Information for UK-resident students on setting up a student bank account
In the context of student bank accounts the term 'UK resident' usually refers to someone who has been living in the UK for at least three years prior to opening the bank account.
This may vary from bank to bank however, so if you've only moved to the UK in the last couple of years it would be worthwhile to check which bank accounts you are eligible for. This information should be available on the website of each bank in the section discussing the conditions of the student bank account.
The main difference between student accounts and normal (a.k.a. 'current') accounts is the overdraft facility. An overdraft works like a 0% interest loan, and basically allows you to withdraw more money from your bank account than you actually have, without being charged (via interest) for doing so.
An important point to rememember is that you will be charged a fee if you withdraw more than your overdraft: for instance, if you had a £500 overdraft and and the balance of your account was £10, but you withdrew £1000.
An overdraft can be useful for when finances might be tight between payments (whether payments from a loan, grant or wages). Some student accounts allow overdrafts of up to £3,000, but this depends on the bank.
Banks can often offer additional perks attached to a student bank account; these might be for example a free railcard or National Union of Students card .The overdraft facility and fees for overdrawing your account are the most important aspects of a student bank account to pay attention to however, so choose wisely even if the other freebies are attractive. Banks will advertise the perks and details of their student bank accounts on their websites. Many UK websites such as Save the Student and Student Money Saver compare different student bank accounts.
Many aspects of opening a student bank account will vary from bank to bank. These aspects include details such as:
Many UK websites such as Save the Student and Student Money Saver compare different student bank accounts.
Some accounts can be opened during just one appointment in the bank branch, others take longer, varying from bank to bank and the type of account you open. Remember to enquire from each bank how long it normally takes, but be prepared for the process to take up to two weeks. Preparing all the necessary documentation will help things proceed as quick as possible.