Best Student Bank Accounts, Reviewed for 2021

Best Student Bank Accounts

A student bank account can help you manage your money better. That is why both domestic and international students should consider getting one when studying in the UK.

In this guide, you will discover a list of the best student bank accounts.

What is a Student Bank Account?

A student bank account is a current or savings account for higher education students. Unlike standard bank accounts, student accounts often come with perks like interest-free overdrafts and freebies.

Since financial institutions will use these perks to reel students in, you should take caution when choosing a bank. Some of the things you should consider include:

  • The overdraft on offer: An overdraft is an agreement you have with your bank allowing you to withdraw more money than is available in your current account. Check the interest rates you will pay if you go into minus on your account.
  • The maximum overdraft: The maximum overdraft will vary from bank to bank.
  • The repayment guidelines: Understand the overdraft repayment terms so that you can plan ahead.
  • The incentives on offer: Take advantage of the incentives that come with student bank accounts. These perks could help you immensely.
  • The bank location: You could consider joining a bank with a branch or cashpoint on campus. However, if the bank you prefer is not on campus, you can still get an account with it since it is probably offering online or mobile banking.

Furthermore, you should consider your spending and savings needs when choosing a bank.

Opening a Student Bank Account

Opening a student account is as easy as walking into a local branch or applying online. You will need original copies of the following documents.

  • An ID. This could be a passport or driving licence. International students will need to produce their visas, as well.
  • Proof of address such as a tenancy agreement or utility bill. That means that international students should get a permanent residence before applying for a bank account.
  • A confirmation letter from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) to prove that you are a student.
  • Opening a student bank account could take some time. Therefore, start the process before your first term begins. Moreover, international students should bring travellers’ cheques or cash in case it takes longer to get a bank account.

When opening an account, you might have to deposit some money as well. So, find out the minimum deposit that the bank requires.

Best Student Bank Accounts

Student Bank Account

The following are five of the best student bank accounts in the UK.

Barclays

Barclays provides a student bank account to people in full-time higher education or higher apprentice. To apply for this account, you should be 18 years of age or over. Furthermore, you should have a UK phone number and residential address. Students can make their application on the Barclays app.

Below is a breakdown of what you will get with this account.

  • Account type: Barclays student additions account
  • Overdraft fee: Zero percent

Arranged overdraft limit

The maximum overdraft limit is £3,000. When you open an account, you will get an overdraft limit of up to £500 in the first term. After this period, the arranged overdraft limit will rise as follows:

Year of StudyArranged Overdraft Limit
1Up to £1,000
2Up to £2,000
3 and beyondUp to £3,000

Note that the maximum overdraft amount that the bank offers will vary from student to student. Some of the factors that will affect this limit are the lending criteria, your credit score, and your financial circumstances.

Moreover, it is crucial to understand that “up to” does not mean guaranteed. It is simply the maximum amount that the bank offers.

Incentives

You can customize your debit card with a photo. Also, you will get cashback for shopping online or on the high street. You will also get a free one-year subscription to Perlego. Perlego is an online library that provides unlimited access to more than 400,000 academic and non-fiction books.

With a Barclays student account, you can make mobile payments with Apple pay and send, request, or spend money using Pingit.

Santander

Santander provides one of the best student bank accounts in the UK. To apply for this account, you should be 18 years of age or older and enrolled in a higher education or higher apprentice institution. Also, you should not have an existing current account with the bank. If you do, you will have to transfer it to a student account.

Here is what Santander offers:

  • Account type: 123 student current account
  • Overdraft fee: zero percent

Arranged overdraft limit

The maximum overdraft limit is £2,000. When you open an account, you will receive an overdraft limit of £250. To increase it to £1,500, you will need to apply for online banking and pay at least £500 every term. When you meet these terms, the bank will increase the limit as follows:

Year of StudyArranged Overdraft Limit
1, 2, and 3£1,500
4£1,800
5£2,000

Monthly interest

Your account balance of up to £2,000 will earn a monthly interest of one percent annual equivalent rate (AER).

Incentives

One of the perks of a Santander student account is the free 16-25 rail-card. The card could help you save about a third of your rail expenses when travelling in England, Scotland, and Wales. You will also get exclusive deals when eating out or during holidays.

Another benefit that you will get is the chance to earn up to 15 percent cashback on retail offers with your Santander debit card.

You can apply for a student account online. Keep in mind that Santander provides mobile banking, mobile payments with Paym, and contactless payments.

RBS

RBS is another financial institution that allows students to open current accounts. To be eligible for a student account you must be 17 years and over and living in the UK. Additionally, you should be undertaking or completing a higher education course. You can also apply if you are starting your course within the next six months. Students can make applications online.

RBS will give you the following:

  • Account type: student account
  • Overdraft fee: zero percent

Arranged overdraft limit

The maximum arranged overdraft limit is £2,000. To get an overdraft, you must be 18 years and above. You should also have lived in the UK for three years or more.

After the bank approves your overdraft application, you will have access to a limit of £500 in the first term of year one. Afterward, you can apply to increase the limit to £2,000. The overdraft limit that you get is subject to lending criteria.

Incentives

RBS offers three perks. However, you can only choose one. Below are the incentives that you can pick.

  • One-year Amazon Prime membership.
  • Four-year tastecard membership. Get two for one or 50 percent off your bill at thousands of UK restaurants. You will get cinema discounts, as well.
  • A four-year National Express coachcard where you will save a third off your fares. You will also receive 15 percent off fares to festivals and events.

Another perk from RBS enables students to withdraw up to £130 without a card every 24 hours at an ATM. As long as you are within your daily withdrawal limit, this benefit should work just fine.

Fees

International students have to pay a monthly fee of £10 for a student account. However, UK students get the account at no fee.

Nationwide

Nationwide is a building society that offers a student account. You can apply for a student account if you are 18 years and over and have been accepted to a full-time UCAS course. Also, you are eligible if you do not have another student account.

You should send your application no more than five months before your course begins or no more than two months after your course starts. This instruction applies to students with unconditional offers.

Here is what Nationwide offers:

  • Account type: FlexStudent
  • Overdraft fee: zero percent

Arranged overdraft limit

The maximum overdraft limit is £3,000. When you get an account, Nationwide will allow you to have an overdraft limit of £1,000. The limit will grow by £1,000 each year to a maximum of £3,000, as long as you pay £500 every term.

Year of StudyArranged Overdraft Limit
1£1,000
2£2,000
3£3,000

Nationwide does not offer any incentives. But it makes up for this by guaranteeing the full overdraft amount.

Students with a Nationwide debit or credit card can pay for commodities using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.

Online application is available.

Lloyds

Lloyds Bank has set aside a current account for students to manage their finances. Students can apply if they are 17 years and above and studying a full-time course of at least two years. Alternatively, you can apply if you are on a one-year full-time course that will lead to a degree.

Students are only eligible for this account if they have lived in the UK for at least three years. Also, applications are available online.

Here is what you will get with Lloyds:

  • Account type: student current account
  • Overdraft fee: zero percent

Arranged overdraft limit

The overdraft limit is £2,000. Below is a breakdown of the overdraft limits by year.

Year of StudyArranged Overdraft Limit
1 (6 months from opening account)
7-9 months from opening account
10-12 months from opening account
£500
£1,000
£1,500
2£1,500
3£1,500
4-6£2,000

You have to be 18 years and above to apply for an overdraft.

Incentives

When you use the Lloyds debit card, you will get up to 15 percent cashback on everyday offers. Furthermore, you can round off card payments to the nearest pound, and the bank will save the difference.

Lloyds also offers a free TOTUM card, valid up to three years. The card gives students access to more than 200 UK discounts and 42,000 worldwide discounts.

You can manage your money through a contactless debit card or mobile payments with Apple and Google Pay. Additionally, you can withdraw up to £500 per day from any Lloyds cash machine in the UK.

With any of these best student bank accounts, you can seamlessly manage your money. Additionally, the incentives will enable you to enjoy travelling around the UK, shopping, and eating out. Note that incentive offers might not be available at all times.

The conditions for opening an account with these banks as an international student could be different. Therefore, contact the bank for more information if you cannot find it on the website.

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