Student finance: Finding the right bank for your needs

What do you look out for when trying to find the bank account for you?

Most people of university age haven't worked for a long enough time to have significant savings they can live on while they study. It's especially important now to figure out which bank you want to open a student bank account with, as you will likely stay with them for a long time.

Banks know this, so they’re desperate to grab customers when they are young. This means there are all kinds of great offers for students out there, but you need to be clued up about what you need . When you’re looking at which bank to go with, keep the following in mind:

  • Be realistic with what services you need. Are you going to want to bank online? Do the bank have a good reputation for anti-fraud measures? What about going abroad?
  • Balance being realistic about your financial needs with being realistic with what you actually have access to. Don’t burn through your overdraft all at once. When you’re in well into your overdraft, it’s very difficult to get out and back into the black, especially if you’re on a low income. Crack down on your spending and balance it with your income – factor in loans, income from any regular jobs, and any extras you might be earning.
  • Make sure you look at the guaranteed overdraft you’ll be entitled to each year - not the maximum. Banks say that they allow students ‘up to’ a certain amount of money, but this is a bit sneaky, as they are under no obligation to provide it – it depends on your credit status. The bank can reject your application for an overdraft extension, and this in turn can harm your credit rating – so you need to know what you are definitely entitled to.
  • Check repayment conditions. When are they going to expect that you pay back the overdraft? When will your overdraft no longer be free? If you don’t check this, you could be landed with a sudden request for a lot of money. Most banks will switch your student account to a graduate one and have a phasing-out period for former students, where they will gradually lower the amount you’re allowed to borrow.
  • Don’t go for a bank that’s simply convenient and has a branch on campus - you can withdraw money from most bank accounts from any ATMs.
  • Check in-credit interest rates, fees for arranged overdrafts, and interest rates on borrowing. In-credit interest rates are better the higher they are because they will give you interest on your credit. Fees for arranged overdrafts should ideally be nothing, and interest rates on borrowing should be at a minimum, ideally 0%.
  • Look past the perks. They’re attractive, and they’re useful now, but are you really going to use them, and are they going to come in handy three years down the line? Find a bank that’s reliable, whose services and style you like, rather than the one that offers you a great freebie.

Find out which banks offer the best student account with our full student banking guide.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing software co...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate / Digital Account Exe...

Guru Careers: Junior Designer / Design Graduate

£18k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Junior Designer / Design Graduate to join...

Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas