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Student Bank Accounts

CHOOSE A BETTER STUDENT ACCOUNT

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Why compare student current accounts with MoneySuperMarket?

See all student accounts available in one place. It’s easy to compare features such as interest-free overdrafts and any perks including student railcards.

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    See our range of student accounts in one place.

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What is a student current account?

A student bank account is a current account designed for students in higher education in the UK.

They work in the same way as standard current accounts but usually they come with extra features such as larger interest-free overdrafts and perks, typically discount railcards and shopping vouchers.

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How to choose the best student current account

The best student account will depend on what features are most important to you.

  • 1

    Check the overdraft

    Many student accounts come with a 0% interest overdraft as a way to borrow money conveniently when you need it. Your bank will typically agree to an authorised 0% overdraft, such as £1,000 or £2,000, for example. It may be possible to increase this at a later date. But overdraft terms are likely to change after you graduate.

  • 2

    Look for the best incentives

    From discount railcards and gadget insurance to cashback and retailer discounts, banks can offer different types of incentives that come free with a student current account. If you’re torn between a few banks and they offer similar features, the perks on offer could help you decide.

  • 3

    Be careful of fees and charges

    While student bank account providers tend to be more lenient with charges compared to standard accounts, it’s still worth checking what happens if you break your overdraft limit. It’s also worth knowing how quickly you’ll be expected to pay back the overdraft once you graduate.

  • 4

    Compare customer service ratings

    Knowing that you’ll get great service from a bank is important and it’s worth finding out about others’ experience before making your decision. When you compare student accounts with MoneySuperMarket, you’ll see a customer service star rating out of five to help you make the best choice for you.

What perks could I get with a student bank account?

If you sign-up for a student bank account, you could receive some of the following perks:

  • Interest-free overdraft

    Allows you to be more flexible with your finances and dip into the red without penalty. While most banks offer interest-free overdrafts, maximum overdraft limits will vary and they need to be arranged in advance 

  • Railcard

    A free 16-25 discount railcard can help cut down travel costs for students. It saves money on the cost of national rail travel with discounts on every train journey you make   

  • Cash

    Some student bank accounts offer a cash incentive for signing up and customers might benefit from high interest rates on their balance up to a certain threshold, for example, 5% paid on balances up to £500.

  • Cashback

    Earn cashback paid directly into your student bank account. A typical example might be 15% cashback paid on purchases with selected retailers. Check where you’ll get cashback to see if it’s a useful perk for you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of student bank accounts?

There are plenty of positive reasons to sign up for a student bank account. But there are a few things to watch out for too:

  • Tick

    Advantages

    • Interest-free overdrafts can be helpful when managing your student finances, allowing you the flexibility to go into the red without penalty

    • Banks want to attract new customers when they are young so the perks may be better than those offered on standard accounts

    • Student bank accounts offer smart banking facilities and online access making it straightforward to handle your finances from anywhere

  • Cross

    Disadvantages

    • You may find it difficult to get a student bank account if you’ve a poor credit rating because of past debts. If declined, you may have to opt for a basic bank account instead 

    • International students might not be eligible for a UK student bank account with an interest-free overdraft

    • Your current account terms are likely to change after you graduate. You could lose some perks, although not always, and you may be required to gradually reduce your overdraft

Can I get a student current account with bad credit?

When you apply for a student account the bank will conduct a credit check on you to look at your credit history and see how well you’ve managed credit in the past. If you have missed any debt repayments you may find it difficult to be approved for a student account.

If your student account application hasn’t been approved, a basic bank account may be an option. You'll still be able to withdraw and deposit money, but you won’t be offered an overdraft or cheque book.

Check my score

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Jo Thornhill

Our expert says

"

“Student accounts come with plenty of incentives, such as shopping discounts and railcards. Great news when you’re on a tight budget. But make sure you thoroughly compare your options before you sign up. The account perks could disappear over time so you’ll want to pick an account that will be best for you for the long term. ‘

Jo Thornhill, money expert at MoneySuperMarket

"

- Jo Thornhill, Money expert

Compare student current accounts with MoneySuperMarket

Let us take the hard work out of finding a student current account by comparing a range of accounts in one place.

  • Browse accounts

    View our range of the best student bank accounts and compare the options on interest-free overdrafts, customer service feedback and the perks you might receive

  • Filter and sort

    You can choose to filter the results in different ways, such as by the size of a potential overdraft and any switching incentives you might get for signing up

  • Click through to provider

    Once you’ve made your choice, click through to the account provider and complete your application. You’ll need to supply a few details, including proof that you’re a student

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There isn’t a specific time you should set up your student account, but you may want it ready to go for when you start your course. That way, you’ll have access to all the features of a student account when you begin your studies and know where you’re at with your finances – particularly if you’ll need access to an overdraft. You’ll need to provide proof of your student status when you apply, so it may be worthwhile to set up your student account as soon as you’ve confirmed your place at university. 

To open a student bank account, you’ll need the following information to hand:

  • Proof of ID: Typically photo ID such as your driver’s licence or passport

  • Proof of address: Bank statement or recent utility bill

  • Proof of student status: Your UCAS offer letter or letter of acceptance from university 

Most banks will allow you to apply online. But don’t forget to send off your supporting documents. When your new student current account is open, remember to update your Student Finance account with your new bank details. Your Student Finance Account is the hub where you can see your statements and letters about your maintenance loan or grant from Student Finance England.

Depending on the student account you have and when you’re due to graduate, you may be able to increase your authorised 0% overdraft limit. Whether you can increase your overdraft limit will depend on your bank’s terms and lending criteria, as well as your borrowing history and financial situation. If you’re looking to increase your overdraft limit, contact your bank for more information.

Unfortunately, international students aren’t usually able to take advantage of some of the benefits included in student current accounts, such as an interest free overdraft. Instead, you will be able to open a standard current account with most banks if you’re in the UK for more than six months. Want to learn more about how current accounts work? Check out our guide to current accounts.

Once you’ve graduated from university, your student account will convert into a graduate account, which is similar to a standard current account. Your existing student overdraft may be transferred over to your new account (meaning it will stay at 0% interest for a few years) and you may be able to apply for an arranged overdraft limit on top. In some cases, the bank may ask that you start to reduce your agreed overdraft limit over a period of time, depending on your work and income status.

A current account is a bank or building society account that lets you manage your day-to-day spending.

You can have your salary paid into it, set up direct debits and standing orders, and negotiate an overdraft. Some accounts also pay interest on balances and offer cashback on spending.

There are lots of types of current account to suit all sorts of personal situations. These include:

  • Standard: For managing ordinary income and expenditure, usually with a debit card, a cheque book and an overdraft

  • Basic: No-frills accounts which come with fewer features, designed for people with bad or no credit history

  • Packaged: These come with various bonuses, including things like interest-free overdraft, insurance add-ons and discounts for other banking products. They usually have monthly fees and eligibility requirements

  • Student/graduate: Current accounts designed to cover the particular financial pressures faced by students and recent graduates, normally including larger interest-free overdrafts

  • Joint: Accounts designed for two or more people, to cover household expenses or couples’ expenditure

  • Children’s: These have few features and are designed to introduce children to banking and saving

Some current accounts come with extra benefits for the account holder, like a cash bonus for signing up, better interest rates or even breakdown cover. The accounts might only be available to certain customers, like those with high credit ratings.

Some current accounts include fees if you use them in a certain way – some banks might charge you for resending a printed account statement or for accessing your account abroad. You may even be charged a fee for going into your overdraft without telling your bank beforehand.

The traditional idea of banking is being changed by digital or challenger banks, who provide most of their services through the internet or a mobile app rather than in branch or over the phone. Many are designed to be more open and transparent with customers and less focused on banking products.

It’s more attractive than ever to compare current accounts: healthy competition means there are a number of incentives available for those willing to switch. But if you don’t compare current accounts, you could be missing out on a great deal – and some free cash!

Switching current accounts is simple because most of the legwork is done for you and, at the end of it, you can benefit from an account that’s much better for your pocket and lifestyle.

If you’re looking for the best current account, you’ll benefit from a wide range of products to choose from. Many of the best current accounts offer:

  • High interest rates

  • Cashback and rewards on spending

  • Competitive overdraft rates

The best current account is different for each person, as it depends on your spending habits and level of savings.

Switching current accounts has never been simpler, and many providers offer lucrative incentives for moving your account to them.

The Current Account Switch Guarantee makes switching current accounts very easy indeed, and your bank will do most of the legwork for you, including transferring money, direct debits and standing orders, and informing your employer.

When you switch your current account to a new bank or building society, you could get £100 or more in cashback as a reward for switching. Just make sure that you’re applying for an account that suits your needs, not just the one with the highest cashback.

If you tend to stay in credit and never go overdrawn, you could get rewarded regularly by your bank or building society. By switching to a rewards current account, you could get a monthly reward payment and earn cashback on your spending. Some providers will also offer a cash incentive for switching your current account to them.

Many rewards accounts have requirements such as paying in a minimum amount eachmonth, or having a minimum number of direct debits, so make sure you can meet the criteria to get the rewards.

If you’re fed up with getting poor customer service from your bank, switch your current account to a provider that’s known for looking after its customers.

As well as making your life easier, some of these accounts offer extra benefits such as competitive overdrafts or cashback for switching.

It’s a good idea to check your account statements regularly, because this could stop you going into your overdraft without knowing. It can also be a good way to double check whether there are any transactions you don’t recognise.

Look for a provider with good customer service, because you never know when you’ll need to call them up or go into a branch to fix an issue.

Remember to be careful with your PIN and account details; you should keep this information safe and protected. Remember, your bank will never ask you to reveal details like your PIN, either on the phone, in person or through an email.

Your bank will almost certainly have an app that lets you manage your account online, and some may even be based on their app. This is excellent for quick and easy money management.

Each bank has different ways of transferring money. Some require you to use a card reader when transferring any sum of money, while others only use it for transactions over a set amount.

Other banks do not use card readers at all, so if money transfers are something you might be doing a lot of, it’s worth checking the policy details to see how easy it is to make payments on the go.

If your current account comes with benefits such as air miles, you might want to check whether you really need them. For example, if you’re not a frequent flyer, is an air miles bonus worth the extra cost?