A simples guide

Should I open my student account before going to university, or once I'm there?

Getting ready to wave goodbye to your home, school friends and parents can be scary (in some ways it can also be a relief). Going to university’s probably taken you lots of hard work and you’ll want to get the most out of it. As tedious as it sounds, making sure your finances are all in place can help do that, so read on to find out about opening a student bank account and what else you should be prepared for.


Piggy bank and coins

When should I open my student bank account?

Ideally you should open it before you go to university. When you open your account, your bank will want to see confirmation that you’re a student – your UCAS offer letter or written proof of acceptance from your university will do. You’ll also need to have proof of address (this can be your home address rather than your term address) and a couple of forms of ID such as your passport or driving licence.

Opening your account before you go will save you time and hassle when you get there. Freshers’ week is usually jam packed with activities and inductions and you won’t want to miss anything. It also means that any student funding you get can be quickly transferred and ready to go for when term starts.

What should I look for in a student bank account?

When you’re a student, money can be tight but the good news is that banks are falling over themselves to give you a good deal. Student bank accounts differ from standard current accounts in that they offer interest free overdrafts. If this is something you need (and you’re likely too!) look for an account that offers you the biggest overdraft for the longest period of time.

Just don’t get carried away – interest free is not the same as ‘free’, you’ll be expected to pay the money back at some point, often when you graduate. And if you flout your overdraft and live well beyond your means, your bank can charge fines or withdraw your overdraft at any time and demand you repay everything at once.

Banks will also tempt you with lots of lovely freebies such as railcards or vouchers. Don’t let these sway you unless the offer will make a big difference to you – such as a four year student rail card.

You shouldn’t just choose the bank near your halls of residence either, after all we’re in the
21st century and in most cases you’ll be able to manage your account online (unless you’ve found the only branch of Ye Olde Worlde Banke).

Credit cards

Your credit score

When you apply for a student bank account, you’ll probably be credit checked, it’s just one of those things that banks and lenders need to do to make sure you’re not too much of a risk. Once you’ve been checked and have been judged a ‘safe risk’ make sure you manage your money well. Being sensible now, will mean you’re less likely to face rejection when it comes to applying for future credit, loans or a mortgage.

What else should I do to prepare for university?

Take some tissues because saying goodbye to mum and dad can be more emotional than you choose to admit. If you’re staying in university accommodation you’ll usually be provided with a list of things to take, or you’ll find it on your university website. If you’re renting privately, check what your landlord provides. Some things you’ll probably need to pack:

• Bedding – because you don’t want to get cold or have to use what the last student has left behind
• Electrical extensions – plug sockets are inevitably in the wrong place so take an extension
• Alarm clock – so you’re on time for lectures
• Laundry basket – because nobody needs to see your socks and pants lying around
• Plates and cutlery – unless you plan on eating off the floor with your hands
• Cheese grater – cheese livens up even the dullest of meals
• Pots and pans – so you can cook for yourself (eek)
• Notebooks and pens – unless you do everything electronically you’ll need these

Once you have everything packed, you just need to work out how to get it all there in the back of your parent’s car. One thing you won’t need to pack though, is your student current account so start comparing with us today and see how much you could save. University here we come!

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