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Best UK Student Bank Accounts, and More Top Money Tips

Best UK Student Bank Accounts, And More Top Money Tips main image

If you’re starting university in the UK this year, chances are you may be too swept up in the excitement of it all to worry about money. No worries, we are here to help with all things finance.

Read on for some top tips on managing your money as a student.

Get a student bank account

Student bank accounts are like regular bank accounts but usually offer extras, such as interest-free overdrafts or freebies.

To get a student bank account, UK citizens will be required to show some form of photo ID (such as a driving license or a passport), proof of address (such as a bank statement or a utility bill), and proof of student status (a letter of acceptance or UCAS offer letter).

You’re best to go for the bank account with the largest overdraft as you never know when you might need it. Here are some of the top UK student bank accounts available this year.

Top UK Student Bank Accounts

Name

Overdraft amount

Who is it available to?

Other perks

Guaranteed £1,000 0% overdraft in year 1, £2,000 in year 2, £3,000 in year 3

First year university students or apprentices

Fee-free arranged overdraft (only UK bank to do this)

Guaranteed £1,500 0% overdraft in years 1-3

University students in any year or apprentices

Free 4-Year Railcard

Guaranteed £1,000 0% overdraft in first year, with a higher limit possible in other years

First year university students or apprentices

Free £100

£500 0% overdraft in first term, increasing to up to £3000 in third year

University students in any year

Cashback in participating online and high-street stores when using us2

Up to £2,000 0% overdraft after first term (£500 in first term)

Full-time university students in any year

Free Tastecard or Amazon Prime Student or National Express Coachcard

Up to £2,000 0% overdraft after first term (£500 in first term)

Full-time university students in any year

Free Tastecard or Amazon Prime Student or National Express Coachcard

Guaranteed £1,500 overdraft while you’re a student plus one extra year after graduation

Available for students on a degree course or equivalent

Cashback when you spend once registered for online banking

Be aware of your credit score

Having a good credit score is vital, even as a student. In the future, when you decide to apply for a loan, mortgage, bank account or mobile phone contract, this is one of the first thing banks will check before considering you.

Your credit score is based on a range of factors, including:

  • How often you’ve applied for credit over the past year
  • How reliable you’ve been on making payments in the past
  • What credit is available to you already
  • Other less obvious factors – for example, whether or not you’re registered to vote

So, what can you do to improve it? Believe it or not, having some debt you regularly pay off can drastically improve your credit score. Try to use a credit card often, but stay well below your limit, register to vote and pay your bills on time!

You’ll be pleased to know you can check your credit score for free on websites such as Experian, ClearScore and Credit Karma. Each of them has more information regarding credit ratings if you’re keen to find out more.

Take advantage of the discounts available as a student

As a student there are many opportunities to save some money on everyday costs, such as food, clothes, rail travel and mobile phone contracts. Here are several things you should definitely sign up for.

16-25 Railcard – These cards are a godsend. They cost just £30 a year (although it’s free with several student bank accounts) and mean you save one-third of all off-peak rail travel – perfect for visits home in between terms at uni. You’ll make back the money spent on it in no time.

Totum cards (previously called NUS cards) – Totum cards are the top student discount card in the UK, allowing you to save money at hundreds of top retailers. Example discounts include 10 percent off at ASOS, and 25 percent off Odeon cinema tickets.

Unidays – Similar to Totum cards, Unidays offers loads of top discounts on student brands, from fashion to technology and beauty products.

Calculate a budget and try sticking to it

Nobody has ever arrived at university and been able to perfectly stick to a budget, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try!

Take into account the money you’ll receive from your student loan, maintenance grant, any part-time work or family income and then subtract the amount you’ll have to spend on accommodation, bills etc.

Once you know roughly how much money you’ll have to live off, try to calculate how much you should be spending per week on food, drinks, nights out and so on. It will take a few weeks to figure out what’s a realistic target, so keep receipts and track your spending.

Hopefully, by the end of your first term, your budgeting skills will have gradually improved, and you won’t be dipping into your overdraft too much.

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Written by Chloe Lane
A Content Writer for TopUniversities.com, Chloe has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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Informative post for international students.