Best student bank accounts for 2021/22 university year - from 0% overdraft limits to free perks

Student accounts from Santander, HSBC, Nationwide, NatWest, and Lloyds Bank compared

Student ponders banking accounts for further education studies. (Pic: Shutterstock)

With the new university year just around the corner, many students will be taking a look at their finances.

So, whether you’re planning the next 12 months of study or four years, you want a bank account that suits your needs.

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The good news is there’s plenty on offer from high street banks - here’s a quick guide to the top student accounts on the market.

Please be aware you’ll most likely need to be a first year student and have proof of acceptance to a university or further education course.

Santander 123 student account

  • 0% overdraft each year
  • free four-year railcard

This offers students staggered overdraft limits over five years - from £1,500 in years one to three, £1,800 in year four and £2,000 in year five.

Account holders will benefit from a free four-year railcard valid for people aged 16 to 25, which offers a third off many rail tickets (and worth about £100).

There are conditions to meet such as paying at least £500 into the account each term.

HSBC student account

  • 0% overdraft each year
  • £80 in cash
  • £20 Uber Eats voucher or one-year Asos Premier membership

Overdraft limits increase steadily over three years - from up to £1,000 in year one, up to £2,000 in year two and up to £3,000 in year three and beyond.

These limits are not guaranteed, however, and will be dependent on credit record - and you’ll need to ask to increase the limit at each juncture.

Perks include £80 cash, plus a choice of either a £20 Uber Eats voucher or a one-year Asos Premier membership (usually £9.95).

Nationwide student account

  • 0% overdraft each year

Overdraft limits are not guaranteed, though, and will be dependent on credit record - and you’ll need to ask to increase the limit every year.

Conditions include paying a minimum of £500 into the account per term.

NatWest student card

  • 0% overdraft each year
  • £50 cash
  • Four-year Tastecard

Interest free overdraft rising from £500 in first term to up to £2,000 for the rest of your time studying at university.

Perks include £50 cash paid into your account and a Tastecard, which is valid for up to four years with the account.

The Tastecard offers 2-for-1 and 50% off food bills at thousands of UK restaurants and discounts at the cinema.

Lloyds Bank student card

  • 0% overdraft each year
  • Free Totum card for three years
  • Cashback at selected retailers

Apply for a tiered arranged overdraft of up to £1,500 in years one to three and up to £2,000 in years four to six.

The Totum card offers 10% off at The Co-op, 25% off Odeon student priced tickets and discounts on a variety of other businesses, including Apple. Cashback of up to 15% when using VISA debit card at selected retailers, including Costa, Hilton, Sky, The Co-op and others.