If you are heading to university in the UK this autumn, you will likely need to set up a student bank account. Even if you already have a bank account, it is still worth setting up a student account as you may be able to receive a few free perks to help you out while at university.
Compiled using information from Which? University, the table below compares the different student bank accounts offered by major UK banks so that you can pick the one that works for you.
|Bank||Min age||Interest free (0 per cent) overdraft||Benefits|
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Year 6||Credit interest||Freebies|
|NatWest/RBS Student||17||£2,000||£2,000||£2,000||£2,000||£2,000||n/a||Four-year National Express Coachcard|
|First Trust Bank (NI)Student+||18||£1,850||£1,850||£1,850||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Halifax Student||18||£1,500||£1,500||£1,500||£1,500||£1,500||£1,500||0.1 per cent||Cashback at various retailers|
|Bank of Ireland
|18||£1,500||£1,500||£1,500||£2,000||£3,000||£3,000||0.5 per cent|
|Bank of Scotland
|17||£1,500||£1,500||£1,500||£2,000||£2,000||£2,000||Cashback at various retailers|
|Lloyds Bank Student||17||£1,500||£1,500||£1,500||£2,000||£2,000||£2,000||Cashback at various retailers|
|18||£1,500||£1,500||£1,500||£1,800||£2,000||n/a||1 per cent (£100-£200),
2 per cent (£200-£300),
3 per cent (£300-£2,000)
|Four-year 16-25 Railcard|
|TSB Student||17||£1,500||£1,500||£1,500||£1,500||£1,500||£1,500||5 per cent (up to £500)|
|18||£1,000||£2,000||£3,000||n/a||n/a||n/a||Personalised (photo) debit card; cashback at various retailers|
|18||£1,000||£2,000||£3,000||£3,000||£3,000||£3,000||1 per cent (up to £1,000)||Cashback at various retailers|
|Ulster Bank Student||18||£1,000||£1,000||£1,000||£1,000||£1,000||n/a|
As shown in the table above, a few banks offer perks such as free travel cards or cashback at various retailers. It's always worth considering how much you will be travelling while at university as these travel cards could save you some money in the long-term.
Something else that is important to note is the interest-free overdraft that is offered. An overdraft is where a bank allows flexible overspending up to a certain amount, which is then repaid when money is deposited into the account. If an overdraft is offered interest-free it means that banks will not charge you unless you spend outside of this agreed limit. The table above breaks down the interest-free overdraft options per year for each bank.
If you do start spending money outside of your overdraft or you think you may need to borrow more money from your bank, have a discussion with them about the options available to you.
Some of the banks, such as Santander and Natwest, impose conditions on the bank account in order to be eligible for the interest-free overdraft so make sure you are aware of which banks do and don’t impose these.