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The Best Student Bank Accounts for 2021

Planning on studying full time for a postgraduate course or a degree in the UK?

When you are a full-time student, times can be tough financially. First off, you have to cater to your university or college expenses. Second, you also need to fund your living expenses. As a full-time student, you won’t have the time to work a full-time job.

Thankfully, major banks in the UK are offering student accounts to help ease your financial worries. With a student bank account, the financial side of your university or college life becomes less stressful. How you may ask.

First, you have access to an interest-free overdraft which comes in handy when your purse strings are tight. Second, student bank accounts have other perks, such as exclusive discounts and free gifts. Most of the freebies and rewards offered by banks are to lure you in, but they can make your student hassle-free.

To find the best student bank account you need to shop around, in this guide, we explore the best student bank accounts for 2021 in the UK.

Nationwide FlexStudent…

Open a Nationwide FlexStudent and enjoy lots of freebies and rewards. Nationwide FlexStudent is offering a £1000 flexible interest-free and fee-free overdraft on sign up. In your second year, Nationwide will increase the overdraft limit to £2000 and later £3000 in your third year.

Besides flexible free overdrafts, you can make payments via mobile and contactless cards. Nationwide debit and credit cards are compatible with popular mobile payments apps such as Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Through mobile and online banking, you can quickly pay bills, check balances and more, all on your smartphone or tablet.

To apply for the Nationwide FlexStudent account, you must be 18 years or over and must not have a student account with another bank. Also, you must have been accepted onto a full-time UCAS course in a UK institution.

To apply for the FlexStudent account:

  • Visit the Nationwide website
  • Click the “How to Apply” tab
  • Complete the registration process

As a Nationwide FlexStudent account holder, you can switch over any standing orders, bill payments and Direct Debits.

Barclays Student Additions…

With a Barclays Student Additions account, you can be the master of your budget and stay on top of your money. If you’re a UK student, you’ll have access to arranged overdrafts up to £500 when you open a Barclays Student Additions account. This amount will be accessible during your first term.

After Year One, the arranged overdraft will increase to £1000, in Year 2, the amount will rise to £2000 and finally £3000 for Year 3 and beyond. All arranged overdrafts are usually repayable on demand, and interest charges vary.

As a Barclays Student Additions, you can design your own contactless debit card for free. You can add your own photo or favourite image. To keep on top of your money, download the Barclays app. You can check your balance, set limits on payments, make cash withdrawals and more on the go.

Using the Pingit app, you can send, request and spend money with your UK mobile number for free. You can also use your mobile to make payments via Apple Pay. When you shop, you earn cashback both online and in-store.

You can earn cashback when you shop for fashion, books, travel, beauty products and more. To enjoy these benefits and more, apply for the Barclays Student Additions account. Visit the Barclays website, click “Apply for an Account” and become a master of your financial situation.

Barclays is offering a 12-month subscription to Perlego if you open a student account before March 31st 2021.

Royal Bank of Scotland Student Account…

Make your financial life easier as you study with the Royal Bank of Scotland Student account. The student account comes with several perks:

  • £500 interest-free overdraft in the first term
  • Up to £2000 interest-free overdraft Year One and over
  • Great offers such as National Express Coachcard or Amazon Prime Student membership
  • Withdrawal limit up to £130 without your card
  • No monthly fee

To become a Royal Bank of Scotland Student account holder, you need to be 17 or over and live in the UK. You must also be a full-time undergraduate student or at least on a 2-year course at a UK college or university.

If you meet these requirements, apply for the Royal Bank of Scotland Student account within 6 months of your course start date. To apply for the student account, visit the Royal Bank of Scotland website, click “Apply Now,” and fill in your details. It’s that simple.

Santander 123 Student Account…

If you plan on travelling a lot by rail in Great Britain, the Santander 123 Student Account is for you. As an account holder, you’ll receive a free four year Santander 16-25 Railcard. This will save you 1/3 off rail travel.

Santander also offers an interest-free arranged overdraft of £1500 for Years 1 to 3. In Year 4, the amount increases to £1800, and in Year 5, the amount will also increase to £2000. As of April 12th 2021, there will be no interest paid on balances, but before that, the bank will pay a monthly interest of 1% AER/gross on balances up to £2000.

When you shop with your Santander card, you can earn up to 15% cashback. To be eligible for the Santander 123 Student Account, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be 18 or over
  • Must live in the UK permanently
  • Must be studying or beginning an undergraduate course
  • Must not be a Santander account holder

Click here to apply for the Santander 123 Student Account online or visit one of Santander’s branches. If visiting a local branch near you, make an appointment.

TSB Student Account…

Open a TSB Student Account and receive 5% AER/4.89% gross variable interest on balances up to £500. The interest is usually paid by the 10th working day of each month. The bank also offers an optional interest-free overdraft up to £1500 to help you budget your student life.

Your overdraft will start at £500 for the first six months and rise to £1000 for the next seven to nine months. After, you can apply to increase up to £1500 from month 10 and onwards. You can apply for the TSB Student Credit card to cover the costs of books and other expenses.

Google Pay and Apple Pay are also available for this account, plus mobile and internet banking. To apply for the student account, visit the TSB website, click “Apply Online Today” and complete the registration process.

Once you register for an account, you can download the TSB Android and iOS apps to manage your account on the go. You can pay bills, check balances and more. Remember, the TSB Fraud and Refund Guarantee always cover your student account.

NatWest Student Account…

Get an interest free overdraft of £2,000 when you open a NatWest Student Account. In your first term, NatWest will give you an interest-free overdraft of £500. As the years go by, the amount will increase up to £2,000.

When you apply for the student account, you can select one of the following offers:

  • Amazon Prime Student – 1-year membership including One Day delivery and streaming services
  • Tastecard – 50% of your food bill and discounts at cinemas
  • National Express Coachcard – 1/3 off rail fares and 15% off travel to festivals and events

To receive the offers above:

  • Apply for the NatWest Student Account
  • Register for online banking
  • Select to receive paperless statements

So, who can apply for the NatWest Student Account? You must be 17 and over and a full-time undergraduate student. To apply for overdrafts, you need to be 18 or over and have lived in the UK for 3+ years.

To enjoy the benefits above, signup for the NatWest Student Account. It takes less than 5 minutes.

Lloyds Bank Student Account…

With the Lloyds Bank Student Account, you can apply for a debit or credit card and earn cashback. You can earn cashback up to 15% with Everyday Offers if you use your Lloyds Bank Visa debit card at selected retailers such as Costa and Hilton.

As an account holder, you can apply for an interest-free arranged overdraft of £1,500 from Year 1 to 3. From Year 4 to 6, the overdraft will rise to £2,000. To apply for the overdraft, you must be 18 years and a UK permanent resident.

Other benefits of opening the Lloyds Bank Student Account are convenient payments and no monthly fee. Using your contactless debit card, you can make convenient payments using Google Pay or Apple Pay. That is not all. Lloyds Bank will round up your card payments and transfer the difference to an eligible savings account.

To apply for the Lloyds Bank Student Account, you must be 17 or over, studying a full-time course leading to a degree and be a resident in the UK for 3+ years.

Apply for the Lloyds Bank Student Account online today!

Halifax Student Current Account…

One of the best decisions you’ll ever make as a full-time student is applying for a Halifax Student Current Account. Available if you’re aged 18 or over, the student account comes with several benefits. First, you can get an interest free arranged overdraft of up to £1,500 during your course length. This is eligible for an extra year after your graduate.

Once you receive your Halifax Student Current Account debit card, you can earn up to 15% cashback when you shop online and in-store. To earn the cashback, register for online banking and activate cashback extras.

The Halifax Student Current Account debit card is a contactless Visa card. Every time you make payments with the card, Halifax round up your card payments and puts the change in your savings account. The bank also pays monthly interest on any credit balance of 0.10% AER/gross.

Besides the benefits above, the account offers access to useful tools such as the cost calculator. The tool allows you to stay in control of your finances.

Apply for the Halifax Student Current Account online!

Bank of Scotland Student Account…

The Bank of Scotland Student Account is for students in full-time education. When you apply for the Bank of Scotland Student Account, you’ll receive a VISA contactless debit card. This card provides a faster way to make payments for essential items and cash withdrawals.

When you shop with your VISA contactless card, you can earn up to 15% cashback with Everyday Offers. Whether it’s hitting the high street or eating at your favourite restaurant, Everyday Offers makes it easy for you to earn cashback.

Another benefit of opening a Bank of Scotland Student Account is access to interest-free arranged overdraft. As an account holder, you’ll get up to £1,500 in Years One to Three. In Years Four to Six, you’ll receive £2,000.

The Bank of Scotland offers easy access to your student account via mobile and internet banking. You can also access your account from one of their branches in Scotland. To apply for the Bank of Scotland Student Account, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be aged 17 or over
  • Must be 18 or over to apply for an arranged overdraft
  • Must be studying a full-time course that lasts at least two years in the UK
  • Must be a permanent UK resident for the past 3 years

You can apply for your Bank of Scotland Student Account online. To do so click here. Once you open your student account, visit a local branch to provide the staff with your UCAS confirmation of place letter, proof of ID and address.

HSBC Student Bank Account…

The HSBC Student Bank Account makes it easy for you to manage your finances. It comes with an interest-free arranged overdraft. In Year One, you’ll get £1,000. This will increase to £3,000 by Year THree.

HSBC provides free expert guides to help students manage their finances. The student guides offer university survival tips, a summary about student banking, and more.

You can stay informed about your account activity even on the go. Just download the HSBC iOS or Android app and receive notifications to your smartphone or tablet. Thanks to the notifications, you can spot any unexpected payments and other errors immediately. The app also allows you to block any suspicious activity. For example, if your HSBC debit card gets stolen or lost, you can block it in seconds from your app.

Before applying for the HSBC Student Bank Account, you need to be 18+ and have a confirmed place at a UK college or university. To apply for the student account, visit the HSBC website, scroll towards the bottom of the page, and click” Open a Student account.” Confirm your eligibility and complete the registration process.

Co-operative Bank Student Account…

The Co-operative Bank Student Account can help you get the most out of your student life. It has an interest free overdraft that increases every year you’re studying. In Year One, you’ll get £1,400 which will rise to £1,700 in Year 2. In Year 3 and any further years of study, you’ll receive up to £2,000.

The student account has no monthly fee. But the bank will charge a debit interest if you request for more than the agreed overdraft amount.

To activate the overdraft, you need to pay at least £300 within 28 days after opening the account. These funds must remain in your account for 48 hours or more. To apply for the Co-operative Student Account, you need to:

  • Be a UK resident
  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Be on a full-time course
  • Have proof of address and ID
  • Have proof of your confirmed place

To open the student account, visit the Co-operative Bank Student Account website, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Apply Now.” The application form is in pdf, and it will open in a new web page. Fill in your details and save the form.

You must visit a Co-operative Bank to submit your proof of identity documents in person.

Final Thoughts…

A student bank account is essential if studying a full-time course in the UK. It comes with benefits such as interest-free arranged overdrafts and interest on credit balances. Some offer a free 12-month subscription to an online book library, Amazon Prime or National Express Coachcard. These offers allow you to enjoy exclusive discounts when you shop online or in-store.

All student accounts are current accounts, and once you graduate, the bank turns it into a standard account. If you want to maintain a high credit score, practice good money habits from your first term. For example, create a budget and stick to it, stop impulse buying and more.