A simples guide

Which student bank account should I choose?

Choosing the best student bank account can be a bit like hunting for your favourite jelly baby. They’re all good but some just have that edge that makes them a little bit tastier than the others. But unlike jelly babies who probably don’t want to be chosen and get their heads bitten off, banks are falling over themselves to offer you their services – so what should you look for?

Interest free overdraft – the bigger the better

If you’re going to need an overdraft (and let’s face it most people will!) Look for an account that will give you the biggest overdraft for the longest period of time – for free. This means you can borrow more money than you have in your account at no charge, up to an agreed amount (your authorised overdraft limit).

You’ll need to watch the wording though, there’s a big difference between an overdraft limit that’s ‘guaranteed’ compared to ‘up to’. Some banks will try and lure you in by headlining their massive overdrafts but look a little closer and you might see that it’s actually only open to you in your third year or subject to your credit history checks.

An overdraft isn’t free money

Just because you’ve got an interest free overdraft doesn’t mean you can start flashing the cash. You’re going to have to pay it back and if you go beyond your authorised overdraft limit you’re in murky waters – unauthorised withdrawals mean you could face hefty fines and your bank could demand you pay all of the outstanding amount back and cancel your overdraft completely. 

Which student bank account should I choose?
checking your credit history

Your credit history

As with any other application for credit, a bank will usually check your credit history before approving your application. As a student, fresh or mature, you may have very little credit history so don’t be disheartened if you’re turned down by some banks. You can check your credit report at any of the three credit reference agencies – Experian (the largest), Equifax and Callcredit. If you take out the 30 day free trial with Experian you can check your score at no charge, with Callcredit it’s free to check your rating at any time and with Equifax you can get a free update about once a month. If you spot anything that’s wrong, then you can appeal for the information to be checked and amended if necessary.

Beware the gift that’ll eventually stop giving

If someone offered you a bag of your favourite sweets in exchange for a lift into town for the next three years you might take them up on it because you just can’t resist a peanut M&M. But after a while you might start to think you’ve got the raw end of the deal, especially when others around you might have an endless bag of sweets with countless peanut M&Ms in return for doing very little. So when a bank offers you freebies and rewards, think about what you’re actually getting out of it in the long run.

Some banks will offer you vouchers which might sound great but perhaps it’s because the main event (your interest free overdraft) isn’t that much of a big deal. On the other hand, if the freebie being offered will make a huge difference to you – such as a student railcard, then go for it.


Location, location, relocation?

Don’t get sucked into thinking that you have to bank with someone local, it might be easier to plump for one that’s round the corner but bear in mind that they might not be offering the best student account package.

When you set up your account you’ll probably need to do that in-branch but you’ll be able to make cash withdrawals at pretty much any cash machine and you can manage your account online. You may occasionally need to pay in a cheque – but seriously, cheques are so 20th century.


‘A’ for effort

Nobody wants to be the dunce in the corner so tell us a bit about you and your financial situation and start comparing the best student bank accounts on offer and be top of the class.

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