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Ella Mower

Senior Content Writer
Published: 17/08/2023
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Find free cash, subscriptions and interest-free overdrafts on offer from high street brands such as NatWest, HSBC and Santander.

With exam season over and results day looming, high street names are refining their student bank account offerings ready for the next academic year’s intake. If you’re planning to start university in September, this means you could access free cash, an interest-free overdraft and more by opening or switching to a student bank account.

What is a student bank account and how can you apply?

Student bank accounts work just like normal current accounts but are exclusive to those in higher education and often come with enticing perks.

While you’ll still need proof of address and ID to apply, you’ll usually also be asked to provide confirmation of your place at university. If you hold a conditional offer, this means you’ll either need proof of A-level results meeting the conditions of your offer, or an acceptance letter from the university you’ll be attending.

When deciding on a bank account, Rachel Springall, Finance Expert at Moneyfactscompare.co.uk, encourages students to carefully assess the whole package to ensure you find the right deal that best suits your needs.

“Cash perks are handy, but it may be more beneficial for students to choose an account with an attractive overdraft or one which can help save them money on their travels, such as the free Railcard offer with Santander,” Springall added.

Below, find highlighted a selection of some of the most noteworthy cost-saving perks. Alternatively, you can visit our dedicated chart for more information on further student bank accounts.

NatWest: £100 cash and four-year tastecard subscription

NatWest enhances its bundle this year, offering £100 cashback upfront with its Student Account. This is in addition to a four-year tastecard subscription (usually priced at £39.99 per year), granting you access to deals and discounts whether eating out or taking away.

By comparison, this account came with only £80 cashback last year, as well as the tastecard subscription. The extra cash could be used to kit out your accommodation, buy books on your reading lists, or pay for society membership fees.

Students will also be able to apply for an interest-free overdraft of up to £2,000 from year one, although this is limited to £500 in term one of year one. Eligible students in their third year onwards can apply for a larger overdraft of up to £3,250 from 2 October 2023.

As another NatWest Group brand, the Student Account from Royal Bank of Scotland offers the same perks, including £100 cashback, tastecard subscription and interest-free overdraft.

 

  • NatWest

    Account Name: Student

    Overdraft Rate (EAR): N/A

    Interest Rate (AER): 0.00%

    Account Fee: N/A

    Perks: £100 cash, four-year tastecard subscription, interest-free student overdraft of up to £2K

    Representative example: N/A

  • Royal Bank of Scotland

    Account Name: Student

    Overdraft Rate (EAR): N/A

    Interest Rate (AER): 0.00%

    Account Fee: N/A

    Perks: £100 cash, four-year tastecard subscription, interest-free student overdraft of up to £2K

    Representative example: N/A

HSBC: £100 cash and one-year subscription to Headspace.

As for HSBC, it renews its £100 cashback offer for another year. New for this year, however, its Student Bank Account also comes with a one-year subscription to Headspace worth £49.99. Headspace is a mindfulness app that aims to reduce stress through guided meditations and focus exercises, which may help when it comes to exams and assessment deadlines.

Furthermore, students can get a guaranteed interest-free overdraft of up to £1,000. By year three, this could rise to £3,000.

 

  • HSBC

    Account Name: Student Bank Account

    Overdraft Rate (EAR): N/A

    Interest Rate (AER): 0.00%

    Account Fee: N/A

    Perks: £100 cash, one-year Headspace subscription, interest-free student overdraft of up to £3K, guaranteed at £1K on opening.

    Representative example: N/A

Nationwide BS: £100 cash and no foreign usage charges

For students who plan on travelling during university holidays, the FlexStudent account from Nationwide BS may be of interest as it charges no foreign usage fees. This means you can use your debit card to spend abroad without encountering additional currency conversion or transaction costs.

Alongside HSBC, this account offers the most generous allowance for an interest-free overdraft and £100 cashback when they open their account. In your first year you can apply for up to £1,000, up to £2,000 in your second year and up to £3,000 in your third year. However, you’ll need to deposit at least £500 into the account each academic term.

 

  • Nationwide BS

    Account Name: FlexStudent

    Overdraft Rate (EAR): N/A

    Interest Rate (AER): 0.00%

    Account Fee: N/A

    Perks: £100 cash, no foreign usage charges, interest-free student overdraft of up to £3K

    Representative example: N/A

Lloyds Bank: £100 cash and 2.00% AER on balances up to £5,000

For students looking to take advantage of a return on their current account balances could consider Lloyds Bank, which offers 2.00% AER credit interest on balances up to £5,000. However, it is worth noting that better rates are available in separate easy access savings accounts.

Lloyds Bank also offers students £100 for opening their account and includes £1,500 in arranged overdraft.   

 

  • Lloyds Bank

    Account Name: Student

    Overdraft Rate (EAR): 39.90%

    Interest Rate (AER): 2.00%

    Account Fee: N/A

    Perks: £100 cash, in credit interest of 2% AER on balances up to £5k, interest-free student overdraft of up to £1.5K

    Representative example: Based on an overdraft limit of £1200 charged at 39.90% EAR Variable. Representative 0.0% APR variable.

Santander: Four-year Santander 16-25 railcard

A longstanding perk, students who open Santander’s 123 Student Current Account will once again have access to its four-year 16-25 railcard. Usually costing £30 for one year or £70 for three years, the railcard saves a third off a wide range of tickets throughout Great Britain. This could make commuting to campus cheaper or visiting friends in other parts of the country more affordable.

Santander also offers an interest-free overdraft on this account. While the arranged limit is £250 upon opening, you can increase it to £1,500 by registering for online banking, paying in £500 into the account and then continuing to pay in £500 each academic term. Afterwards, the limit will automatically increase to £1,800 in your fourth year of study and £2,000 in your fifth year. You can ask for this limit to be reduced at any time.

 

  • Santander

    Account Name: 123 Student Current Account

    Overdraft Rate (EAR): N/A

    Interest Rate (AER): 0.00%

    Account Fee: N/A

    Perks: Four-year Santander 16-25 railcard, interest-free student overdraft of up to £2K, amounts guaranteed

    Representative example: N/A

TSB: Credit interest of 5.00% AER on balances up to £500

The Student Account from TSB, meanwhile, comes with a variable credit interest rate of 5.00% AER on balances up to £500. Interest is paid into the account on a monthly basis, helping students learn budgeting and saving habits.

An interest-free overdraft is also available with this account. After starting university with a limit of £500, you can later apply for an overdraft of up to £1,500.

 

  • TSB

    Account Name: Student

    Overdraft Rate (EAR): 39.90%

    Interest Rate (AER): 0.00%

    Account Fee: N/A

    Perks: Earn 5.00% AER on credit balances up to £500, interest-free student overdraft of up to £1,500

    Representative example: Based on an overdraft limit of £1200 charged at 39.90% EAR Variable. Representative 0.0% APR variable.

Other student accounts

This article comprises a selection of student bank accounts, however, there are others available. You can visit our dedicated student current account chart for more information, and to compare accounts from providers such as Lloyds Bank, Halifax and The Co-operative Bank.

Disclaimer

Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time. Links to third parties on this page are paid for by the third party. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting their site. Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will receive a small payment if you use their services after you click through to their site. All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions. This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will never contact you by phone to sell you any financial product. Any calls like this are not from Moneyfacts. Emails sent by Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will always be from news@moneyfacts-news.co.uk. Be ScamSmart.