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Student Bank Accounts

FIND THE BEST HOME FOR YOUR MONEY WHILE YOU STUDY

  • Compare student accounts with the best interest-free overdrafts, savings rates, cashback offers, and free railcards

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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 the same way as standard current accounts but usually come with tailored features such as larger interest-free overdrafts, cashback, and perks such as discounted or free railcards and shopping vouchers.

girl sitting on a purple sofa looking at a phone

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 dip into the red without penalty. Most banks offer interest-free overdrafts, but limits vary and need to be arranged in advance

  • Railcard

    A free 16-25 student railcard can help cut travel costs, with discounts on every train journey you make

  • Cash

    Some student bank accounts offer a cash incentive for signing up. You might also benefit from high interest rates up to a certain balance

  • Cashback

    Earn cashback paid directly into your student bank account, for example, 15% cashback paid on purchases with selected retailers

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.

  • It’s quick and easy

    See our range of student accounts in one place.

  • Compare account offers

    See deals, including any account perks, from leading UK brands.

  • Apply today

    Once you’ve made your choice click through to open your account.

How do student bank accounts work?

A student bank account works in a similar way to a regular bank account, but with a few small differences.

  • Providers want students as new customers so will often offer incentives, such as railcards, cashback or interest-free overdrafts

  • You apply for the account in the same way as you would for a regular bank account. You’ll need to provide ID and prove you’re a student

  • Once approved, you can transfer, withdraw and receive money into your account without having to give notice

  • Your student account is likely to revert to a general current account a set period after you graduate

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 bank account as an international student?

If you’ve moved to the UK to study as an international student there are student bank accounts available that you can open for free.

You’ll be able to manage your money online, through an app or in-branch including withdrawing cash and making payments.

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.

While your debit card can also be used fee-free in the UK, you are likely to be charged if you carry on spending on it when back home.

Student using laptop

How to choose the best student current account?

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

  • Check the overdraft

    Many student accounts come with a 0% interest overdraft as a way to borrow money conveniently when you need it

  • Look for the best incentives

    From discount railcards and gadget insurance to cashback and retailer discounts, banks can offer different types of incentives

  • Be careful of fees and charges

    Student bank account providers tend to be more lenient with charges, but it’s still worth checking what happens if you break your overdraft limit

  • 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

Emma Lunn

Our expert says

"

Banks want student customers as there’s a good chance they will stick with the same bank long after they graduate. To lure students in, some banks offer cash, Railcards and free subscriptions to popular services. But if you’ll need to borrow money while at university, the amount of interest-free overdraft is the thing to focus on – the amount of borrowing you’ll be offered at 0% interest normally increases with each year of study.

"
- Emma Lunn, Personal finance expert

Compare student bank 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 options on interest-free overdrafts, customer service feedback and 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 and complete your application. You’ll need to supply a few details, including proof that you’re a student

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.

When you apply for a student account the bank will conduct a credit check to 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.

Opening a student bank account is straightforward, as follows:

  1. Search to compare accounts taking not of features such as interest-free overdrafts or incentives to sign up 

  2. Once you’ve chosen your account, click through to apply online 

  3. You’ll need to provide ID, including proving that you’re a student, or you’re about to become a student 

  4. Once approved, you’ll be sent your account details and a debit card to get started

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.

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?