Help choosing the best student account

Becoming a student is daunting enough without having to worry about money, so we spoke with Rebecca Cure, a student and graduate manager at Lloyds TSB, to get her help and advice for those opening their first student accounts...

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Felicity King-Evans: In just a few weeks, universities like this one at Chester across the country will be filling up with undergraduates back for the new year.

If you’re starting your fresher year, then you’ll obviously be spending most of your time buried in books, with perhaps the odd night out. But before you get down to some serious studying, you need to have exactly the right personal bank account so you can manage your money.

We spoke to Rebecca Cure, manager of student and graduate banking at Lloyds TSB, to get her top tips on finding the perfect account.

What account?

Rebecca Cure: First of all, shop around - see what the banks offer, how they differ and see how the account features and benefits actually fit with your circumstances.

Don’t be persuaded to go with the bank that your friends are with or perhaps your parents are recommending – it has to be right for you.

Don’t forget, it’s easy to switch your account, and don’t necessarily feel that you need to stay with your existing bank.

Overdrafts

RC: When you are looking at student accounts and overdrafts, don’t be persuaded to go for the bank with the largest limits – this can be very tempting and obvious to take up what’s on offer, but don’t forget that you have got to pay it back.

A lot of banks offer interest-free overdrafts that are tiered, and these will really help you to manage your money over your first term and the years beyond.

Tools

RC: Mobile banking in particular is really useful to use when you’re on the go as it helps you to stay in control of your money, and you can set up alerts so that you’ll know what your balance is and when you’re nearing your limit - this will help you avoid any unnecessary charges on your account which is really important.

Benefits

RC: There are lots of student benefits available on student accounts, and one of the most important things to remember is to actually register for them.

There’s no point choosing the account for its fantastic benefits but not actually using them- make sure you check the small print and see when you’ve got to register for them by, as they often finish in October so if you don’t register for them by then you’ll miss out on the chance to use them.

Discounts

RC: The golden rule with discounts is ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. When you’re out shopping just ask, see if there is a discount for students.

It’s also worth looking at whether there are any discount cards that might offer you discounts at your favourite shops – the NUS extra card for example offers over 80 discounts, with retailers such as Amazon, JJB Sports, Odeon and Superdrug, and will really help you to stretch your money further. 

FKE: Sorting out your current account may not be the most interesting thing you do in fresher’s week, but it is important.

Once your finances are taken care of, that’s one less pressure on your mind - giving you more time to study and have fun!

For more information, please read our article: ‘Student accounts - where to begin?'.

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