Student banking statistics

What kind of relationships do students have with their banks?

When preparing to study, it can seem like you have an endless list of things to do before you begin your course. Amongst deciding on the best accommodation, picking up the books for your course and researching the best freshers events, spending a bit of time learning how your finances will work while you study could prove to be invaluable to your future.

The UK’s favourite student banks

Becoming a student means handling money independently for the first time for a lot of people. And even if you enter your degree feeling comfortable, living independently, often without the time to earn outside of your course, can see you quickly seeking financial support. For this reason, it’s worth thinking about which bank can offer you the most suitable student account.

Popular features offered by student banks

  • 0% interest overdrafts
  • Cash incentives
  • Freebies like a complementary student railcard
With over a quarter (28%) of students choosing Santander, this is the most popular choice for student banking. With half the number of student accounts, HSBC is the second most popular option (15%). The third most popular student bank, with 11% of students, is Barclays.
Bank Percentage of students with accounts
Santander 28%
HSBC 15%
NatWest 9%
Barclays 11%
Lloyds 9%
Nationwide 9%
Halifax 6%
Other 9%
RBS 2%
TSB 2%

Reasons why students choose their banks

Whether it’s because students are unwilling to put in the effort to switch or they want to stick to something familiar in a period of rapid change, students are most likely to stick with the bank they’re currently with for their student account. Almost half (44%) of students will pick an account with their current bank, a third of students are attracted to bank accounts with 0% overdrafts and freebies, and another third also considered banks that their friends or family were with.

Reason Percentage of repondants
Current bank 44%
0% overdraft 33%
Freebies 32%
Friend or family's bank 29%
Online and app-based 23%
Branch location 19%
Good customer service 13%
Recommendation 7%
In-credit interest 5%
Other 5%

How satisfied are students with their banks?

Students rated how satisfied they were with their banks out of five and the results are presented below. The most popular student banks of 2018 (ie, the ones that are most used by students) are furthest to the left of the graph.

Bank popularity amongst students Bank Satisfaction rating
1 Santander 4.5
2 HSBC 3.96
3 Natwest 4.24
4 Barclays 4.11
5 Lloyds 4.18
6 Nationwide 4.34
7 Halifax 4.19
8 RBS 3.94
9 TSB 3.67
10 Co-op 4.08
Santander, as well as being the most popular bank, has the highest satisfaction rating from its users. HSBC is the second most popular bank among students but has 3.96 satisfaction score – the second-lowest score of the 10 banks. The Co-op has a surprisingly high satisfaction rating considering its status as least popular of these student banks.

How far are students into their overdrafts?

There is no trend between the amount overdrawn by and the year of study. With an average of 11% of students saying that they were overdrawn by £1,000-£1,999, this was the most common amount to be overdrawn by.

Amount overdrawn by 1st year 2nd year 3rd year 4th year+ Post grad
Less than £100 6% 4% 6% 8% 5%
£100-£499 8% 8% 10% 3% 12%
£500-£999 2% 5% 7% 5% 3%
£1,000-£1,999 6% 11% 13% 15% 11%
£2,000+ 1% 1% 1% 1% 2%

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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