Student Bank Account Freebies

Thu 12 Apr 2018 // #Banking

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  • Banks LOVE students. Why? Because they hope that acquiring you as a customer young will mean that they retain you in the future when they can sell you a bunch of other products like mortgages. So they like to give away freebies with the accounts.
  • Interest free student overdrafts are a unique feature of student bank accounts and the best freebie out there - free money.
  • HSBC offers the highest potential overdraft in your first year - £3,000 limit, with £500 guaranteed. However this will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
  • Natwest & RBS offer £2,000 interest free overdraft limit in your first year and throughout.
  • Nationwide offers £1,000 interest free in your first year and that increases to £3,000 by year 3. Nationwide will grant you this so long as you keep your finances under control.
  • Free young persons railcard is another excellent freebie for student bank accounts if you travel a lot by train. Natwest, Santander and RBS all offer a 4 year free railcard as part of their student bank accounts.
  • Our favourite student bank accounts are Natwest, HSBC and Nationwide. Check out our guide to student banking for a full comparison table.

Student Bank Account Freebies

(Reading time: 4.7 minutes)

A student bank account is just like any other - you’ll get a debit card and the usual banking options from telephone and online banking to touch payments, Apple Pay and whatever the latest trend might be. What’s special about student bank accounts are the freebies and perks that they often come bundled with. Banks LOVE students. Why? Because they hope that acquiring you as a customer young will mean that they retain you in the future when they can sell you a bunch of other products like mortgages. Accounts are usually free of monthly charges and you'll be able to withdraw from most ATMs for free.

You may already have a bank account when you become a student - but it could be super useful to convert to a student bank account to take full advantage of these freebies and perks.


Check Out Our Guide to Student Banking


Student Bank Account Freebies 101 - Interest Free student overdrafts

Interest free student overdrafts are a unique freebie of student bank accounts. Typically, student bank accounts offer between £1,000 and £3,000 interest free, which can be a huge help if you need some extra cash to get you through your studies. For most students, this is an incredibly useful freebie - it’s FREE MONEY! To put this into context, standard current accounts for everyone else will usually offer an interest-free overdraft of between £0 and £250. Often £0.

While student overdrafts are a valuable source of cash and flexibility, it’s important to remember that different banks have different approaches to granting customers their interest free overdrafts, so you should be careful before jumping right in and picking the account with the highest theoretical interest-free overdraft. Some banks have a guaranteed portion of the student overdraft, which is what you will automatically get when you sign up, but others will decide everything on a case-by-case basis. Here’s a guide to the banks out there:

  • HSBC Student Bank Account offers the highest potential overdraft in your first year - £3,000 limit, with £500 guaranteed. However this will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
  • Natwest Student Bank Account & RBS Student Bank Account offer £2,000 in your first year and throughout.
  • Nationwide Flex Student Account offers £1,000 in your first year and that increases to £3,000 by year 3. Nationwide will grant you this so long as you keep your finances under control.
  • Barclays Student Additions Bank Account start out with a £1,500 limit, increasing to £3,000 in year 3.
  • Santander 123 Student Bank Account, TSB Student Bank Account, Halifax Student Bank Account, Bank of Scotland Student Bank Account and Lloyds Student Bank Account all offer £1,500 limit for the duration of your studies.

Student bank account freebies: Free railcard of interest?

Although we shouldn’t make important financial decisions based upon freebies that come as a sign up incentive when you open a bank account, they can actually be quite valuable when it comes to student banking. Here’s a guide to some of the best student bank account freebies:

  • Free young persons railcard - this is an excellent freebie for students that will travel on the train alot. Natwest Student Bank Account, Santander 123 Student Bank Account and RBS Student Bank Account all offer a 4 year free railcard as part of their student bank accounts.
  • Barclays Student Additions Bank Account offers a personalised debit card, which you can customise with a personal photo. Absolutely no monetary benefit, but kind of fun nonetheless.
  • Cash-back / points are offered by a lot of student bank accounts and are dependant on spending with certain brands. This can sound attractive, but the monetary benefit may be limited in practice.
  • Credit cards - While you should try and stick to your interest-free overdraft for cash flow flexibility, some accounts offer credit cards including Natwest Student Bank Account, HSBC Student Bank Account, TSB Student Bank Account and RBS Student Bank Account.
  • Interest on savings - So while most cash-strapped students will be taking advantage of interest free student overdrafts, perhaps you actually expect your account to be in the black during your studies. In that case, you may want to look at accounts which offer the best rates on in credit balances - check out Nationwide Flex Student Account, Santander and TSB Student Bank Account. Or maybe look at our guide to cash savings instead.

Open Money Club’s favourite student bank accounts

  • NatWest's Student Bank Account is a great all-rounder. You can get up to £500 interest free overdraft in your first term and up to £2,000 by the end of your first year. You'll also get a Young Person's Coachcard, valid for 4 years, and the option of a credit card
  • HSBC's Student Bank Account has a whopping £3,000 theoretical interest free overdraft limit. You will automatically get £500 on sign up, but the rest is determined case-by-case. The account also comes with cashback rewards and the option of a credit card
  • Nationwide's Flex Student Account offers an interest free overdraft of £1,000 to start with, increasing to £3,000 in your third year. The account is completely fee-free, so you won't get any nasty surprises no matter what

Check Out Our Guide to Student Banking