Santander 1|2|3 student account review

Santander's current account for students comes with a range of benefits to help you with your studies.

Finder rating: ★★★★★

123 Student Current Account

Get a free 4-year railcard with the Santander 1|2|3 Student Account

  • A free 4-year Santander 16-25 railcard worth £100, plus a total average saving of £636 (average saving of £159 per year)
  • Up to £2,000 interest and fee-free arranged overdraft
  • Earn cashback of up to 15% at a range of major retailers

Find out more about Santander’s student bank account option in our review, including how to apply for an account, what features and benefits it comes with, and what interest-free overdraft is available.

Rates, fees and limits

Santander has one current account available for students – the Santander 123 Student Current Account.

Product Name123 Student Current Account
Card typeCash / Debit
Debit networkMastercard
Minimum opening balance£0.01
Account fees£0
Interest (AER)0% AER
Funding requirementMin. £500 per term
Daily cash machine limit£300
At end of termAccount transferred automatically to graduate account
Maximum overdraft in year 1£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 2£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 3£1,500
Maximum overdraft in year 4£1,800
Maximum overdraft in year 5£2,000
Overseas card transactions2.95%
Overseas cash withdrawals2.95%
Account offerFree 16-25 Railcard for new customers. Valid for four years, with students saving up to one third on most rail fares. Eligible for Retailer Offers, customers must use online or mobile banking to qualify. Earn up to 15% cashback from selected retailers when using a Santander debit card or credit card. Eligible for welcome benefits through Retailer Offers. Earn up to 20% cashback at participating retailers. Students have 30 days to activate and redeem their offer once account opened. Free access to preferential rates, exclusive offers and discounts at 123 World.


To be eligible for a Santander 123 Student Current Account, you’ll need to be studying for an undergraduate course (for at least two years) or an apprenticeship (level 4 to 7).

You’ll also need to:

  • be aged 18 or over;
  • be permanently living in the UK;
  • close or switch from any existing Santander bank account.

How to open an account

You can apply for an account once you’ve received an unconditional or a “confirmed conditional” offer.

You can open an account online or in-branch.

When registering an account, you’ll need to provide a few personal details, financial details and proof of your course, including your UCAS number.


  • Interest-free overdraft. With this account, you’ll get an interest-free overdraft of £1,500 for the first three years of your studies. You can increase this to £1,800 in year 4 and £2,000 in year 5, if your course lasts that long.
  • A free 16-25 railcard for four years. Worth £100, plus a total average saving of £636 on rail fares (an average saving of £159 per year).
  • Cashback with Santander’s retail partners. Use the “Retailer Offers” feature with Santander’s online banking or mobile app and you can earn up to 15% cashback with a variety of UK retailers.

Pros and cons


  • 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.

Frequently asked questions

Do I have to get my student loan paid into this Santander account?

No, however the funding requirements of the account are min. £500 per term. See how that compares in our comparison of student accounts.

How much does it cost to use the Santander student debit card overseas?

When you use your card overseas, you'll pay a non-sterling charge of 2.95%. For, example, if you spend the local equivalent of £250, you'll be charged £7.38.

Because it's a Mastercard, you'll find it's accepted pretty much anywhere that takes card payments.

Compare options for keeping costs down when spending abroad.

How much does it cost to withdraw cash overseas using the Santander student debit card?

You'll pay a currency conversion fee of 2.95%. For, example, if you take out the equivalent of £150, you'll be charged £4.43. Withdraw 250 euros (that's around £223.19) at an ATM in Paris and it'll cost you £6.58. Don't forget that the local cash machine provider may charge its own fee too.

Does Santander's interest-free student overdraft limit increase over time?

Yes. While the opening interest-free overdraft limit is capped at £1,500, this increases to a maximum of £2,000 in year five (£1,500 in year three). Check out our full comparison of student accounts to see the interest-free overdrafts available to UK students with a breakdown of each account's limit in each year of your course.

Our verdict

The Santander 123 Student Account is a great all-round choice for students. It offers an interest-free overdraft, cashback with retailers and a free 16-25 railcard for signing up. Get started by visiting Santander's website and open an account. If you have read this review and decided that this account is not for you, you can also compare other student bank accounts here.

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.
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