Best student bank account in the UK 2022

Heading to uni in September? Get ready with a great student current account and a whole lot of freebies.

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Uni acceptance letter? Check. Student accommodation? Check. Vague feeling of dread because you're about to move out and become a responsible person (sort of)? Check. Great, it's now time to get yourself a bank account. Student accounts can come packed with freebies and rewards to lure you in, so it's worth shopping around. From railcards to tastecards to upfront cash, there's no reason for you not to make the most out of your student status.

Compare the best student bank accounts

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Name Product Account fees Interest (AER) Funding requirement 0% overdraft limit Incentive Link Representative example
OFFER
123 Student Current Account
£0
0% AER
Min. £500 per term
Up to £2,000
(Max £1,500 in year 1)
A free 4-year Santander 16-25 railcard worth £100, plus a total average saving of £636 (average saving of £159 per year).
Go to site
View details
Finder Award
OFFER
Student Bank Account
£0
0% AER
No minimum funding requirement
Up to £3,000
(Max £1,000 in year 1)
Receive £100 when opening a Student Bank Account and make a minimum of 5 transactions within 30 days of opening.
Go to site
View details
Offer available to first year students on a qualifying course who open one HSBC Student Bank on or after 16th June 2022 and make 5 debit card transactions within the 30 days from account opening. Account subject to status. Must be UK, Channel Island, or Isle of Man resident for 3 years+ currently resident in the UK. 18+ only. Further offer and account T&Cs apply.
OFFER
Student Account
£0
0% AER
No minimum funding requirement
Interest-free overdraft, up to £2000 (£500 in first term)
Receive £80 in cash, plus a free 4-year tastecard membership which gives you 2 for 1 or 50% off your food bill at thousands of UK restaurants and discounts at the cinema.
Go to site
View details
To receive £80 in cash and a free tastecard you will need to apply online, register for mobile or digital banking and choose to receive paperless statements within 30 days of opening your account. Offer ends 31/10/22, T&Cs apply. Overdraft subject to approval. To apply for an overdraft (subject to approval) you need to be 18+. You can apply if you are aged 17+ and are a UK Resident.
OFFER
Student Account
£0
0% AER
No minimum funding requirement
Interest-free overdraft, up to £2000 (£500 in first term)
Receive £80 in cash, plus a free 4-year tastecard membership which gives you 2 for 1 or 50% off your food bill at thousands of UK restaurants and discounts at the cinema.
Go to site
View details
To receive £80 in cash and a free tastecard you will need to apply online, register for mobile or digital banking and choose to receive paperless statements within 30 days of opening your account. Offer ends 31/10/22, T&Cs apply. Overdraft subject to approval. To apply for an overdraft (subject to approval) you need to be 18+. You can apply if you are aged 17+ and are a UK Resident.
Student Account
£0
0% AER
No minimum funding requirement
Up to £1,000
(Max £1,000 in year 1)
Commission free travellers cheques and currency in branch only.
View details
FlexStudent  - Funded
£0
0% AER
Min. £500 per term
Up to £3,000
(Max £1,000 in year 1)
Receive £100 when opening a FlexStudent account and depositing at least £500 by 16.12.22.
View details
Student Account
£0
0% AER
No minimum funding requirement
Up to £2,000
(Max £1,500 in year 1)
Receive a free TOTUM card for 12 months when account opened by 31.10.22.
View details
Student Additions
£0
0% AER
No minimum funding requirement
Up to £1,500
(Max £500 in year 1)
Free access to Perlego for 12 months, a digital library of university textbooks, for accounts opened between 8.7.22 and 30.11.22 and redeemed before the 31.12.22.
View details
Student Account
£0
0% AER
No minimum funding requirement
Up to £2,000
(Max £1,400 in year 1)
View details
Student+ Account
£0
0% AER
No minimum funding requirement
Up to £1,850
(Max £1,850 in year 1)
No commission charges on foreign currency notes transactions.
View details
Student
£0
0% AER
No minimum funding requirement
Up to £2,000
(Max £1,500 in year 1)
Receive a free TOTUM card for 12 months when account opened by 31.10.22.
View details
Student
£0
0.1% AER
No minimum funding requirement
Up to £1,500
(Max £1,500 in year 1)
Cashback Extras - Earn up to 15% cashback from selected retailers when shopping with a Halifax credit or debit card.
View details
Student Current Account
£0
0.5% AER
No minimum funding requirement
Up to £3,000
(Max £3,000 in year 1)
Commission free travellers cheques and currency.
View details
Student
£0
5% AER
No minimum funding requirement
Up to £1,500
(Max £1,500 in year 1)
View details
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Compare up to 4 providers

Top student account deals

Michelle Stevens
Finder’s deputy editor for banking Michelle Stevens shares her thoughts
With the new university year about to begin, it’s a competitive market out there for student accounts right now, with most banks offering incentives to encourage students to sign up. Whether you’re after a cash bonus, a discount card or long-term account benefits, here are our recommended options.
  • Santander is the only bank this year to offer a free 4-year 16-25 railcard with its student account, which gives you a third off rail fares. Account holders can also earn 15% cashback from selected retailers through Santander’s “Retailer Offers” programme.
  • HSBC is the bank offering the joint largest cash bonus for opening a student account in 2022, at £100. You’ll need to make 5 debit card transactions within 30 days of opening the account to qualify for the cash incentive. This student account also comes with the joint biggest third-year overdraft, at £3,000.
  • Nationwide is the other provider offering the joint largest cash bonus of £100 (you’ll need to deposit at least £500 into your newly opened account by 16 December 2022 to get it), as well as the joint biggest third-year overdraft, at £3,000. For keen travellers out there, this is also the only student account to offer fee-free spending and cash withdrawals abroad.

Best student bank account for railcards

Santander - 123 Student Current Account

£2,000

Max. interest-free overdraft

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

A free 4-year Santander 16-25 railcard worth £100, plus a total average saving of £636 (average saving of £159 per year).
Santander’s student account remains an excellent value for students, especially those who need to catch trains a lot, such as those moving to the other side of the country. You get a four-year railcard with Santander, which gets you ⅓ off rail fares, a lifesaver when you need to go home for Christmas on a budget and need to buy a train ticket. It also offers an interest-free overdraft up to £1,500 for the first three years of your degree, which then increases if you stay on for longer. Plus, you can get cashback of up to 15% at some major retailers.
  • Interest-free overdraft;
  • Earn cashback with retailers;
  • Free 16-25 railcard when you sign up.
  • Not available to international or postgraduate students;
  • Account has a minimum funding requirement;
  • There are other student accounts with larger overdrafts.
Interest rate0% AER
Minimum opening balance£0.01
Minimum operating balance£0.01
Switch service guaranteeYes
Account fee£0
Maximum overdraft in year 1£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 2£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 3£1,500
At end of termAccount transferred automatically to graduate account
Overseas card transactions2.95%
Overseas cash withdrawals2.95%

Best student bank account for overdraft size

HSBC - Student Bank Account

£3,000

Max. interest-free overdraft

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Receive £100 when opening a Student Bank Account and make a minimum of 5 transactions within 30 days of opening.
The HSBC Student Bank Account is arguably one of the most competitive, and offers an interest-free arranged overdraft of up to £3,000. This is tiered, so you’ll be given up to £1,000 in your first year, rising to £3,000 by your third year. On top of this, you’ll get a £100 cash reward (provided you make five debit card transactions within 30 days of opening your account). You can manage your account online or via the app. To qualify you need to be aged 18 years or over and have a confirmed place on a qualifying course at a UK university or college.
  • An interest-free overdraft, with a limit increasing up to £3,000 in your final year;
  • Incentives for opening and using the account.
  • This account is not available to international students;
  • This account is not available to apprentices.
Interest rate0% AER
Minimum opening balance£0.01
Minimum operating balance£0.01
Switch service guaranteeYes
Account fee£0
Maximum overdraft in year 1£1,000
Maximum overdraft in year 2£2,000
Maximum overdraft in year 3£3,000
At end of termAccount transferred automatically to graduate account
Overseas card transactions2.75%
Overseas cash withdrawals2.75%

Best student bank account for overseas spending

Nationwide BS - FlexStudent - Funded

£3,000

Max. interest-free overdraft

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Receive £100 when opening a FlexStudent account and depositing at least £500 by 16.12.22.
The Nationwide FlexStudent account offers the joint largest interest-free overdraft. You’ll get up to £1,000 in each year of study, giving you a maximum of £3,000 in your third year. What’s more, the account is a good option if you’re a keen traveller as it’s the only student account not to charge fees for using your debit card abroad. You can choose to bank online, via the app, over the phone or in branch. To apply you need to be 18 years or older, be a UK resident for 3 years or more, and have been accepted onto a full-time UCAS course of at least 2 years in the UK.
  • Large 0% interest overdraft throughout your studies and for three years after you graduate;
  • Cash bonus for opening the account;
  • No overseas card fees.
  • Minimum funding requirement each term;
  • This account is only available if you’re studying for two years or more.
Interest rate0% AER
Minimum opening balance£0
Minimum operating balance£0
Switch service guaranteeYes
Account fee£0
Maximum overdraft in year 1£1,000
Maximum overdraft in year 2£2,000
Maximum overdraft in year 3£3,000
At end of termAccount transferred automatically to graduate account
Overseas card transactions0%
Overseas cash withdrawals0%

Other student bank account reviews

Bank of Scotland - Student Account

£2,000

Max. interest-free overdraft

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Receive a free TOTUM card for 12 months when account opened by 31.10.22.
Bank of Scotland offers an interest-free overdraft of £1,500 for the first three years of your degree and £2,000 thereafter. Plus, you'll get access to its "Everyday Offers" programme, which can earn you up to 15% cashback at selected retailers.
  • Free 3-year TOTUM discount card when you open a student account;
  • Earn up to 15% cashback with Bank of Scotland’s retail partners.
  • This account isn’t available to international students;
  • There are other student accounts offering larger overdrafts.
Interest rate0% AER
Minimum opening balance£1
Minimum operating balance£1
Switch service guaranteeYes
Account fee£0
Maximum overdraft in year 1£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 2£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 3£1,500
At end of termAccount transferred automatically to graduate account
Overseas card transactions2.99%
Overseas cash withdrawals2.99%

Barclays - Student Additions

£1,500

Max. interest-free overdraft

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Free access to Perlego for 12 months, a digital library of university textbooks, for accounts opened between 8.7.22 and 30.11.22 and redeemed before the 31.12.22.
For those looking for more of an academic benefit, the Barclays student account gets you a subscription to Perlego - the “Spotify of textbooks” - which gives you access to more than 400,000 titles. You can also apply for an interest-free overdraft, starting at £500 in your first term and increasing up to a maximum of £1,500 in your second year and beyond.
  • Free 12-month Perlego subscription for signing up;
  • Plenty of budgeting features in the banking app;
  • International students can apply for this account.
  • There are many other students accounts with bigger overdrafts.
Interest rate0% AER
Minimum opening balance£1
Minimum operating balance£1
Switch service guaranteeYes
Account fee£0
Maximum overdraft in year 1£500
Maximum overdraft in year 2£1,000
Maximum overdraft in year 3£1,500
At end of termAccount transferred automatically to Higher Education Account for graduates
Overseas card transactions2.99%
Overseas cash withdrawals2.99%

Halifax - Student

£1,500

Max. interest-free overdraft

£0

Account fees

0.1% AER

Interest (AER)

Cashback Extras - Earn up to 15% cashback from selected retailers when shopping with a Halifax credit or debit card.
Halifax offers an interest-free arranged overdraft of up to £1,500 for the length of your course plus one year. The real beauty of this account is the cashback. Through the Cashback Extras programme, you can get up to 15% cashback when you spend at selected retailers using your Halifax debit card.
  • You’ll get access to cashback with some retailers;
  • You can earn interest on in-credit balances.
  • No freebies offered with this account;
  • There are other student accounts with larger overdrafts.
Interest rate0.1% AER
Minimum opening balance£1
Minimum operating balance£1
Switch service guaranteeYes
Account fee£0
Maximum overdraft in year 1£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 2£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 3£1,500
At end of termAccount transferred automatically to Current Account
Overseas card transactions2.99%
Overseas cash withdrawals2.99%

Lloyds Bank - Student

£2,000

Max. interest-free overdraft

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Receive a free TOTUM card for 12 months when account opened by 31.10.22.
Lloyds offers up to 15% cashback with Everyday Offers when you use your debit card at certain retailers. You can also get an arranged overdraft of up to £1,500 for the first three years of your degree, rising to £2,000 if you have a fourth or fifth year of study.
  • Interest-free overdraft;
  • Free 3-year TOTUM discount card;
  • Cashback with Lloyds’ retail partners.
  • This account isn’t available to international students;
  • There are larger overdrafts with some other student accounts.
Interest rate0% AER
Minimum opening balance£1
Minimum operating balance£1
Switch service guaranteeYes
Account fee£0
Maximum overdraft in year 1£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 2£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 3£1,500
At end of termAccount transferred automatically to graduate account
Overseas card transactions2.99%
Overseas cash withdrawals2.99%

TSB - Student

£1,500

Max. interest-free overdraft

£0

Account fees

5% AER

Interest (AER)

TSB’s student account pays interest on balances up to £500, and also offers an optional interest-free overdraft of up to £1,500. The overdraft is tiered, starting at £500 for the first 6 months, rising to £1,000 in months 7 to 9, and increasing to £1,500 from month 10 onwards. Applying for the TSB Student Bank Account also gives you the option to apply for its student credit card, and the student account is covered by the TSB Fraud Refund Guarantee. You can manage the account online with the TSB mobile app or internet banking, plus Apple Pay and Google Pay are available.
  • Interest-free overdraft;
  • Interest paid on in-credit balances of up to £500;
  • Option to apply for a student credit card.
  • No freebies offered with this account;
  • Not available to international students;
  • Other student accounts have larger interest-free overdrafts.
Interest rate5% AER
Minimum opening balance£1
Minimum operating balance£1
Switch service guaranteeYes
Account fee£0
Maximum overdraft in year 1£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 2£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 3£1,500
At end of termAccount transferred automatically to graduate account
Overseas card transactions2.99%
Overseas cash withdrawals2.99%

NatWest - Student Account

£2,000

Max. interest-free overdraft

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Receive £80 in cash, plus a free 4-year tastecard membership which gives you 2 for 1 or 50% off your food bill at thousands of UK restaurants and discounts at the cinema.
Sign up to the NatWest student account and you’ll get £80 in cash, as well as a free 4-year tastecard, giving you 2 for 1 or 50% off your food bill at thousands of UK restaurants, plus discounts at the cinema. You’ll also benefit from an interest-free overdraft of up to £2,000 and you can withdraw up to £130 without your card every 24 hours at NatWest ATMs - useful if you’ve forgotten to take your card out with you. The account can be managed online with the NatWest mobile app or online banking service.
  • Interest-free overdraft;
  • Account opening incentives;
  • Emergency cash withdrawals if you don’t have your card.
  • This account is not available to international students;
  • There are larger third-year overdrafts on offer with some other student accounts.
Interest rate0% AER
Minimum opening balance£0.01
Minimum operating balance£0.01
Switch service guaranteeYes
Account fee£0
Maximum overdraft in year 1£2,000
Maximum overdraft in year 2£2,000
Maximum overdraft in year 3£2,000
At end of termAccount transferred automatically to graduate account
Overseas card transactions2.75%
Overseas cash withdrawals2.75%

Royal Bank of Scotland - Student Account

£2,000

Max. interest-free overdraft

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Receive £80 in cash, plus a free 4-year tastecard membership which gives you 2 for 1 or 50% off your food bill at thousands of UK restaurants and discounts at the cinema.
The RBS student account offers a switch incentive of £80, plus a 4-year free tastecard, giving account holders 2 for 1 or 50% off their food bill at thousands of UK restaurants, plus discounts at the cinema. The account also offers an interest-free overdraft of up to £2,000, and if you’ve forgotten to take your bank card out with you, you can withdraw up to £130 every 24 hours without your card at RBS ATMs. You’ll also be able to temporarily lock your bank card via the app if you misplace it and unlock it again once found.
  • Interest-free overdraft;
  • Sign-up incentives;
  • Emergency cash withdrawals if you don’t have your card.
  • Some other student accounts offer a larger interest-free overdraft in the third year;
  • This account is not available to international students.
Interest rate0% AER
Minimum opening balance£0.01
Minimum operating balance£0.01
Switch service guaranteeYes
Account fee£0
Maximum overdraft in year 1£2,000
Maximum overdraft in year 2£2,000
Maximum overdraft in year 3£2,000
At end of termAccount transferred automatically to graduate account
Overseas card transactions2.75%
Overseas cash withdrawals2.75%

How to find the best student bank account

Times can be tough financially when you’re a full-time student. In many cases you won’t have time to work a full-time job, but you still need to fund your living expenses.

Thankfully, most of the major banks have created student bank accounts to help ease your financial worries during your studies.

These accounts usually come with a large interest-free overdraft that you can borrow from when the purse strings become particularly tight. This is arguably the most useful aspect of a student bank account, especially if your student loan isn’t enough to cover your cost of living during your studies.

It’s important to remember that interest will be charged on all student account overdrafts eventually, so it’s best to use it sparingly and repay it as quickly as possible.

Many banks also add freebies or discounts with retailers in order to tempt students to their accounts. If you’re a student with a bit of money to spend, these accounts might prove more eye-catching than those with huge overdrafts.

Ultimately, the best student account will depend on your personal financial situation.

How are student bank accounts different from regular current accounts?

Student bank accounts are, by all means, full current accounts and not very different from non-student accounts: they do all you can expect, from providing you with a debit card to letting you set up standing orders and direct debits.

However, they’re tailored to your student life, offering great benefits and freebies. Unlike standard accounts, most student accounts also offer a 0% overdraft.

Banks are generous with these accounts because in most cases your student account will be your very first bank account, so they use it as a way to attract new customers that they hope to keep for life.

What is required to apply?

To apply for a student bank account, you’ll need to provide the same personal details as when applying for a regular bank account. Your proof of ID, basic financial details, address history and a credit check, etc.

You’ll also need to provide details of the course you’re studying to prove you’re a student. You’ll usually have to provide your UCAS number, as well as the name and length of your course, plus your university name.

Student bank account overdrafts

One of the core features of student bank accounts is the 0% overdraft. It means that you can spend more than you have in your account without being charged any interest, which is great because a student’s income is not always as constant as, say, an employee’s salary.

You’ll be credit-checked when you apply for it, but don’t worry too much – as a student, banks won’t expect you to have a massive credit history anyway.

The limit of your student account overdraft will usually increase for each year of university; by the third year, it can be pretty high, sometimes up to £3,000. You’ll need to request the increase though.

As we said, overdrafts are great and mean you can get extra money for your living expenses or to spend on a special occasion, but don’t forget that you’re still borrowing money and will have to pay it back at some point.

For students requiring further credit or looking to start building a positive credit history, most banks can also offer student bank account holders a student credit card (subject to approval).

Student bank account freebies

Even if you’re not planning on touching your overdraft (wise resolution!), student accounts can offer a variety of other benefits to choose from. Here are some examples:

  • Interest on your balance. Up to a certain balance limit. Great if you think you’ll be able to stay in credit most of the time.
  • Transport discounts. Some accounts come with a free 16-25 railcard, which would normally cost you £30 a year and features a 1/3 discount on all rail fares in the UK.
  • Cash upfront. A sort of sign-up bonus to lure you in. Cash isn’t an especially fancy reward, but it could be better value if you don’t think you’ll take that much advantage of the other benefits on offer.
  • Discounts and cashback. Some accounts offer dedicated discounts at certain retailers or restaurants, or cashback options.

4 money-saving tips for students

  • Budget well and you might not need an overdraft! Going to uni is all about learning new things and gaining life experience. Why not get a head start and get into some good money habits from your first term? There are a range of budgeting apps to help you with this.
  • If you need to go for an overdraft, makes sure it’s 0% interest. Like we’ve said above, it’s best practice to avoid the overdraft. But… a few big nights out in a row and it’s easy to find yourself there. If this sounds like you (let’s be honest, it might), you want to make sure you’re paying 0% on your overdraft. The interest-free overdrafts that come with student accounts mean this is one of the few times in your life you’ll be able to take advantage of interest-free borrowing.
  • Don’t go over the overdraft limit. You might have a nice big 0% overdraft, but don’t exceed the limit on that. Banks will start charging you for every day you’re over the limit, so watch out!
  • Switch to a graduate account when you’ve graduated. You should aim to pay off your student overdraft ASAP. When you’ve finished uni, switch to a graduate account with good rates and terms that will allow you to pay off the debt.

Student bank account jargon explained

Funding requirement. Some accounts require the account holder to pay in at least a specified minimum amount each month, academic term or year.
AER. Annual equivalent rate. This is a way of showing the interest you’d earn in a year on money you deposited into an account, and helps you to compare accounts.
EAR. Effective annual rate. This is the interest rate that applies when you borrow money – when you use your arranged overdraft, for example. It shows the interest you would be charged over a year if your account were to remain overdrawn.
Arranged overdraft. If your account goes into the red, the bank will charge you a set EAR (which may be 0% in the case of a student account overdraft). Before you go overdrawn, you need to arrange this facility with your bank.

How to find the best student bank account if you are an international student

International students are afforded less perks with their student bank accounts. It will be difficult for them to be approved for an overdraft too. A lot of international student accounts come with a monthly fee as well.

Some banks don’t offer specialised student bank accounts for international students. Those that do have a separate page on their websites illustrating the perks available and the monthly fee attached.

As there are so few perks available, international students would be well advised to choose the account with the lowest monthly fee.

However, some students may be more drawn to the accounts that offer lower international transfer fees, or those that don’t require you to visit a branch to open an account. Visit our guide on opening a bank account as an international student for more information.

Pros and cons of student bank accounts

Pros

  • Large 0% overdrafts available.
  • Lots of perks on offer for signing up.
  • Often available to students on a variety of course formats (not just a three-year undergraduate degree).

Cons

  • International students have a smaller choice of accounts that also come with less perks.

The bottom line

Choosing a student bank account can be a difficult decision as there are a lot of different accounts to choose from, that all come with different sized overdrafts and perks. Hopefully this guide has made it easier to find the best account for your specific needs, and you can use our table at the top of the page to compare student bank accounts side by side.

Frequently asked questions

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