So, you got your place at uni, congrats, now it’s time to get organised. Opening a student bank account is a great place to start and we’re here to help you pick the best one. There are a few important things to consider when choosing a student bank account.
We’ll take you through the important things to think about when picking a student account, comparing their rewards, perks and overdrafts.
Compare student current accounts – Ordered by overdraft rate (EAR)
Here you can compare student accounts 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.
Account opening criteria
High Interest, Package, Reward & Standard current accounts
- You must be 18 years of age or older
- You must not have been declared Bankrupt or have registered for an Individual Voluntary Agreement within the last six years or be in the process of doing so (Does not apply to M&S Bank)
- You are a UK resident
- You’re aged 18 years or over
- You’ve been accepted onto a full-time UCAS course at a UK institution for at least 2 years
- You don’t already have a student account with another Banking institution
- You must be aged between 11 and 18 years old
- You must be living permanently in the UK
- You must be aged 18 or over to apply
- You must have a residential address in the UK
Before applying, please always check each banks specific opening criteria on their website.
This is based on a scoring system we developed using data from MoneySavingExpert’s twice-yearly Current Account customer service polls.
An easy switching process
We guarantee a smooth switch.
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A smooth switch for you
The Current Account Switch Service makes switching your current account simple, reliable and stress-free. Over 4 million current accounts have been switched so far.
The Current Account Switch Guarantee means that your new bank takes care of closing your old account, moving your balance and switching your payments.
So you don't need to worry.
Start using your new account
On your agreed switch date your new account will be ready to use and your old account will be closed. Your new bank will have transferred all of your regular incoming payments (such as your salary or benefits) and outgoing payments (such as Direct Debits, standing orders, future dated payments and bill payments) to your new account, along with any remaining credit balance. Your saved Payee details will also be transferred over.
Note: future dated payments set up within 7 working days of your switch date cannot be transferred across to your new account.
Need to knows
- 1. Check you're able to switch
The Current Account Switch Service covers 99% of UK current accounts. The process is the same everywhere so you can feel confident when you switch, no matter which participating bank or building society you choose.
- HOWEVER YOU CAN'T SWITCH WITH:
- A joint account without the permission of both parties
- Saving accounts
- Non-sterling payment accounts.
- 2. Check you're eligible
Common eligibility examples include having a minimum number of Direct Debits, and a set amount entering the account each month. You'll also need to agree any overdraft facilities you require with them before initiating the switch (subject to eligibility status).
Just in case if anything has gone wrong
In the unlikely event that anything goes wrong, your new bank or building society guarantees to refund any interest and charges you incur as a result of a delayed or incorrect switch. It's all part of the Current Account Switch Guarantee.
How to pick a student bank account
These are some important things to consider when picking your student account:
The amount and length of overdraft
An overdraft lets you spend more money than you have in your bank account at the time, effectively by borrowing it from your bank. The great thing about a student account is that money borrowed through an overdraft usually has 0% interest, meaning you’ll pay nothing more than what you borrow. Be mindful that the 0% interest period is not forever, it usually lasts until a few years after graduating.
However, you should see your overdraft as an emergency fund rather than your everyday spending - this money isn’t free and will need to be paid back in full. It’s a much better idea to budget well during your time at university and only use your overdraft if you really need to
Look out for freebies
Student back accounts are competitive and many banks offer freebies and incentives to lure students in. Offers including free products, cash rewards, travel discounts and other exclusive deals could make your time at uni even more enjoyable. When you compare student bank accounts with MoneySuperMarket, we will display any rewards or ‘other perks’ in the results, so you can clearly see any additional benefits of the account.
Before letting these incentives sway your decision though, think about whether they are a real benefit to you based on their value and if you’d actually use them. Also, consider whether these freebies outweigh the choice of a decent overdraft
What are the repayment conditions?
It’s unlikely you will have to repay your overdraft until after you graduate, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how much you’re borrowing and planning ahead for how you’re going to pay it back. Most banks automatically turn your student account into a graduate bank account which deals with repaying your overdraft over a certain period. Check out our tips on clearing graduate debt
Understand your credit rating
As student account overdrafts are a form of borrowing, your credit score will be checked when you apply. The quality of your score can determine how much overdraft the bank will offer. You can raise your chances of approval by knowing your own credit score and taking steps to improve it. You can check your credit score by using our free tool.
Guaranteed vs. ‘up to’ overdraft
If you’re looking for the best student overdraft, you’ll need 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, you’ll have to apply to extend it.
According to a survey of accounts available in October 2019
What is a student bank account?
A student bank 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 are the benefits of a student bank account?
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. An overdraft is where the bank lets you spend more money than you’ve got in your account (at no extra cost), up to a set amount. Banks often charge hefty fees and interest for this privilege, but student accounts do not.
Do you need a student bank account for student finance?
It's not compulsory to have a student account if you're going to university, but many students take advantage of an interest-free overdraft. If you don't already have an account with the bank or building society you want to open a student account with, you'll need to set up a new one.
Who can get a student current account?
To qualify for a student current account, you must be a student and be able to provide evidence, usually several 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
Can mature students get a student bank account?
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. Most banks don’t set a maximum age limit.
Can international student get a student bank account?
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 know 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.
Let Student Finance know about your new bank details when you have them, so you can receive your student loan.
What happens to my student current account when I graduate?
Once you graduate, banks will often change your account to a graduate account – so you might still keep some of the perks of your student current account for an extended period of time.
Can I have more than one student current account?
Some banks have a limit of one student current account per person, 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.
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. We’ll also show you what benefits are on offer.