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I'm in college, and I have recently gotten my first paycheck from my first job here. They do not do direct deposit and only give checks.

In the past, I have banked at Navy Federal, but my college town is very far from any branch. My question is, should I open a new bank account here locally?

I'm hoping to work a lot over the next year as I support myself and start building my credit, savings, maybe open a Roth IRA. My family has told me I should stick with Navy Federal, but it seems inconvenient to have no local bank or ATM; however maybe a physical bank isn't needed in this day and age?

Should I open a local account?

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    Is there a problem with having more than one bank account I have 2 one main and one backup. – Pepone Apr 14 '15 at 21:32
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Keep your account with Navy Federal, once you get an account at a good credit union keep it.

Look for a credit union the students can join, it may be based in the town where the campus is, or one related to the school.

Look for a free ATM on campus. Many times it is near the food court or student union or bookstore. If there is none ask the university to get one.

If you don't find a local credit union you should be able to deposit the checks via scanner or phone to navy federal.

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Note that many credit unions participate in a "branch exchange" program, which lets you access you CU's accounts and services thru the offices of the others. My CU is two states away, but there has been only one case where I felt a need to drive back there. Find out if your has joined this network, and encourage them to do so if they haven't yet. It makes credit unions fully competitive with interstate banks.

The shared-branch CU locations may not be maximally convenient, but more keep joining, and the most common transactions can be done by mail or ATM anyway.

The biggest advantages of a local CU or bank are that they know the local rules for mortgages, and they may have safe deposit boxes for rent. That, and having a place to unload the pocket change that piles up, are why I've got an account with a small local bank a few blocks from my house as well. Though I keep thinking about joining my alma mater's credit union, and will if the ever get on the shared-branch system.

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Bank accounts are free, as are discount brokerage accounts (for stuff like IRA's). Any time you think there might be an advantage to getting another one, go ahead and do so.

I have a number of bank accounts. Whichever has the best interest rate (typically an online bank) gets the bulk of my cash savings, whichever has the closest ATM gets as much money as I think I might want to withdraw, and I often have a bank account from which my credit cards are paid. Other banks have a token "just in case I move" amount of money.

The only cost is that you have to check them from time to time to make sure each account has enough for its likely uses. I use mint.com for that.

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