Choosing the best student account for you
As much as you will usually receive financial support when you’re a student, there is still a lot of money management that needs to be done while studying full-time. This is usually your first experience of paying rent and other big expenses, so it can be quite daunting when you start trying to budget.
A good starting point is by getting a student current account, allowing you to manage your payments on a monthly basis, covering expenses such as accommodation, course fees, transport and food.
We’ve put together a rather useful guide on getting a student account and what you should be looking for when you start comparing them for the first time.
What makes a student current account different?
- Current account tailored towards full-time students
- Often come with freebies such as a young person’s railcard
- Free overdraft for the duration of your course
- Cashback when spending at certain retailers
- Discounts and offers for students
Whilst a student current account performs the same function as a regular current account, it has got certain added features that will appeal to students while they’re studying.
The most notable is having a free overdraft for the duration of your course, meaning you avoid any daily fees for using the account. Since it can be difficult to juggle certain expenses as a student, having this free buffer can be incredibly useful for staying out of debt.
How to compare student current accounts
If you’re thinking of getting a student account but are unsure where to start, it’s important to know what to look out for so you can get the best one for you. The following features are worth considering when comparing student accounts:
- Eligibility – most student accounts require you to be enrolled full-time on a course, which means those studying part-time might not be eligible to apply. However, as an apprentice you might still be eligible, so it’s worth checking the terms before dismissing it
- Added extras – different student account providers often try to differentiate themselves by offering more tempting freebies with their account. It’s worth browsing all of the providers to see which one will give you the best freebies
- Terms of your free overdraft – most overdrafts will be free for the entirety of your course, but it’s worth checking there aren’t any further terms that will mean you have to pay fees at after a certain time. This can help you choose the best overdraft deal from the start
- Minimum monthly payment – some student accounts will require you to pay a minimum amount in each month to qualify for certain benefits. Make sure you are aware of these stipulations before you apply for the account
- Access to other financial products – certain providers will also give you easy access to a savings account and even a credit card as part of having a student account, meaning you will have further financial products to choose from
Managing a student current account
Once you have been accepted for a student account, you can then start using it to manage your money effectively, and reap the rewards that come with it. We’ve put together a few tips for you to think about to help you manage your money as much as possible:
- Stick to a budget every month – this can be tough to do as a young student, but is a good habit to start early as it will put you in a good position down the line, especially when your course is coming to an end
- Try not to live in your overdraft – there’s a good chance that you will have to live in your overdraft for a bit, and it can be tempting to do so since it is free, but this will need to be paid back eventually
- Aim to pay off your overdraft before the end of your course – you will often find you have a bit more time to pay off your overdraft if your account is converted to a graduate account, but you should still aim to pay it off in full so you aren’t stung by expensive fees
- Take advantage of the freebies and discounts before they’re gone – if you’re entitled to freebies such as a railcard then make sure you use it. It might save you money you would otherwise be spending with a standard current account
Compare student bank accounts
Now that you’ve been given a taste of what having a student account looks like, start your search by browsing our tables to find the best student account for you.
Written by Robert Bester
Published on 2nd July 2019