Heading to university? Find the right student account for you.
When you start university you’ll become eligible for a student bank account. Many of these accounts will offer some useful perks and incentives, but there are a number of factors to compare before you choose one that’s right for you.
Some student bank accounts allow you to earn interest when you’re in credit or offer freebies and incentives if you take out an account, while others come with an interest-free overdraft. Ultimately, you need to decide what’s most important to you.
Before you decide which bank to go with, make sure you compare student bank accounts with MoneySuperMarket to see what your options are.
Student current accounts - Ordered by overdraft rate (EAR)
There’s a huge choice of current accounts available, so you'll want to pick the one that meets your needs best.
What is a student current account?
A student current account is a type of bank account offered only to university students. They generally offer benefits designed to help people in full-time education, taking into account that you’re unlikely to be working full-time or regularly earning a wage.
What happens to my student current account when I graduate?
Once you graduate, banks will often change your account to a graduate account – this means you might still keep some of the perks of your student current account for an extended period of time.
Who can get a student current account?
In order to qualify for a student current account, you must be a student and be able to provide one of the following:
A UCAS unconditional confirmation offer
A UCAS conditional offer and A-Level results that meet the offer
A letter of confirmation from your university to confirm your attendance
Proof of identification, normally a passport and/or a driver’s licence.
Proof of address, which can be a bank statement or a utility bill.
If you’re a mature student, you should still be able to get a student current account as long as you’re in full-time education. This is because most banks don’t set a maximum age limit.
International students aren’t usually able to take advantage of the benefits included in student current accounts, such as an overdraft or incentives. Instead, you will be able to open a standard current account with most banks if you’re in the UK for over six months – learn more with our guide to current accounts.
How to apply for a student account
Once you’re eligible, you’ll be able to apply for most student current accounts online. However, the bank will still need to see the original copies of your supporting documents, so you’ll have to post them or take them to your branch.
Once you’ve done this, you should let Student Finance know about your new bank details.
Data collected by OnePoll, accurate as of July 2018
Can I have more than one student current account?
Some banks will have a limit of one student current account, but if you want more than one account, it’s worth checking as some banks might have certain conditions you have to meet. Remember to always read the terms and conditions of any bank account before signing up.
What are the advantages of student accounts?
The main benefit associated with student bank accounts is that they usually offer an interest-free overdraft that can be anywhere from £500 to £3,000. This essentially means you get an interest-free loan from the bank for the time you’re a student – and often while you hold a graduate account too.
If you’re looking for the best student overdraft, it’s a good idea to consider the difference between a guaranteed overdraft and an ‘up to’ overdraft. A guaranteed overdraft means you will be given the advertised amount (as long as you adhere to the other requirements of having the account), but ‘up to’ means there is no guarantee and your overdraft could be smaller than the one advertised.
If you choose a student account that advertises an ‘up to’ overdraft, you will undergo a credit check and the size of the overdraft will be decided by this. If you want to increase the amount, it’s likely that you’ll have to apply to extend this.
Some student banking accounts will offer tiered overdrafts, so that the size of your overdraft will increase with each year of your studies.
Student current accounts can also offer other benefits, but these accounts may not have such a competitive overdraft facility. To find the best bank account for students, you’ll need to think about whether the value or benefit of the incentive outweighs the advantages of a decent overdraft.
These benefits can include:
Travel: Some student current accounts come with a Young Person’s Railcard or a National Express Coachcard.
Cashback: You may also get cashback offers that are tailored to your shopping habits and favourite retailers.
Brand discounts: You might also get discounts when you spend money on certain brands or in certain stores.
Calculated from the student bank accounts available in July 2018
What are the disadvantages of student accounts?
If you choose an account with an interest-free overdraft, you’ll need to have a plan on how you’re going to pay it back – ideally before you start being charged interest. The more you choose to borrow, the more you’ll have to pay back.
Keep in mind too that if you go beyond your overdraft limit, you might be subject to charges or fees, and these could also affect your credit score.
Comparing quotes for student bank accounts
Shopping around is the best way to find a good student account. You can compare student accounts on MoneySuperMarket by a number of important factors, including the interest you might earn on your balance if you’re in credit, their customer service rating, as well as overdraft features.
You can also see what benefits are on offer and how you’re able to access the account – all you need to do is decide which is best for you and click through to sign up.