Student bank accounts
The interest-free overdrafts offered by student bank accounts can help bridge the gap between student funding payments, but you should be careful not to rely on them too much.
Student bank accounts are not mandatory, but they do offer advantages.
International students: Opening a bank account in the UK is different for you.
View our guidance on opening a bank account as an international student.
Advantages of a student account
The main advantage of student bank accounts is that they may offer interest-free overdrafts. This means that you can borrow money (to a pre-agreed limit) without paying interest on it. Generally, this is only if you have your student finance paid into that account. This means that you can only have one student bank account.
Although the best idea is not to borrow anything, an interest-free overdraft should definitely be used before resorting to credit cards or any other loans (like payday loans which should be avoided at all costs).
Banks often offer incentives to open a student bank account with them, such as shopping vouchers or discount cards. However, make sure you open the best account for you and not just the one with the best incentive. More information on the different accounts available can be found on savethestudent website.
Different banks offer different terms and conditions, so make sure to read the fine print and choose an account based on your needs, whether it’s the largest overdraft or a railcard to make traveling home cheaper.
Student bank accounts can provide a useful safety net when walking the financial tightrope of student living, as long as you use them responsibly. Remember that an overdraft is a limit, not a target. It should be viewed as a source of money to help you manage your cash flow between funding payments, so careful budgeting is still essential.
What to watch out for
Exceeding your arranged overdraft limit can result in charges and affect your credit score. To use your student account responsibly, make sure you know your overdraft limit and check your bank account regularly to avoid going over and incurring charges.
Remember that the money you borrow has to be paid back eventually. To escape any interest charges, make sure you know the terms and conditions of your account, including what happens once you’ve left university.
When you go into a branch to set up an account, a member of staff should be able to tell you all of the details. Some banks will convert your student account to a graduate account at the end of your degree. Often, these also have an interest-free overdraft for a set period, to give you enough time to pay back money that you borrowed using the overdraft facility.
If you have any questions about student bank accounts, or how to handle your finances whilst at university, you can contact the Advice and Money Team.
Advice and Money (Cathays)
- Telephone:+44 (0)29 2251 8888
Advice and Money (Heath Park)
- Telephone:+44 (0)29 2251 8888 Option 5
Advice and Money (Cardiff Business School)
- Telephone:+44 (0)29 2087 0962