0 Student Overdraft S – Guide To Student Overdrafts

Free 0% overdrafts and railcards – banks love reeling in new students with goodies, and this year”s no different. This guide”s about bagging the best deal.

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Student accounts are simply bank accounts made for those in higher education. They let you pay money in and out, and offer additional benefits such as an interest-free overdraft.

Usually you”ll open one after your A-Level or Scottish Highers results have come through and you have a confirmed place at university.

What ID do I need to open a student account?

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

In addition, you”ll need a UCAS confirmation letter with an unconditional offer or, if your offer”s conditional, A-Level results that meet that condition (or a letter from the university you”ll be attending confirming your place). As soon as you”ve got these, you can open an account, allowing you extra time to make full use of its benefits before the start of term.

The student account need-to-knows

Here are the big things you need to consider…

Top student accounts 2020/2021

The high street banks compete in a red-hot battle. They publish ever bigger overdraft limits, but then sneakily won”t allow all students to have them. The key is whether the overdraft is”guaranteed“or”up to“– the former means you”ll get it if you”ve been accepted for the account (and asked for the max limit), but the latter means you”ll only get it if you have a good credit record.

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With all these accounts you”ll usually need to be (or about to be) a first year student and have proof of acceptance to a university or further education course, which is often defined as lasting at least two years.

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Important. All the below automatically turn into a graduate account once your course ends, which continues the 0% interest overdraft for a further two or three years – though the interest-free limit drops each year. Diarise to check when your course ends though, as othertop graduate accountsmay beat it.

Topstudent accounts 2020/21

The only account with a guaranteed 0% overdraft, plus get a free four-year railcard.TheSantander 123*student account gives a definite £1,500 0% overdraft to all accepted, provided you register for online banking and pay in £500+ each term. Do that and you can also claim a free four-year 16-25 railcard (worth £90ish) which gets you a third off rail travel – though it”s not valid in Northern Ireland. You”ll be sent a code to use on the railcard site within 60 days, so don”t forget.



0% overdraft: – Year 1-3:£1,500

– Year 4: £1,800 – Year 5: £2,000


– Four year 16-25 railcard

Top for freebies (£100 in cash and vouchers) and a higher possible 0% overdraft– though it”s “up to”.First-year university students or apprentices can get theHSBC student accountwhich offers a free £80 + a £20 Uber Eats voucher or Asos Premier (unlimited next day delivery) for a year. You”ll need to apply by 31 Dec 2021 and use your debit card five times in the first month to get it. However the 0% overdraft is an “up to”, so the limit you”ll get depends on your credit record.



0% overdraft:


– Year 1: up to £1,000

– Year 2: up to £2,000

– Year 3 & beyond: up to £3,000 Perks: – Free £80 if spending 5+ times in the first month

– Free £20 Uber Eats voucher or Asos Premier for 1yr

An alternative account to HSBC that offers large 0% overdrafts, but it”s another “up to”. TheNationwide FlexStudenthas no intro freebies but offers the joint-highest 0% overdrafts – starting at £1,000 and rising to £3,000 in year three – provided you pay in £500+ per term (eg, maintenance loan). However, like HSBC above, it”s “up to” so the amount you get will be determined by your credit record.




0% overdraft:

– Year 1: up to £1,000

– Year 2: up to £2,000

– Year 3 & beyond: up to £3,000

Important. You”ll need to stay within your overdraft limit. If you exceed it, all these accounts will restrict access until you get the balance back under your limit – so no debit card spending or cash withdrawals. All accounts have fullFSCS up to £85,000 savings protection, though note HSBC is shared withFirst Direct and Santander shared with Cahoot.

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Lender 0% overdraft amount Main perks Bank of Scotland



Lloyds Bank


Royal Bank of Scotland


Up to £1,500 in years 1-3, then up to £2,000 Cashback when you spend at certain retailers
£500 in term 1, then up to £1,000 in the rest of year 1; up to £2,000 in year 2; up to £3,000 in year 3 12-month subscription to Perlego, which gives online access to textbooks & other reading material
Up to £1,500 0.1% interest, plus cashback when you spend at certain retailers
Up to £1,500 in years 1-3, then up to £2,000 Cashback when you spend at certain retailers
£500 in term 1, then up to £2,000 for the rest of your time at uni £50 cash and a 4 year tastecard
£500 in term 1, then up to £2,000 for the rest of your time at uni £50 cash and a 4 year tastecard
Up to £1,500 (guaranteed £500 for the first 6mths, up to £1,000 in months seven to nine, and up to £1,500 from month ten) 5% interest on balances up to £500

Table in alphabetical order. Last updated July 2021.

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