FINDING THE BEST STUDENT BANK ACCOUNT
Blog By, Tom Banks, Graduated Student
By now you’ll have held a bank account for a few years but starting at Uni will throw up all sorts of offers and incentives otherwise out of your reach, and banks will be keen to tempt you over to them with everything from 0% overdrafts to railcards.
Choosing who to go with can be bewildering so here are our top tips for navigating your way to the right choice.
- Get the biggest 0% overdraft limit
Almost all students need an overdraft, where the bank lets you spend more than you’ve got (at no extra cost) to a set amount. Aim to get the biggest and longest 0% overdraft you can – the only time this doesn’t apply is if freebies on offer are so valuable to you it outweighs this.
- Never go over your overdraft limit
This isn’t a rule just for students, it’s a rule for life. The game totally changes if you go beyond your overdraft limit – charges shoot up and you can be caught in a vicious cycle that’s tough to ever escape from. If you stay within your limit there’s usually NO COST.
- Beware, you’ll be credit scored
When you apply for debt products, including a bank account with an overdraft, the bank will credit score you to decide how desirable a customer you are based on behavioural predictions from your previous financial data, so try to manage your money and avoid defaulting on payments if you can.
- DON’T pick a bank based on the closest branch or ATM
Just because there’s a particular bank on campus, or a conveniently-located cash machine nearby, it DOESN’T mean you should choose an account with it- you can withdraw cash free of charge from any bank’s ATM and almost every bank gives online access. Branch location has little relevance for able-bodied students.
- After uni, switch to a top graduate account
Your aim straight after Uni should be to pay down your 0% overdraft (if you have one). If that’s not possible, for at least a year after finishing your course, you’re still eligible for preferential terms, including 0% interest overdrafts, allowing you to gradually pay off the debt.
For a more in-depth look at this we’d recommend visiting the Money Saving Expert site.