There are plenty of student bank accounts available to you. Here are our top tips for finding the best one, and making your money work for you.
Most banks offer student accounts that come with a variety of freebies and interest-free overdraft deals. Make sure you shop around and compare interest rates and other charges and pick the best overall deal, not just the one with the best freebies.
When choosing an account with an interest-free overdraft make sure to find out whether the amount advertised is “guaranteed” and the interest rate you'll be charged on it once you’ve graduated. Top Tip: Don’t rely on your overdraft as an extra source of income and never go over your overdraft limit, as charges can mount up.
Banks will need to verify your identity and student status through documents such as your passport, driving licence and enrolment certificate. Each bank will have its own procedures so it's worth checking what you'll need before you apply.
Banks will carry out a credit check before they open your account. You can find out how to check your credit report on the Money Advice Service website. They also have advice on how you can improve your credit rating.
Top Tip: Ask the bank to explain what services are available and how they work. This is particularly important if you’re an international student as the services offered may be different to those offered by banks in your home country. For further information, see UKCISA's advice on opening an account.
If for any reason, you're unable to get a student bank account or a normal current account you could consider a basic bank account. These accounts are similar to normal bank accounts but do not require a credit check and may have more basic features.
If you experience problems opening a bank account or are unhappy with the service you receive, you can contact the bank itself to make a complaint. You can also seek advice from one of our Students' Union Advisers.
Student bank accounts are usually free to use, but if you exceed your authorised overdraft limit you may incur bank charges that could affect your credit rating.
Avoid credit cards while you’re studying as your income will be limited making it harder for you to meet repayments. If you don’t meet your repayments on time you’ll incur interest which can build up quickly. You could end up owing significant amounts of money and your credit rating will be affected.
Top Tip: Check your account balance regularly online or through a banking app. This is a simple way to keep track of your spending.
If you've received a number of charges from your bank for regularly being overdrawn, it is worth contacting them to request support. For further guidance on how to reclaim bank charges check out this useful guide from Money Saving Expert.
If you've received a one-off bank charge or a charge that's been applied in error, you should contact your bank to ask if they can wipe the charge. It is also worth discussing your situation with them to see if they can recommend some options to help you avoid getting into the same situation in the future.
Many of you will need to open a bank account when you arrive. As this can take time, make sure you have sufficient cash/travellers’ cheques to support yourself for the first few days you’re in the UK.
If you’re an international student we’ve put together a helpful guide on banking and money in the UK. You can also contact our International Student Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org for further support.
There are some great online resources to help you compare the best deals and find the right account for you. Check out our pick of some of the best to get you started:
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