College can be a stressful time when it comes to money, so you want a bank account to give you the best possible service. As Results Day approaches, we put together the proposed accounts for this year’s incoming student crop and discuss their pros and cons.


Account name: Student bank account


  • £ 80 in cash, to be transferred directly to the open account
  • Your choice of £ 20 Uber Eats voucher or one year unlimited next day delivery with Asos Premier; and
  • A guaranteed interest-free overdraft buffer of £ 1,000 in the first year, which could reach £ 2,000 in the second year and £ 3,000 in the third year.

I said: This account basically offers a £ 100 incentive split between cash and rewards, but be careful which one you choose. Asos Premier costs just £ 9.95 a year, so it’s not worth as much as the £ 20 Uber Eats voucher.

HSBC is one of three providers this year offering up to £ 3,000 overdraft, the highest on the market.


Account name: 123 Student current account


  • A free four-year Santander 16-25 card to save a third on train travel in Britain
  • An arranged interest-free overdraft of £ 1,500 for the first three years, £ 1,800 in the fourth year and £ 2,000 if you stay a fifth year

I said: The long-standing offer of a free rail card makes Santander stand out every year. A four-year rail card isn’t even available directly from National Rail, with the longer card costing £ 70 for three years, while a one-year card costs £ 30. The average customer saves £ 189 a year with their rail card, which can also be linked to an Oyster card for cheaper travel to London.


Account name: Student current account


  • An interest-free overdraft of up to £ 1,500 for the duration of your course. Plus an additional year after graduation, up to a maximum of six years in total.

I said: Halifax lists Cashback Extras and its rounded savings feature as perks for its student checking account, but these are usually available on other Halifax accounts, so the main benefit here is the length of the overdraft.

Lloyds Bank

Account name: Student current account


  • An interest-free arranged overdraft of up to £ 1,500 in years 1 to 3 and up to £ 2,000 in years 4 to 6.

I said: Like its sister bank Halifax, Lloyds lists many of its standard features as the perks of a student account, so overdraft is the main attraction. But unlike Halifax, the amount of overdraft increases for those studying longer courses.

Lloyds was known to have distributed a free Totum card (formerly known as NUS Extra) which gave entitlement to various discounts and could be used as a student card. This is not currently part of the offer.

Note that Bank of Scotland, which is also part of the Lloyds Banking Group, has a very similar account with the same overdraft conditions as the Lloyds offer.

Student discount programs

Totum – Formerly known as NUS Extra, Totum is the discount program run by the National Union of Students. Its primary discount is 10% at Co-op, which makes it a worthwhile buy for anyone who finds the chain is likely to be their primary store.

However, users seem less convinced of the rest of the discounts. It has a rating of just 2.2 out of five stars on TrustPilot, and many are complaining about the range of offerings.

Student beans – Named after the Basic Student Beans on Toast, Student Beans is a free site and app that digitally verify your student status. Once confirmed, you have access to hundreds of discount codes that change regularly. Student Beans scores 4.3 from TrustPilot reviewers.

Unidays – With a model similar to Student Beans, Unidays digitally verifies users and then opens up access to hundreds of discounts for well-known brands. It’s free to register. However, its TrustPilot reviews show that several users have recently complained about technical issues, leaving it with a rating of 1.7.

Local discounts – Don’t forget to check if local businesses have offers for students. The university or student union may have a list of these offers.


Account name: Student bank account


  • Overdraft interest-free up to £ 2,000 (£ 500 in first quarter) with instant decision online
  • £ 50 cash and a four-year tasting card

I: With an annual tasting card subscription costing £ 34.99, NatWest’s perks package is one of the most valuable on the market, worth almost £ 190. Of course, a tasting card will only be useful to students who plan to eat semi-regularly at local restaurants and pubs. Search the taste map website for your college town before signing up to verify that you are happy with the range of offerings.

NatWest also has some handy features like the ability to hang your card if you can’t find it, rather than canceling it altogether – useful if you need to retrieve it from a lost item at the SU bar or find it in a disorganized shared house. . .

Note that Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest’s sister bank, has a roughly identical offer.


Account name: Student bank account


  • Receive 5% AER / 4.89% Gross Variable Interest on balances up to £ 500, paid on the 10th working day of each month
  • Optional overdraft without interest up to £ 1,500. It starts at £ 500 for the first six months, then you can apply to increase it to £ 1,000 in months seven to nine, and up to £ 1,500 from month ten. Subject to request, approval and refundable on request.

I: TSB sets itself apart by being the last account to pay interest on credit balances. The potential to get up to an extra £ 25 per month shouldn’t be sniffed out here, but only worth swaying your decision if you think you’re likely to have significant credit.


Account Name: Student Additions Account


  • Access to Perlego – an online library of academic and non-fiction titles
  • Overdrafts without interest up to £ 3,000. It starts with up to £ 500 during your first term. In the first year this can go up to £ 1,000, then £ 2,000 for the second year and £ 3,000 for the third year and beyond.

I: A Perlego subscription will usually cost you £ 96 per year, so this is a great benefit. However, you only have access to it for one year, and this benefit is only available to those who do not yet have a checking account with Barclays. It’s worth checking out how many of your course materials are likely to be provided on the site before making a decision based on this extra – the site offers a 14-day free trial.

Perks aside, Barclays has one of the most generous overdraft deals alongside Nationwide and HSBC.

At national scale

Account name: FlexStudent current account


  • Overdraft limit allowed up to £ 3,000 during studies, with £ 1,000 the first year, £ 2,000 the second and £ 3,000 the third year.
  • Free international banking services.

I said: Another of the banks with the highest overdraft limit, Nationwide’s other big selling point is no-charge offshore banking. It is worth considering for those who are likely to spend a year abroad as part of their degree.

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