Student account freebies show mixed results | moneyfacts.co.uk

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Rachel Springall

Rachel Springall

Finance Expert & Press Officer
Published: 25/07/2022

Student account packages are showing mixed results this year. As some deals improve, others have worsened. As time moves on towards the new academic year, our latest analysis reveals a selection of noteworthy cost-saving perks.

  • Barclays renews its Perlego freebie, an online library for free (£96 annual saving).
  • HSBC changes its perk: £100 in free cash (compared to £80 in cash last year and either a £20 Uber Eats voucher or a year of unlimited next-day delivery with ASOS Premier).
  • NatWest improves its bundle – £80 cashback upfront and a tastecard valid for four years (usual cost per year £34.99), compared to £50 with the tastecard last year.
  • Santander renews its Railcard offer (worth £30 for one year or £70 for three years).
  • TSB continues to offer a generous credit interest rate of 5% AER/4.89% gross.
  • The most generous overdraft tariffs this year are with HSBC and Nationwide Building Society, offering up to £3,000 interest-free. However, Barclays reduced its overdraft from up to £3,000 last year, to up to £1,500 this year.

Rachel Springall, our Finance Expert, said:

“Student account perks are showing mixed results this year, as some banks have decided to boost their free cash offers, remove perks or even reduce their interest-free overdraft facility. One of the most useful benefits a student account provides is an interest-free overdraft, and the most generous allowance of up to £3,000 is currently available from Nationwide Building Society and HSBC. Students can also get a £100 free cash inventive from HSBC this year, more than last year’s offer of £80, but the bank no longer offers a £20 Uber eats voucher or unlimited next-day delivery with ASOS Premier on top. This is the usual nature of student account packages as they are not guaranteed to be repeated year-on-year.

“Discount cards are useful for students to save themselves a bit of money when eating out or travelling. It’s positive to see Santander upholding its Railcard offer this year and, according to the bank, can save students an average of £636 over the course of the four-year offer. According to CACI*, Santander was the largest provider of student accounts in 2021, so it’s not too surprising to see other banks tweak their offers to try to entice new business this year. NatWest now offers students £80 upfront, more than the £50 last year, along with the same tastecard. However, not all banks have improved their account package, as Barclays Bank has reduced its interest-free overdraft from a limit of £3,000 to £1,500, but it has relaunched its free access to Perlego for 12 months.

“The rising cost of living will be taking its toll on everyone and students who may be living away from home for the first time will inevitably find it daunting. Costs are on the rise from all directions. According to a study from Equifax, 49% of university students and graduates said that the prospect of student debt made them think twice about taking up their place at university. Finding the right student account is crucial, which is why students must compare the whole package of any account to ensure it suits their needs. In the months to come creating a budget is wise, especially on the go, and there are free ways to make this easier such as using apps like Money Dashboard. Those struggling would be wise to speak to their family and friends for advice and remember that any overdraft they borrow will need to be paid back.”

 

*CACI's Current Account & Savings Database - Based on volume of new account openings.

Student account selection table

  • Interest-free overdraft:
    Year 1 - up to £1,500 (0-6 months £500, 7-9 months £1,000 and 10 months+ £1,500)
    Year 2 to 3 - up to £1,500
    Year 4 to 6 - up to £2,000

    Incentives:
    Free to register for Everyday Offers.
    Earn up to 15% cashback from selected retailers.

  • Interest-free overdraft:
    0-11 months £500
    Year 1 - up to £1,000
    Year 2 - up to £1,500

    Incentives:
    Earn cashback through Barclays Cashback.
    Blue Rewards is available as an add-on for £5 per month.
    Free access to Perlego for 12 months, a digital library of university textbooks, for accounts opened between 8.7.22 and 30.11.22 and redeemed before 31.12.22.

  • Interest-free overdraft:
    Year 1+ - up to £1,500

    Incentives:
    Cashback Extras - Earn up to 15% cashback from selected retailers. Credit interest of 0.10% AER/gross.

  • Interest-free overdraft:
    Year 1 - at least £1,000
    Year 2 - at least £2,000
    Year 3 - up to £3,000

    Incentives:
    Receive £100 when opening and make a minimum of 5 transactions within 30 days of opening.
    Eligible for Regular Saver account.

  • Interest-free overdraft:
    Year 1 - up to £1,500 (0-6 months £500, 7-9 months £1,000 and 10 months+ £1,500)
    Year 2 to 3 - up to £1,500
    Year 4 to 6 - up to £2,000

    Incentives:
    Free to register for Everyday Offers.
    Earn up to 15% cashback from selected retailers.

  • Interest-free overdraft:
    Year 1 - up to £1,000
    Year 2 - up to £2,000
    Year 3+ - up to £3,000

    Incentives:
    No charges for using debit card abroad.

  • Interest-free overdraft:
    Year 1 - up to £2,000 (1-4 months £500, 5 months+ £2,000)
    Year 2 to 5 - up to £2,000

    Incentives:
    Receive £80 paid to your account within 10 days from opening a new or converting an existing account, a tastecard, valid for 4 years giving 50% off food or 2 for 1 meals, plus offers on entertainment and shopping. Must register for mobile/internet banking and choose paperless statements within 30 days of opening. Offer valid from 4.7.22 to 31.10.22.
    Free 24/7 Emergency Cash Service.

  • Interest-free overdraft:
    Year 1 - up to £2,000 (1-4 months £500, 5 months+ £2,000)
    Year 2 to 5 - up to £2,000

    Incentives:
    Receive £80 paid to your account within 10 days from opening a new or converting an existing account, a tastecard, valid for 4 years giving 50% off food or 2 for 1 meals, plus offers on entertainment and shopping. Must register for mobile/internet banking and choose paperless statements within 30 days of opening. Offer valid from 4.7.22 to 31.10.22.
    Free 24/7 Emergency Cash Service.

  • Interest-free overdraft:
    Year 1 to 3- up to £1,500
    Year 4 - up to £1,800
    Year 5 - up to £2,000

    Incentives:
    Free 4-year 16-25 Railcard for new customers including discounts on other activities.
    Earn up to 15% cashback from selected retailers.
    Preferential rates, offers and discounts at 123 World.

  • Interest-free overdraft:
    Year 1 - up to £1,500 (0-6 months £500, 7-9 months £1,000 and 10 months+ £1,000)
    Year 2 to 6 - up to £1,500

    Incentives:
    Credit interest of up to 5% AER (4.89% gross).

Note

The list of student accounts is only a selection. All overdrafts are subject to the applicant’s status.
Source: Moneyfacts.co.uk.

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