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Student current accounts are an essential accessory for anyone heading off to university. Even if you don’t think you’ll get a part-time job or student loan, you’ll need somewhere to hold your money, especially given the ease of contactless and the various budgeting options on offer, it’s easy to see why you’d want a student bank account if you don’t already have one.
Not only can these accounts offer great deals on railway travel or other attractive bonuses, they usually come with low or even no overdraft charges. That means that if you end up spending a bit more than you have in your bank account, you won’t have to worry about fees and interest adding to your debt.
Read our new guide How to manage finances as a student for a full overview on student loans, tuition fees, budgeting and money-making ideas.
Most student bank accounts have a minimum age limit of 18, while a select few have a slightly lower age of 17 to allow the account to be opened at this age in preparation for turning 18. If you can meet the opening restrictions, for example are aged 18 and over if required, a student account can be opened at any time.
You can open multiple basic bank accounts; however, most banks will restrict you to only one student bank account at a time. This is usually because most student accounts come with an overdraft and a requirement of this is for your student loan to be paid into the account.
Although you are not required to have a student bank account, a bank account is needed for your maintenance loan to be paid into. A bank account will also make it much easier to pay for everyday living costs, such as accommodation, bills and food.
Yes, you can switch your student bank account. You should check if your account has any restrictions on switching as some incentives require you to remain with your bank for a set period of time. Do note that every time you apply for a new student account, the provider will run a credit check, and this will show up on your report.
Normally to open a student bank account you will need:
Having an overdraft facility is an essential most students look for in a bank account. While the majority of student bank accounts offer an overdraft facility there are a number that stand-out as offering the best student bank accounts for overdrafts. When looking at the best overdrafts it is important to note that we have looked at the full term and not just the first year. Nationwide Building Society’s FlexStudent – Funded offers an interest-free overdraft of up to £ £3,000, while HSBC’s Student Bank Account also offers an interest-free overdraft limit of £ £3,000. Another bank that offers an interest-free overdraft of £ £3,000 is Barclays Bank with its Student Additions. NatWest’s Student Current Account and RBS’ Student Current Account both offer a slightly lower interest-free overdraft limit of £2,000, but which are still some of the best student accounts with overdrafts currently available.
Along with an interest-free overdraft, a number of student accounts also offer incentives that are designed specifically with student needs in mind. Santander’s 123 Student Current Account, for example, offers a free 16-25 Railcard for new customers, which is valid for four years and saves students up to one third on most rail fares, making this account a great choice for students who regularly travel by train. Alternatively, RBS’ and NatWest’ Student Current Account both offer students the choice of the following offers – one-year free membership to Amazon Prime Student and £10 Amazon.co.uk gift card or National Express Coachcard which is valid for four years and gives 1/3 off fares plus 15% off travel to events and festivals, or a tastecard which is valid for four years and gives 50% off food, or 2 for 1 meals plus savings on entertainment. Another account that offers attractive incentives is HSBC’s Student Bank Account which offers £100 cashback for students and level 2+ apprentices (terms and conditions apply).
After your course is finished and a certain amount of time has passed (this varies between providers), your account will be automatically changed into either a ‘normal’ current account or a graduate account. A graduate account would be the preferred choice here, as it means you will have a little longer to get back into the black, with most graduate accounts decreasing your 0% overdraft amount gradually over time.
Just as you can move to another student account if you find a better deal, you don’t have to stay with the same provider when your student account changes over. In fact, it’s a good idea to look around when you’re nearing the end of your studies, to try and find the best graduate account out there for your needs. Or, if you’re planning to continue your studies, you could opt for a specific postgraduate account instead.
This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.