Getting the Right Student Account

One of the most important things that anyone can do when preparing for university is select the right student account. With just about every major bank offering a different option, the challenge is selecting the right one for you, so what should you look for?

  • Probably the most important element of any student account is an interest free overdraft. Most students drop into the overdraft at one time or another and it's a necessity that you don't get charged for it.
  • Overdraft size. Getting the right size of overdraft is a balancing act, whilst it's useful to have more safety net if you do have to use it, having thousands of pounds of spare capacity can be enticing. Also, remember that at some stage you're going to have to pay off that overdraft, so you don't want to be mired in it too deeply.
  • Internet access is absolutely vital. Most students live their lives on the internet and it's a lot easier to manage your ingoing's and outgoings if you set up for internet banking, it's not absolutely necessary, but it is a good idea.
  • Make sure that you know where your nearest branch is. If you end up getting an account with a regional bank and then go to another part of the country, it can be a disadvantage not having a branch nearby, especially if you think you may need to discuss things like reaching the bottom of your overdraft.
  • Interest rate. Very few good student accounts offer you excellent interest rates, mostly because these sorts of accounts are more like conventional savings accounts and not like student accounts so you may have to pay more for your overdraft. Still, any interest that you can earn is a bonus, so it should be a consideration.
  • Optional extras, most banks offer something to sweeten the deal like music vouchers, railcards or a little bit of additional cash. If you really can't choose between two accounts, pick on the strength of the additional bits and pieces that they offer.

A good student account is vital to managing your finances at University. Make sure that you look at more than just a couple of banks, and it's definitely worth taking a look at Santander's student account if you want a benchmark to work against (visit their site for more on Santander's current accounts). It may take a little time to find the right account, but it will definitely prove to be time well spent.