Here are the Student Funding Team's top tips for banking as a student...
1. Choose a bank that works for you
Getting the right bank account as a student can help you manage your money throughout your course. Lots of banks will offer incentives such as cashback to get you to sign up to their accounts, but try not to be drawn in by these attractive offers. Think about what will help in the long run, for example, some banks offer a three-year Railcard, which might seem boring, but it will save you money on your travel home!
A good starting point for researching bank accounts is Save the Student’s Guide to the best student bank accounts 2023. International students aren’t usually eligible for the same student accounts as UK students, but Save the Student has also created a guide for the Top UK bank accounts for international students 2023.
2. Compare the overdraft facilities
It is also a good idea to compare overdraft facilities, as having an overdraft is a great safety net. Student overdrafts will usually be interest-free, which means you do not have to pay a fee to use it. This can be useful if you are near the end of the term and running low on funds. Banks will usually let you repay your overdraft over a few years after you graduate, but make sure you check the terms and conditions.
3. Consider opening more than one account
You may like to consider opening two bank accounts to help you budget as a student. You can then use your main account to have your income deposited, for example, your student loan or scholarship. Then, set up a regular transfer to your second account with your weekly allowance. This makes it easier to keep track of your money as you can work out how much you can afford your weekly budget to be, and you won’t be tempted to spend all your money in one go!
App-based bank accounts are a good option for this second account as they are easy to set up and you can manage it all from your phone. They also usually include some budgeting features, such as savings pots and balance alerts. Check out this guide to the best app-based and online accounts for more information.
4. Switch over to a graduate account after your final year
If you are in your final year, you might be wondering what will happen to your student account once you complete your course. When you graduate, you can apply to switch over to a graduate account. Your bank will be able to advise on how to apply for this and they can outline how the account will work (e.g., how long you will have to repay your overdraft). You can find out more at Money Saving Expert's Graduate Accounts.
5. Access extra support
If you need any support with your money during the year, you can contact Student Funding Support by email or telephone (024 7615 0096), Monday to Thursday, 8.30 – 17.00 or Friday 8.30 – 16.00. Alternatively, you can drop in and see us by going to the Wellbeing Reception in Senate House between 10.00 and 15:00, Monday to Friday.