best student bank account . piggy bank
best student bank account . piggy bank

Best Student Bank Accounts in the UK 2024

Compare the best bank accounts for students to get the best deal when you head to uni.

Choosing the best student bank account for you is a big decision. With benefits and perks like free railcards, tastecards and, of course, the interest-free overdrafts, there’s a lot to think about. 

But that’s not all, your bank account will be home to your student loan payments, so it’s a really important part of preparing for university. 

We’ve got your need-to-know on some of the most popular bank accounts for students in the UK. So you can compare overdrafts and perks to find the best account to suit you. 

In this article:

What is a student bank account?

A student bank account is a type of account specifically designed with students in mind. You’ll often find there are extra perks, interest-free overdrafts and freebies included that you won’t find in a standard current account. 

You’ll be able to pay into the account, as well as pay out. You’ll usually have extra benefits too, tailored to students, like an interest-free overdraft or a few freebies.

Most student bank accounts don’t have monthly fees attached whereas some traditional current accounts will charge a small fee.

Do I need a student bank account?

It’s not compulsory to open a student bank account, and it won’t affect your student loan or university place. However, getting a student bank account means you’ll often be able to unlock extra perks and benefits that make it worthwhile. There’s not many traditional bank accounts that will offer interest free overdrafts or offers on things like railcards. 

How to choose the best student bank account

If you’re searching for the best student bank accounts, there’s so many options that it’s a bit overwhelming. What’s important to you? Do you love a freebie or do you need the biggest overdraft you can find? There’s a lot to think about so we’ve got some tips for when you’re trying to narrow your options.

Shop around

Like you would with car insurance, or your phone contract, shopping around is the best way to narrow down options. 

We’ve got a table comparing some of the best student accounts on the market at the moment – but you can do your own research too. Make a list and see what perks/benefits you’d want the most. This will help you rank your choices and make that decision. 

Think past the freebies

We ALL love a freebie. But try and think long term with this. You’ll likely have your student account for at least 3 years, so while one-off cinema tickets are a great idea, how do they compare to repayment options and overdrafts? 

Check out the overdraft

The biggie. For most students, having an arranged interest-free overdraft is the key thing you’ll need on a student bank account.  The cost of living crisis isn’t going anywhere, and with student loan payments not even rising to meet inflation, having an overdraft can be an essential lifeline if you’re trying to make ends meet.  

What are the repayment terms?

While having an interest-free overdraft is a great perk of being a student, make sure you read the fine print! Some student bank accounts offer longer repayment terms than others. 

So have a think before you decide on your bank. Most banks will give you 2-3 years to repay your student overdraft, but that’s not always the case. The Co-Op for instance, gives you only 1 year to repay your overdraft. 

Check out your credit score

Don’t forget, an arranged overdraft is a loan! Applying for a loan can affect your credit score, and failing to repay it in time could also affect your score. Being sensible, and keeping on top of your overdraft can actually be a beneficial way of building credit too, so there are two sides to that story. 

Comparing some of the best student bank current accounts

We’ve done the legwork to find some of the best student current accounts out there, with details of their overdrafts, perks and how you can apply.

Bank accountOverdraftPerksWho can open an account?How can you apply?
Santander Edge student current account0% interest arranged overdraft

Year 1, 2 and 3 of study: £1,500
Year 4: £1,800
Year 5: £2,000

You can set up overdraft alerts so that you know when you’re close to the limits. 
Free 4 year 16-25 railcard

No withdrawal fees at Santander ATMs when you travel abroad

Santander Boosts – their rewards programme for cashback, vouchers and prize draws
You can open an account if you’re 18 or over, you live in the UK, you’re about to start (or you already have started) an undergraduate or degree-level apprenticeship that’s at least 2 years long.  Online at Santander
Natwest student current account0% interest arranged overdraft

Years 1 and 2 of study: up to £2,000
Year 3 and onwards: up to £3,250
Free Tastecard for 4 years (worth £29.99 per year)You can apply if you’re 17+ living in the UK for at least 3 years. You should be a full time undergraduate on a course at least 2 years and you have to apply within 6 months of your course starting.Online applications only
HSBC student current account0% interest arranged overdraft

Year 1 of your studies: up to £1,000
Year 3: up to £3,000
Get offers with their home&Away discount programmeAny 18+ UK resident who has a confirmed place on a university course can apply.Apply online with HSBC
Nationwide FlexStudent current account0% interest arranged overdraft

Year 1: up to £1,000
Year 2: up to £2,000
Year 3: up to £3,000
Have a say in which housing charities Nationwide support on their Community boardsYou can open an account if you’re 18 or over, you live in the UK, you’re about to start (or you already have started) an undergraduate or degree-level apprenticeship that’s at least 2 years long.  Apply online with Nationwide
Lloyds student current account0% interest arranged overdraft

Years 1-3: up to £1,500
Years 4-6: up to £2,000 
Up to 15% cashback with their Everyday OffersYou can apply if you’re 17+ living in the UK for at least 3 years. You should be a full time undergraduate on a course at least 2 years.Apply here on the Lloyds website
Co-op student current account0% interest arranged overdraft

Year 1: £1,400
Year 2: up to £1,700
Year 3 (and any further years of studying): up to £2,000
You can have a say in their customer-led Ethical policyYou can open an account if you’re 18 or over, you live in the UK, you’re about to start (or you already have started) an undergraduate or degree-level apprenticeship that’s at least 2 years long.  Apply online at the Co-op
Halifax student current account0% interest arranged overdraft

Up to £1,500 
Up to 15% cashback with their Cashback Extras

Save the Change roundups to help you save on your everyday purchases
You can open an account if you’re 18 or over, you live in the UK, you’re about to start (or you already have started) an undergraduate or degree-level apprenticeship that’s at least 2 years long.  Online at Halifax
Table of popular student current accounts

How to set up your student bank account

When you’ve decided on which bank you want to go for, you can take the plunge and apply. You’ll need a few things before you get started, which is fairly standard across all bank accounts:

  • Proof of identity, for example your passport or full driving licence
  • Proof of address, for example from a utility bill, or bank statement
  • 4-digit UCAS code which confirms your place on a course

Most bank accounts let you apply online, with a few only allowing online applications, so you can apply from the comfort of your own phone. 

A lot of student bank accounts ask that you pay in a minimum amount (for example, £500 per term) into your account, especially if you’re getting an overdraft. This is fine if you’re planning to set up your student finance to pay into your chosen account, but it means you’ll have to make sure you definitely have enough being paid in before you set it up. 

Check out our own finance student discounts with Student Beans to see if you can bag yourself extra perks using our discounts when opening a bank account!