Santander and Nationwide rated best student bank account providers by Which?

RBS and TSB rank worst in survey of 5,000 students

Ben Chapman
Saturday 18 August 2018 00:02 BST
Santander scored five for its sign-up incentives and four on customer service
Santander scored five for its sign-up incentives and four on customer service (Getty)

Santander and Nationwide provide the best student bank accounts according to new a survey.

As half a million university students prepare to start university for the first time, the two lenders achieved the best customer scores of 75 per cent and 72 per cent respectively, Which? found.

Santander and Nationwide scored highly on a survey of students as well as in analysis carried out by Which? product testers.

The poll of 5,000 students ranked RBS as the worst provider with a score of 54 per cent followed by TSB on 55 per cent.

Students were questioned on their satisfaction with their bank and how likely they were to recommend it to someone else.

Respondents were also asked to rate the banks on a number of categories on a scale from very poor to excellent.

Santander scored five for its sign-up incentives and four on customer service. Meanwhile, Nationwide placed highest on customer service with five stars and also achieved top marks for its service in branch.

At the other end of the table, TSB received a two-star customer service rating, while RBS received the same score for handling complaints and sign-up benefits.

None of the providers fared particularly well on complaints handling, Which? said, with Santander, Nationwide, Natwest and Bank of Scotland getting three stars, and the remaining banks scoring two.

The survey also revealed the financial difficulties faced by many students. Almost a third of those polled said they didn’t have a student bank account at all while 46 per cent had asked their parents or family for extra money and a fifth rely on an overdraft and one in 10 used their credit cards to manage living costs.

All of the providers rated in the report offer perks for those opening student accounts, ranging from cashback schemes to vouchers.

Santander’s account comes with the highest-rated offer of a four-year 16-25 Railcard and 1 per cent interest from £100, going up to 3 per cent from £300 to £2,000.

Harry Rose, Which? money editor, said: “Choosing the right bank account is an important step towards having sound financial footing during your time at university and beyond. However, it was concerning to see that a fifth of students relied on their overdraft to manage their living costs, while just under a half said that they’d asked their parents or family for extra money.

“With the help of students, we’ve identified two good accounts that are a steady starting point for those heading to university.”

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