Four Top Tips to Help You Choose the Right Student Bank Account
1 Know what it is you need from your bank account
- Most students will probably need an overdraft, so if you’re in that camp go for the largest 0 per cent interest guaranteed-amount overdraft you can get. That way as long as you stay within the agreed limit, you won’t be charged. Remember you get a set amount of time after graduating to pay it back, so make sure the time frame works for you and you can manage the repayments.
- If you’re lucky enough to have a regular income and always stay in the black, money advisers say that a normal bank account that rewards regular payments may work out better for you, as student accounts won’t pay significant interest on your healthy balance. If you do go for this option, remember there won’t be the safety net of an interest-free overdraft - so you need to be organised. Another option is to go for the student account to secure the big overdraft, and move any spare cash into a high-performing savings account.
- Going over an overdraft limit, or going overdrawn without the bank’s prior permission - can incur some hefty charges, so find out what these are just in case.
2 Use online comparison sites to check the best deals
Online comparison sites will quickly show you the best deals for the features you’re looking out for, then you can do some further digging with your favourites to find out what their extra charges are.
3 It’s not all about the freebies
Freebies are attractive but don’t be too swayed by them. You need to think of the long game and think about what having better interest rates or a larger interest-free overdraft will save you over the whole of your time in uni.
If you’ve now identified more than one bank account that has all the important bits of your checklist, then all by means let the freebie be the decider! Again though, think about what you most need. When I went to uni the account I chose had the option of £50 or a three-year railcard. While the offer of cash was tempting, I’m glad I chose the railcard. I didn’t have my own car so I saved hundreds of pounds over the three years on train trips home and to visit friends.
4 Do you need a branch near campus?
Once again, getting the best financial deal on the services you need is paramount. Most banking is now done online and you probably receive your wages/loan/parents’ contribution straight to your account. However if you often get cheques from friends or family, having a branch nearby to pay into your account will save you a lot of hassle. Some people also prefer to be able to call into a branch if they have any issues rather than spend ages on hold to the bank’s head office. But only let this be a deciding factor if the product is right for you.