Best Savings Accounts for Students

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Want to open a regular savings account for your child? Or should I say, the soon-to-be student? It can be pretty daunting when it comes to banking, and the thought of your child managing their finances on their own can be pretty terrifying too! BUT you don’t need to panic when you can open one of the best savings accounts for students.

Student savings accounts have so many great and unique benefits that adult accounts do not have which you will find out in this blog! From 0% overdrafts,  top tips, FAQs & cherry-picking the best bank account benefits, find all your student bank account answers here…

What is a Student Bank Account?

Let’s start at the top. What even is a student bank account & what makes it so unique?

Student accounts are bank accounts made for those in higher education. They let you pay money in and out, and they have easy access which makes it both an instant-access savings account and instant access account.

The student account works the same as a current account, the only difference is the bonus of the interest-free overdraft. So, whether you want to deposit some pocket money into your kid’s account or your kids have their own income from a part-time job (while at university), they can deposit and take out money whenever they wish.

Typically, you will open your student bank account once your A-level or Scottish Highers results have come through and you have a confirmed place at university.

Let's Talk About Student Overdrafts...

Being a university student can be expensive with housing, university books & resources, funding nights out and of course the dreaded food shop! Overdrafts are useful & utilised by all students when living away from home. Believe it or not, student savings accounts offer 0% interest AKA interest-free overdrafts! This means you will not be charged a penny in interest if you plunge into your overdraft. This is completely unique to student accounts so use it while you can! 

You should always go for the student savings account with the LARGEST OVERDRAFT! An arranged overdraft is a common way of borrowing money through your current account.

You need to be 18 or over to get an overdraft as UK law doesn’t allow banks to lend to anyone younger. Banks are not likely to let a student under 18 open a student bank account full stop however if you live in Scotland you will most likely start university at 17, so banks like Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, NatWest, RBS and TSB will allow you to open a student at 17, but no overdrafts.

What Do You Need to Open a Bank Account?

As with all bank accounts, you’ll need proof of address and identity. This can include your passport, birth certificate or current UK driving licence.

In addition, you’ll need your UCAS code or confirmation letter with an unconditional offer or, if your offer is conditional, A-level results that meet that condition (or a letter from the university you’ll be attending confirming your place).

Top Tips…


According to Save the Student, you should BEWARE of the freebies banks offer you. A freebie worth £20 is nothing compared to a large interest-free overdraft for three years or more… BEWARE and BE WISE when choosing your student bank account!

#2: Budget Planners

Worried about your kid’s spending? As great as student banks accounts are, giving your child a bank account with such a big overdraft is scary. The last thing you want is your child to get over-excited during their three-year term at university which results in masses of debt, regardless of it being 0% interest.

What you do want, however, is for your child to create a solid savings habit as part of their journey towards adulthood & independence. But how? Without interfering or having too much parental oversight your kids can learn how to budget with Budget Planners. 

Websites like the Money Helper have a great Budget Planner. Managing money can be confusing and easy to underestimate, especially when you are a student. You have books, clothes, food, nights out & transport to pay for – and of course the big one… HOUSING. A budget planner will help reduce stress and actually SEE how much you are spending & what on. Budget planners are great tools to use if you are learning how to manage your money for the first time.

#3: Know what you want from a student bank account!

The ‘best bank account’ is simply the one that works best for you. You should consider its benefits or whether it has any at all, as every bank offers something different.

You should consider…

  • 0% overdrafts 
  • Interest on positive balances, if you’re the kind to stay in credit
  • Low fees for overspending if you’re worried about unexpected costs or staying on a budget
  • Cash bonuses or rewards for opening or regularly paying into an account
  • A local branch or smartphone app

Freebies (but remember to beware of the freebies too – read more into them and decide whether the quick-fix freebie is worth the long term bank agreement).

Top Five Student Bank Accounts This Year…

These best savings accounts for students, were voted by students themselves, who better to trust right? The highest rating student banks are NOT just based on the amount of your overdraft, but the perks of having that bank account too.

Santander 123 Student Account

0% Overdraft? Up to £2,000

Incentive: 4 Year Railcard 

Student Score: 87.8% 

Barclays Student Account

0% Overdraft: Up to £1,500

Incentive: 12-month Perlego subscription

Student Score: 87.2%

Natwest Student Account

0% Overdraft: Up to £2000 

Incentive: £50 cash + 4 year Tastecard

Student Score: 86.6%

Nationwide Flex Student

0% Overdraft: Up to £3000

Incentive: No Incentives

Student Score: 86.8%

TSB Student Account

0% Overdraft: Up to £1,500

Incentive: 5% in-credit interest up to £500

Student Score: 86.6%


Can a student have two bank accounts?

They can. Although you can have multiple current accounts or savings accounts, usually a condition of receiving the perks of a student account is that you pay your student loan into that account. Banks regularly check to see that this is happening.

Is it worth getting a student bank account?

Yes, if you’re a student and looking to open a new bank account, they can be a good option. Student bank accounts offer perks that often are unmatched by other types of current accounts

What ID do I need to open a student bank account?

You will need either a passport, birth certificate or current UK driving licence as proof of ID. 

You will additionally need proof of being a student, so you will have to provide a UCAS code or confirmation letter with an unconditional offer or, if your offer is conditional, A-level results that meet that condition.

What are the disadvantages of a student bank account?

If you want a bank account that generates lots of interest on a sum of money then student bank accounts are NOT for you. Student bank accounts often pay less interest than regular accounts – not great if you have a sum of money and are hoping to gain interest on it.

Can I make cash withdrawals using my student bank account?

Yep! Your student bank account functions more or less the same as an instant access savings account, meaning you can use your card to get money out of your account at ATMs, and bank branches & you will have online banking too. 

What happens to my student account when I leave university?

2 words, Graduate Account! Graduate accounts are designed to support you in the transition between student and graduate. You should still receive some benefits from having this account but always check with your bank. 

Your Student Account will automatically change to a Graduate account, and you can continue to use your card, online banking and mobile app as usual.

Prior to the account switch, you should receive an email or letter detailing the changes to your account and the date of the switch.

Feeling more confident with student bank accounts now? For any more banking or family finance advice, check out all our latest finance blogs!

Whether it’s the best savings accounts for kids you’re after, or learning about premium bonds. We’ve got lots of great explanations and advice to help you.

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