Student accounts offer many their first taste of real world banking. Here’s how to get the best student accounts available on the UK market
Student accounts are a bit of a battle field for banks; they compete eagerly to get the student market to sign up in the hope that they will be a customer for life.
This means that there are generally numerous extremely competitive deals out there for you to take advantage of. You simply need to compare your options to find the best bank accounts for students.
Students accounts with interest free overdrafts and shiny freebies make this market the one to be in as far as perks as concerned.
So, what should you expect from the best student account and how do you go about finding them?
The most basic student bank account will offer you a debit card and the ability to bank online, by phone or through a branch.
Some, but by no means all, student accounts will offer you interest on your in credit balances, so if you're likely to have a positive balance this is something to look for.
The competitive part starts here. Banks realise that many student will want to spend more cash than they have so offer them overdrafts.
Overdrafts allow you to withdraw a certain pre-arranged amount of money beyond the balance you have in your account, in a similar way to a loan.
They usually come at a high cost and on a standard bank account you can expect to pay up to 20% on any money you borrow.
However, many student bank accounts offer this facility interest free up to a certain limit.
Interest free overdrafts are limited to certain fixed amount per year. So you may, for example, be allowed a total interest free overdraft of £1,000 for year one, £2,000 for year two and £3,000 in year three - bringing the total overdraft allowed to £3,000 over three years.
Exceed these limits and you will be charged a hefty rate of interest and could damage your credit history - this will cause big problems after you graduate.
You will also need to pay off your overdraft after graduation or you will be charged interest - switching to a graduate bank account with a sufficient overdraft limit is usually the safest option.
Most student accounts have no fees, unless you go over the overdraft limit. If this is done then fees are astronomical, costing up to £25 a transaction.
Other things to be aware of
Don’t choose an account because it is the nearest branch to the campus. There can be a large difference between bank accounts for students so evaluate other factors and then decide.
Also, many student accounts offer freebies like rail cards, NUS cards for three years and music downloads. Don’t let these impair your judgement – a low cost overdraft is more important in most cases when looking for the best bank account for students, these are just the icing on the cake.
As with most accounts, the best way to get the best deal is to compare student bank accounts online. You can do this using our student bank account comparison.