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
Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
News
Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Junior Asset Manager

£25000 - £35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Junior As...

SEN Tutor- Speech and Language Specialist part time

£80 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Recruitment Consultant - Life Sciences

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Graduate / Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone