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What to look for when applying for a student bank account

What to look for when applying for a student bank account

What to look for when applying for a student bank account

For the best offers when applying for a student bank account to suit you, make sure you research all banks and building societies, so you don’t miss out on a great deal. We have completed the hard part for you and what you should be looking out for.

0% Overdraft

Whether you are taking out loans, plan to work or having your tuition and time at university paid for, a 0% overdraft is a smart choice to make. An overdraft is borrowed money from your bank and needs to be paid back. Normal Current Accounts charge you for owing the bank money, but a student overdraft doesn’t cost a penny. Even if you plan to never go into your overdraft, it is there in case unexpected things happen and it won’t cost you a thing. Check to see how long the overdraft deal is for to give you enough time to pay it back. Remember that it is another type of loan or borrowing and it must be paid back otherwise the normal overdraft fees will come into effect, and it will be harder to pay off.

Unplanned overdraft

An unplanned overdraft is when you go over the limit of your set overdraft. Which means if you have an overdraft of £1,000 you can borrow up to that amount from the bank and then it will show as -£1,000 on your statement. If you borrow more or forget about a direct debit, you will then go over the agreed amount and enter an unplanned overdraft. You need to be very careful if you are close to your limit as unplanned overdraft fees or charges are extremely costly, and you could pay up to £5 a day.

‘Up to’ amounts

When banks are advertising their student current accounts, they will state the ‘up to’ amount. This is the amount of money in your overdraft. Remember to read the small print as even though a bank may advertise ‘Up to £3,000 overdraft’, a lot of banks only offer £1,000, and the extra money is a ‘case-to-case’ scenario. If you read up on the account it will say how much you will be able to borrow in year one, two and three, so don’t go spending all that money in preparation!


Due to banks competing with each other there will be lots of freebies and extras to go with your bank account. This is why it can come in handy if you spend time researching. There are extras like a free railcard. A railcard can get you a third off rail fares for 16-25-year-olds for up to four years. This will be a saving in itself and handy to have even if you won’t use it every week. Also, check the terms and conditions because you could always switch from the bank you received the free railcard from after one year, to an account with a better overdraft and get to keep the railcard too!

What you need to know

  • You will need the letter from your university or UCAS confirming your course dates and enrolment on the course to set up the account but that doesn’t mean you have to wait after university has started to get a student current account.
  • Remember to bring the right I.D. that they ask for on the form or online.
  • Existing students can also switch to get the best deals meaning you can change halfway through your course.
  • It isn’t a life-long commitment. Get the best account for you and after university has finished shop around for the one that will suit you now it is over.
  • The overdraft isn’t ‘free’ money and you have to pay it back.
  • Banks will credit score you. This is where they check if you have a good credit rating. The only downside being that most students will not have a credit score at all but this can show up as a low score on the scale. You may be rejected but this doesn’t mean it is your fault.
  • Do not choose a bank because their cash machine or ATM is on campus or nearby. There are banks all over the place and you need to make the choice that suits you.


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