other one that seems to have some of those perks for students that I have been able to find.

    I think there are advantages to staying with BofA- national recognition being a big reason, ATMs on every block, and the fact that she has a "relationship" with them already.
    I don't know how much that's worth in the scheme of things. I think I'm looking for something that doesn't exist- a national bank with small company service.

    She would like either my H or me to be on her account this time as well, as she's out of the country during the summers, and any time there is an issue (atm not working, etc.) we are helpless because we're not on the account. Hard to find this option, and still retain the student perks (no fees), but I haven't given up.
  • AdmiralAdmiral Registered User Posts: 720 Member
    Bank of America is what I use. My experience with it has been terrific- like everyone else mentioned there are ATMs everywhere, free checking for students, free withdrawal, and so on. There's also one right in Harvard Square- you can get it set up right there.
  • just_forget_mejust_forget_me Registered User Posts: 2,244 Senior Member
    ASAP-I have both a BofA account and a Cambridge Trust account, but I'm a bit of a bank junkie.

    I really like Cambridge Trust–nice people, $10 bills in the ATMs, great location in the square. But I feel like I also need a BofA account for ATM access when traveling, better hours (open till 7 I think, and on Saturdays). I recommend getting an online savings account (i.e. HSBCDirect.com) which will pay around 5% interest on savings, and allow you to transfer money between accounts.
  • sandiegomom1sandiegomom1 Registered User Posts: 40 New Member
    Our D has a BofA account. So do we. This makes it easy to transfer funds to her account from ours, and she finds that the ATMs are convenient in Cambridge. She also has a Visa card related to the account (overdraft protection). D has traveled regularly with the cards (Europe, East Asia) and has had no difficulties. Except for the time she forgot to check the expiration dates...and I had to fed-ex her replacement cards.

    The convenience and travel-readiness are major pluses for BofA. Several of my D's friends also have an online account like jfm describes, and they report that the online transfer from one bank to another is quick and easy.
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