A simples guide

Is it possible to open a joint student account?

When you’re faced with household bills split between a number of people, sometimes the easiest way is to have a joint account so you can all take responsibility and make sure your bills get paid on time. But when you’re a student, it can be a little harder – often you don’t really know your housemates that well and sorting out your finances can be awkward and let’s be honest…boring. So what can you do to all stay friends and make sure the lights stay on?

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Can we have a joint student account?

No, not usually. In most cases banks won’t allow you to open a joint student bank account. But, there’s nothing to stop you from having a regular joint account as well as your student account.

If you’re house sharing, having a joint account can make splitting household bills easier. All of you can set up a standing order from your own student accounts into the joint ‘house’ one and all your bills get paid from it. This definitely cuts down on the problem of collecting money from ‘forgetful’ housemates and it also means easier budgeting for everyone each month.

The alternative to having a joint account is to pay bills the old fashioned way where each housemate takes responsibility for one thing such as gas, electricity and water. One of the drawbacks of doing it this way is that you’re all relying on each other not to forget to pay the bill. Even if you’re all really organised and have Direct Debits set up – it’s pretty useless if you haven’t got money in your account to pay for it. You’ll just end up eating into your overdraft and chances are you’ll forget to reclaim what you’re owed leaving you even more in the lurch.

Plus, loads of deals are now bundled together such as your TV, phone and broadband, and you’ll probably find buying them in a package more cost effective – another good reason to have one joint house account.

Trust no one?

Of course if you are opening a joint account with your fellow roomies you’re going to need to trust them. With a joint account, all the account holders control and have access to it so you’re going to have to be sure that someone’s not going to dip into it and spend your money on new shoes or a cheeky take away.

Your credit history will also be influenced by the people you share an account with so when you move out or no longer need the joint account – close it (making sure you’ve paid all your outstanding bills, obviously). It might seem a faff but if you’re still linked and one of you ends up with a poor credit score then you’ll all be negatively affected. Don’t pay for someone else’s money misdemeanours.

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Money matters

Suddenly being responsible for your own bills can be a bit of a shock if you’re used to your parents sorting everything out. But it’s vital that you at least try to stay on top of everything, mismanaging your money now means you could struggle to get credit, a loan or even a mortgage later on. Some points you might want to consider:

  • Joint responsibility – try and put everyone’s name on the bills, that way you’re all jointly responsible. It’ll encourage people to pay on time lest it looks bad on their credit report.
  • Pay on time – we know, obvious right? But when you’ve got lectures, seminars and coursework to do it’s easy to forget. Setting up a Direct Debit means that you’ll never miss a payment.
  • Read the small print – always know what you’re getting into, read the details in any contract; cancellation and late payment fees can come as a nasty surprise if you’re not prepared.
  • All inclusive – see if your landlord will include some or all bills in your rent, it’ll certainly make life easier.
  • You’re in it together – so make sure you communicate, there’s nothing worse than being kept in the dark about an outstanding bill so make sure your honest with each other.

Current accounts come in all shapes and sizes and the best way to find the right one for you is to compare the market, which is why you’re here, isn’t it? So start a comparison of student accounts today and we’ll do all the hard work for you – just see how much you could save!

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