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Money Matters

A student's guide to bank and savings accounts

Going to University can be one of the most exciting and memorable times of your life.  If this is the first time you've lived independently from your parents, it's best to think ahead to ensure you end up with some good memories, not ones of costly financial mistakes.

Student bank accounts

When looking for a student bank account you'll find that there are many banks competing for your business with tempting offers of gift-cards, railcards and interest-free overdrafts.

If you're looking for the best interest-free overdraft offer, try to see beyond the freebies.  It's worth comparing different bank accounts, to see which is best for you.  One way to do this is by checking MoneySavingExpert.


Get into the savings habit

You might think a current bank account is enough, but to make the most of your money and help you stay on track with your spending, you could open a savings account too.

There are no specific savings accounts for students so you may want to check MoneyAdviceService to help you make an informed choice.

Work out a realistic budget so that you know how much you have left for living expenses after your rent and bills are paid.  Keep the money for rent and bills in your student bank account, and put the whole of the remainder for the term in your savings account. You could then set up a regular payment from your savings account into your student account to cover your weekly budget. 

This could help you keep track of your money and stop you from overspending, knowing that you only have a week's worth of money in your student bank account.  If you have an expensive week, you'll only have to manage for a few days until your next week's payment comes through.

You could also use your savings account to put money aside that you don't need on a day-to-day basis, such as gifts, earnings from part-time employment, or any leftover money from your maintenance loan.

Be savvy with your overdraft

  • An overdraft isn't 'free money' - it's a loan from the bank which will have to be paid back eventually.  It may be interest-free for the duration of your degree, but as soon as you graduate, you'll have to start paying interest on any outstanding debt.
  • When you get the next instalment of your student loan, the first thing most banks do is pay off your overdraft with it, so you'll end up with a lot less money for the term than you were expecting to manage on.
  • If you go beyond your agreed overdraft limit, most banks will start charging interest as well as high fees for every transaction you make.
  • You can ask your bank to reduce the amount of your available overdraft, or remove it completely if you find the temptation too much to deal with.
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