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Best UK Student Bank Accounts 2022

by Charles Nwabueze
Reading Time: 6 minutes


Reading Time: 6 min

Students are probably the best category of people that love and appreciate free things. Which student under the weight of expensive uni fees and high living expenses wouldn’t love free things? If we can see this fact, banks can also see this, and they (banks) over the past, in the present and in the future have, are and will continue to offer some tempting offers through their student accounts to reel in students.

This guide is all about the banks offering the best student account. But first thing first, what is a student bank account?

What is a Student Bank Account?

Student bank accounts are simply current accounts specifically designed for people aged 18 or over in higher education such as university or college. With these accounts, students can access their money whenever they want: paying in money or paying out. The main draw for many is the interest-free overdrafts they offer, but they will also offer a range of perks from retailer discounts, railcards, online subscriptions, and even cash to grab students’ attention.

Banks start unveiling their student bank offering during the summer holidays well ahead of the start of the new academic year. These accounts can be opened by students after their A-level or Scottish Highers results have come through and they have a confirmed place at university. International students can get one open when they arrive at their uni and satisfy the general requirements. Have a read of our separate article for bank accounts for international students. 

General Requirements to Open One 

With all student bank accounts, you’ll need: 

  • Proof of address 
  • Proof of identity. This can include your passport, birth certificate or current UK driving licence. 
  • You’ll need your UCAS code or confirmation letter with an unconditional offer or, 
  • If your offer’s conditional, A-level results that meet that condition (or a letter from the university you’ll be attending confirming your place). 

The process of opening one does not take much time – in most cases only minutes! Now you know what it is. Let’s have a look at some of the banks offering the best student accounts. 

  1. Nationwide FlexStudent

Would you open a bank account if you were offered 100 pounds to open one? Of course, you would. This is what Nationwide offers through its FlexStudent bank account.

There are lots of benefits attached to opening an account with this bank:

If you’re aged 18 or over and are off to university either as a part-time or full-time student, Nationwide offers the best student 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. You’ll need to pay at least £500 each term, keep up with any bill payments and stay within your arranged overdraft limit.
  • Your account graduates with you when your course ends as they’ll change your account to a FlexGraduate bank account
  • You can get interest and save while you study with a savings account. 
  • You can also get £100 as a sign-up incentive if you apply for the account from 1 August 2022 and pay at least £500 by 16 December 2022.

To open an account: you need to be 18 or over; have been a UK resident for 3 or more years; not have a student account with another provider (though you may be able to switch it to Nationwide); apply no more than 5 months before or 12 months after your course start date, and pay in at least £500 per term from the date the account is opened (this can be with your student loan).

  1. Santander 123 Student Current Account

If you love freebies then Santander 123 student account is the one to go for. 

With this bank you get:

  • A free 4-year Santander 16-25 Railcard to save 1/3 on rail travel in Great Britain
  • An interest-free arranged overdraft of £1,500 in years 1-3, £1,800 in year 4 and £2,000 if you stay on to year 
  • Earn up to 15% cashback with Retailer Offers. All you need do is just switch on Retailers offers in your online or mobile banking, choose your offers and shop with any of your Santander cards
  • The chance for 200 students from any UK university, including undergraduates and postgraduates to receive a Santander grant worth £500.

The eligibility requirements include: you should be 18 or over, live in the UK permanently (this is a bit different), you are on an undergraduate course, you pay at least £500 per academic term, you don’t already have an existing Santander current account (if you do, you’ll need to transfer it).

  1. HSBC Student Bank Account

Jam-packed with perks for students, the HSBC student account helps students boss their budget while they’re studying, so they can enjoy student life to the full. With no monthly account fee! To get all the benefits you need to be 18 or over, live in the UK and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man for the past 3 years, and have proof you’ve been accepted onto a qualifying course and not have another student account elsewhere. 

Some of the perks available include getting £100 when you make a minimum of 5 qualifying transactions using the HSBC debit card linked to the account within 30 days of account opening. Furthermore, it has an interest-free overdraft of £1,000 in the first year, rising to £3,000 in the third year. The first year after graduating the interest-free limit stays at £3,000 and then reduces to £2,000 the second year after graduating.

Remember you have free £100 cash waiting for you! 

  1. NatWest Student Current Account

What is not to love about NatWest student account when you:

  • Get an offer of £80 cash and a 4-year free tastecard worth around £140. 
  • Get an interest-free overdraft of up to £2000 (£500 in the first term) with an instant online decision.
  • Can withdraw up to £130 without your card every 24 hours at their ATMs (as long as it’s within your daily withdrawal limit).
  • You can also switch using the Current Account Switch Service.
  • No monthly fee.

To be eligible you need to be 17+ and a UK Citizen or have been living in the UK for at least 3 years. You also need to be a full-time undergraduate student or you need to be completing a full-time postgraduate or nursing course lasting a year or more. 

But to get an overdraft, you need to be at least 18. 

  1. Royal Bank of Scotland Student Account

RBS offers similar advantages to NatWest when you open an account with them: 

  • An offer of £80 cash and a 4-year free tastecard. T&Cs apply.
  • Interest-free overdraft up to £2000 (£500 in the first term) with an instant online decision.
  • When you can’t find your bank card, you’ll be able to temporarily lock it while you look, and if you find it, instantly unlock your card.
  • Withdraw up to £130 without your card every 24 hours at their ATMs (as long as it’s within your daily withdrawal limit).
  • You can switch using the Current Account Switch Service.
  • No monthly fee.

And just like NatWest, to be eligible you need to be 17+ and a UK Citizen or have been living in the UK for at least 3 years. You also need to be a full-time undergraduate student or you need to be completing a full-time postgraduate or nursing course lasting a year or more. To get an overdraft, you need to be at least 18. 

  1. AIB Student+ Account

The AIB Student+ Account is designed to make it easy for you to manage your finances in college and uni, offering you peace of mind so that it doesn’t interfere with your studies or your socialising.

The features and benefits include:

  • No monthly maintenance fees during the term of the account
  • An interest-free overdraft of up to £1,850
  • No commission charge for foreign currency
  • Easy access to your money with our Visa debit card
  • Student Visa Credit Card or Student Loan facility available to help you budget during term time 
  • You can seamlessly move into the Graduate Account when you finish your studies 

This account is available as a sole account to new and existing customers aged 18 years and over who are full-time third-level university or college students or student nurses. Students on full-time vocational courses at regional colleges may also apply. These applicants must be UK residents to open an account with them.


Other banks that offer notable student accounts include Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Halifax and Barclays. Bank of Scotland and Lloyds offer students who have their student accounts a free three-year Totum card. Totum is the new name for the NUS extra student discount card which you can use for various shopping discounts. By the way, while some banks will say you should not have another student account other than the one you have with them, you could still open multiple student accounts if you so wish.

Charles is a writer, practising lawyer and personal trainer who loves learning and developing himself. He graduated from Middlesex University, London with eight first-class grades in the second and third years of his law degree, and received a postgraduate offer from Cambridge University. He loves strength training, boxing and encouraging people to succeed in their pursuits (legal ones)
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