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Student account freebies abound

Student account freebies abound

Category: Students
24/07/2018

As thousands are celebrating their upcoming life as university students, there's more than just housing and equipment to consider. An essential tool for any student is a good student account, as this can make the difference between paying expensive interest and getting some welcome freebies.

While you may not want to think about it yet, as soon as you get accepted onto your course it's a good idea to start looking into student bank accounts. More information on these handy accounts can be found in our guide on the topic, which includes a handy selection of the accounts that are available right now.

"The best account will entirely depend on how much the student expects to borrow, the benefits they feel are essential to have included and any additional perks," Moneyfacts.co.uk finance expert Rachel Springall commented. "Some providers attempt to entice students with discounts or gift cards, but these incentives could be a waste if not used frequently."

Discounts or cashback might sway some people, but Rachel pointed out that "Halifax and Santander currently offer students a £1,500 interest-free overdraft from day one, which can be a lifeline to cash-poor students who have yet to generate income through part-time work."

That said, an account that offers a travel pass could save a lot of money for those students who like to travel. Don't forget that the best bank isn't always the one that's conveniently located on or near campus, either – given the proliferation of mobile and internet banking, you'll likely only need to visit a branch in emergencies.

"Clearly, there are many different perks between accounts and not one will necessarily meet every desire," Rachel said. "The most lucrative will depend on a student's financial expectations of either using an overdraft or being in credit, how often they expect to travel, and if they favour cashback or freebies."

Top tips

Aside from picking the right student account, Rachel had some other top tips to share for soon-to-be students:

  • Budget carefully - "By budgeting their way through their course, students will reduce expenditure and still be left with some money in their pockets at the end of the week to go shopping or socialising. Little changes such as making a coffee at home, or even lunch, can make a huge difference after just a few weeks."
  • Save the change - "Each time students buy something they could save the change and watch their savings grow. For instance, with Lloyds Bank, when customers are in credit, a purchase is rounded up to the nearest pound with the difference put into a separate account. So, if a purchase for £1.25 is made, Lloyds will transfer 75p into their savings account; if they spent this every day for a week, they'll have saved £5.25."
  • Use Chip to save - "One of the free apps around today that could help students save money without even thinking about it is Chip. Chip works out how much money users could save and can let them know by a simple text message, but it will also go one further and move this money into a separate account, so students are required to do very little to start saving."
  • Check your bank balance regularly using your phone - "Living away from home means overseeing daily expenses, so checking payments on the go using mobiles or tablets will be very practical. Students don't have to choose a bank that's nearby or on campus if they only need online access."
  • Keep an eye on your credit score - "At some point, students may look to take out a student credit card, or even get a mobile phone contract. There are various agencies to approach to check a credit score first, such as Experian, Equifax and CallCredit. Providers can ask one or more of these agencies for data to assess applicants, so it's important to check a credit score regularly with multiple brands."
  • Buy an NUS card (if you don't get this free with your student account) - "An NUS card gives students access to many places that offer at least a 10% discount, so they should remember to keep it with them. When eating out, there may be even greater discounts, so students should consider this when searching for a place to eat. The card costs from £12, so it's not very expensive."
  • Consider a part-time job - "Securing a part-time job can make all the difference for students hoping to build up some spending money. Getting a reference and starting a job will not only help students financially, but also introduce them to new people."

What next?

For those who are at the end of their course, and getting ready to jump into work, our graduate bank account guide could be for you – it even includes a selection of graduate accounts for easy comparison

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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