The Best Student Bank Accounts For 2023

One of the biggest changes in your life when moving to university is that you are looking after your own finances and budget, possibly for the first time in your life. 

If you don’t have a bank account yet or you are looking to switch to a student bank account, it can be daunting and bewildering to find the right fit for you. 

With so many different student bank account providers on the market, it can be difficult to work your way through and find the best one for you, but never fear, that’s where we come in handy with our list on the best student bank accounts for this coming academic year.

We’ve also put together a list of the best bank accounts for international students, so keep reading to find out more about the best ways to stay on top of your money whilst at university! 

best student bank accounts

How To Choose A Student Bank Account

A student bank account is an account that is exclusive for students. 

They differ from the standard bank accounts that are on offer and often include free promotions and interest-free overdrafts. 

You do have to prove that you are a student to open a student bank account.

We have a few tips on how to search for the perfect student bank account to help you stay on top of your money whilst studying:

  • Don’t be bowled over by the free promotions – You might be offered travel discounts and savings cards, cash rewards and exclusive offers, but be sensible and think about the long-term and the real benefits to the account rather than a short-term reward.
  • Take the largest overdraft – An overdraft is the easiest and best way to borrow money, and the best thing about a student overdraft is that it has 0% interest for your time at university, so make the most of it.
  • Understand overdraft repayments – As great as the interest free overdraft is, you’ll have to understand how to pay it back once you graduate, so understand the repayment terms now and plan ahead.

man with credit card handling student finance

The Student Bank Accounts For 2023

With the academic year coming up fast, if you haven’t already set up your student bank account for this year, that’s where we come in handy with a full list of the best ones.

By the end of our post you will have discovered the best provider for you, with each offering something different whether it’s sign-up incentives, discounts off shopping, or even interest-free overdrafts.

Without further-ado here are the best student bank accounts for 2023!

best student bank accounts 2023

1. HSBC Student Bank Account

Up first within our list of the best student bank accounts is the HSBC Student Bank Account.

No matter what you’re year you’re in, you will get a guaranteed interest-free limit of up to £1,000 when you apply for a Student Account, which can also rise to £3,00o in your third year.

The incentives to sign up are also pretty good, as you’ll get £100 on HSBC when you open or upgrade to a student bank account, as well as a 1-year subscription to Headspace. 

The HSBC student bank account is our choice as the number one for this coming academic year.

To apply for an account or to find out more, you can head to their website.

HSBC Student bank account

2. Santander 123 Student Account

With a Santander 123 Student Account, you’ll get an interest-free arranged overdraft of £1,500 years 1-3, £1,800 in year 4 and £2,000 if you stay on for year 5.

Most students do get the full £1,500 overdraft to begin with, depending on your credit rating, and this puts it above many other student bank accounts, even if it is only half the amount others advertise. 

You must deposit at least £500 to receive this. 

The sign-up incentive is a good one, the four-year 16-25 Railcard, worth £100, gives you a third off all train travel in the UK.

Which is super ideal if you tend to travel by train, whether its visiting home or seeing friends in other cities!

You can also take advantage of cashback, prize draws and personalised offers with Santander’s free rewards service.

Keen to set up a student account with Santander? Find out more on their website.

santander 123 student account

3. Nationwide FlexStudent Account

What can you get with the Nationwide FlexStudent account?

You can apply for up to £1,000 interest-free arranged overdraft in your first year, up to £2,000 in your second year and up to £3,000 in your third year. Although you do need to pay in at least £500 each term.

This is looked at as one of the best student bank accounts this year, as it offers one of the largest overdrafts on the market. 

The sign-up incentive as it currently stands is a £100 bonus if you pay £500+ into your student account before the 16th of December. 

To find out more about their student bank account and how to apply, head to the official website.

banking finances for uni

4. The Co-operative Student Account

Another great option for a banking provider for university students is The Co-operative Student Account.

This 0% student overdraft starts at £1,400 in the first year of university that you can request to increase each year.

If you do make use of the banks overdraft, you’ll have 1 year after you graduate to pay it off without any interest.

You must deposit £300 within the first 28 days of opening the bank account to be eligible for the full overdraft amount and that £300 must also stay in the account for at least 48 hours after it has been deposited. 

Again, there are no freebies or incentives as such, but it is a highly rated student bank account where most students say they do receive the full advertised amount. 

It also has fantastic customer service, which makes it a standout in our book.

To apply for a student bank account, you must be studying for a full-time course which is at least 2 years long.

Check out their website to open up an account or find out more information.

The Co-operative Student Account

5. TSB Student Account

A great way to manage your money whilst at university is by setting up a TSB Student Account.

This tiered student bank account offers a 0% overdraft of up to £500 in the first six months, which goes up to £1,000 for the next three months and the full £1,500 after that. 

If your credit score is fine, you’ll have a good chance of receiving the full, advertised overdraft by your second year, but you might have to pester them a bit to increase your overdraft limit once you are eligible. 

You’ll earn 5% interest on balances up to £500, but there are no other freebies or real incentives with this bank account for students.

Fancy opening up an account with TSB? Check out their website.

TSB Student Account

6. NatWest Student Current Account

When setting up a NatWest Student Current Account, you’ve got a good chance of receiving the full £2,000 overdraft.

You’ll start with £500 in the first year and straight up to £2,000 in your second year of university, if you study for year three an onwards, you can even apply for an interest free overdraft of £3,250.

There are two sign-up incentives this year. The first is £100 in cash and the other is a Tastecard that lasts for four years. Which gives you 50% off or 2 for 1 meals at over 6,000 UK restaurants! 

This provides you with discounts in many restaurants and is worth about £140. This has some of the best incentives of all the student bank accounts in this list.

You can get more info and apply for a student current account on their website.

NatWest Student Current Account

7. Barclays Student Additions Account

Looking for the top student bank account providers for the 23/24 academic year? If so, the Barclays Student Additions Account is a great choice.

Another tiered overdraft that starts with a generous £1,000 in your first year and increases to a total of £1,500 in the second and third year. 

You do have to explicitly ask for the overdraft to be increased, it does not happen automatically as with some other student bank accounts. 

From account opening and during your first term, the overdraft amount will be up to £500.

The incentives are pretty good, including a free 12-month subscription worth £144 to Perlego, an online book library, which might come in handy with studying, especially for your dissertation! 

If you want to set up an account with Barclays or learn more head to their website.

Barclays Student Additions Account

8. RBS Student Account

Wanting to make your student life that much easier? Set up an RBS Student Account.

Open a Royal Bank Student account to get a 4 year tastecard. Apply for an interest free overdraft up to £2000 (£500 in first term).

The overdraft is limited to £2,000 in your final year, but your chances of receiving it are pretty high in comparison to some other student bank accounts. 

It starts with £500 in the first year and you must deposit £750 into the account every six months to remain eligible. 

You must also make at least three transactions each month to keep the overdraft facility. The sign-up incentives are £80 cash and a four-year Tastecard. 

The free gifts are good, and the tiered overdraft system is always the best choice financially, but you might find better accounts with larger overdraft facilities.

Apply for their student bank account.

RBS Student Bank Account

9. Halifax Student Current Account

This student bank account has an overdraft advertised for up to £1,500 in your first year, but most students are unlikely to get that straight away. 

In most cases, you’ll have to keep on asking the bank to increase your overdraft and every case is dealt with on individual merit. 

You’ll also notice that there is no free gift or sign-up incentive, although you do get up to 15% cashback when you spend using your debit card!

Set up your student bank account on the Halifax website.

Halifax Student Current Account

10. Lloyds Student Current Account

If you’re off to university and looking for a cost-inefficient banking provider, Lloyds Student Current Account is a good choice.

With this  Student Account, you can apply for an interest-free tiered arranged overdraft of up to £1,500 in Years 1 to 3 and up to £2,000 in years 4 to 6.

Most students do receive the full amount after year one. Lloyds is a good choice for those students with a poor credit score, as most applicants do receive the full overdraft amount.

When setting up your account with Lloyds, you can get 15% off with Everyday Offers at selected retailers.

Find out more about their student current account.

Lloyds Student Current Account

What About International Student Bank Accounts?

For international students moving to the UK, there is a need to think about the best student bank accounts in a slightly different light. 

If you are an international student, you will not be eligible for an overdraft or the freebies and promotions that you’ve seen above with the best student bank accounts in the UK.

If you are applying for a current account or a student account in the UK as an international student, you will need the following items to fulfil the application criteria:

  • Your current passport
  • A valid visa
  • Student ID or the acceptance letter from your UK university
  • Proof of address in the UK
  • A bank statement from your current bank account in your home country

What About International Student Bank Accounts

1. Nationwide FlexStudent Account

One of the few student bank accounts that is also available to international students. 

The transfer fees with this account are the lowest you’ll find on the market, you can send and receive money in any currency, and from any country in the world, for free. 

You must have proof of address to open an account however, so you might need to have moved into your student accommodation before applying for this student bank account.

Find out more here.

2. HSBC Bank Account

HSBC markets its bank account service to any person studying in the UK, whether they are from overseas or this country. 

It does come with an overdraft, but as this isn’t a student specific bank account this is not interest free. 

Sending money abroad to other HSBC accounts is free, as is sending money to any bank account in EEA countries, with a £4 charge to other countries and currencies. 

Receiving money costs £6 or £8 for amounts over £100, depending on whether it is in pounds or other currencies.

It is easy to open a UK account if you already have an HSBC account in another country.

You can find out more about this on their website.

piggy bank

3. Natwest Select Account

In the past, NatWest did offer a specific international student bank account, which came with sign-up incentives.

However, this was scrapped, but this select account is a good choice of bank account anyway. 

There is an option of an overdraft, and it is free and open to use, with no requirement for monthly fees to maintain the account. 

The international transfer fees are very low, and you’ll only pay if you need money sent very quickly.

If you want to find out more, check out their website.

girl with lots of money for student bank accounts

4. Barclays Student Additions Account

Like Natwest, Barclays used to have a specific bank account for international students, but it has since been scrapped. 

The difference here is that Barclays allows international students to apply for their normal student bank account. 

It has an interest-free overdraft facility, up to as much as £3,000 in third year of university. 

You’ll also get the 12-month subscription to the online library Perlego. 

Fees for international transfers are also low, with costs only attached to £8 for amounts over £100 received in any currency.

If you’re keen to learn more about this student account, head to their website.

money from a jar

5. Al Rayan Personal Current Account

If you are looking for a current account that is Sharia-compliant this is the bank account for you. 

If you don’t have a UK passport and the UK is not your main residence you will have to pay in at least £20 per month to maintain access to the account. 

For international money transfers, you must transfer at least £100 to gain access. 

It costs £25 to send money sterling abroad, €40 to send euro abroad, $40 to send US dollars abroad, and £12 for amounts under £10,000 in other foreign currencies. It is free to receive money from abroad in all currencies. 

Al Rayan also has a Sharia-compliant savings account if you are considering staying in the UK for longer than your university studies.

student bank account money

There are loads of student bank accounts on the market today, and there could be different perks and promotions that make sense for you, whether you are moving to a new city in the UK to study or looking for an international student bank account before you move to the UK from another country.

We hope we’ve been able to help you with this list of the best student bank accounts in 2023.

Read next: All You Need To Know About Moving To University In 2023.

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