Best Student Bank Accounts 2023: How To Open A Student Bank Account

Off to university this year and ready to open a student bank account but don't know where to start? Here are some of the UK banks with the best student account perks in 2023...

Written byHolly Barrow
Published on
Read time7 min read

Starting university can be one of the most exciting times in your life, but it also comes with new responsibilities such as managing your own finances… 

Thankfully, many banks in the UK offer bank accounts tailored to students to make your financial journey smoother, however you may be wondering which student bank account is right for you and how you ought to decide between them all… 

From Lloyds and Santander to NatWest and Halifax, it can feel a little overwhelming trying to decide which bank you should open a student account with, so we’re here to talk you through the advantages of each.


What is a student bank account?

If you’re new to the world of student banking and don’t quite understand what differentiates a student account from any other current account, we’ve got you. 

A student bank account is essentially a type of account designed specifically for those in higher education and comes with a number of perks to help you whilst you’re studying. 

Becoming financially independent and learning how to budget can be a really challenging process, but you’ll find that many student bank accounts offer certain perks to help you throughout your time at university. 

What are the benefits of a student bank account?

This largely depends on the bank you decide to open an account with, however generally speaking you can expect some of the following perks with a student bank account:

  • An interest-free overdraft for a certain time period 

  • Freebies such as a railcard

  • A cash incentive for opening the account


How to open a student bank account

To open a student bank account in 2023, you’ll need a few things to confirm your status as a student in the UK.

It’s a relatively straightforward process, but you’ll likely need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must typically be aged 18 or over, although some banks may let you open a student account from the age of 17

  • You must prove that you are enrolled on a higher education course at either a college or university 

  • You have a UK address 

To prove this, you’ll usually be required to bring different forms of ID and documents that verify you’re eligible, such as:

  • One or two forms of photo ID such as your passport and/or driving licence 

  • Your university/college acceptance letter or UCAS offer letter outlining that you have been enrolled onto a specific course

  • Proof of your address such as a recent utility bill or bank statement

Which is the best student bank account in 2023?

It’s impossible to claim that one bank in particular offers the best student bank account, as they all offer unique perks that may be more suited to some than to others. 

But to help you to decide, we’ve narrowed it down to the top five student bank accounts in the UK… 




Advantages of the NatWest Student Bank Account:

You’ll start with a guaranteed £500 0% overdraft which you can request to increase after your first term to £2,000 and then to £3,250 after second year, making this easily one of the most generous student bank accounts with regards to overdraft allowance. 

The perks of a NatWest Student account include a £100 cash incentive just for opening the account plus a free four-year tastecard, giving you 2 for 1 dining at 1,000s of restaurants across the country, 50% off Pizza Delivery and loads more exclusive member perks. 

NatWest Student Bank Account eligibility criteria:

To open a NatWest student account, you must be at least 17 years old, have been living in the UK for three years or more, and be on a full-time UCAS-accredited undergraduate course of 2+ years, a full-time post-graduate course, or training to be a nurse.



Advantages of the HSBC Student Bank Account:

HSBC is renowned for offering one of the largest student bank account overdrafts in the country, with all students able to get a £1,000 0% interest overdraft in year one, and this rising to £2,000 in year two and £3,000 in year three. 

Other perks of HSBC’s Student Bank Account include:

  • You can get £100 in cash upon opening a student account with HSBC

  • You can enjoy a free one-year subscription to Headspace, the science-backed meditation and mindfulness app

The £100 cash bonus is the highest value sign up incentive this year, which is why we’ve placed this at the top of our list. This will be an extremely attractive perk to many students

HSBC Student Bank Account eligibility criteria:

You can open a HSBC Student Bank Account if you're aged 18 or over, live in the UK and have lived in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for the past 3 years and have proof that you've been accepted onto a qualifying course. 



Advantages of the Santander 123 Student Bank Account:

With Santander, most students will get a 0% overdraft of £1,500 in years one to three, increasing to £1,800 and £2,000 in years four and five for those with extended courses.

One of the main perks of the Santander 123 Student Bank Account is that you’ll receive a free 4-year 16-25 Railcard, helping you to save ⅓ on rail travel across the country. 

This is a huge selling point for students who will be commuting or regularly travelling home by train, as the average 16-25 Railcard holder saves on average £190 per year on rail fare!

Other perks of the Santander 123 Student Bank Account include cashback, vouchers, prize draws and personalised offers. 


Santander 123 Student Bank Account eligibility criteria:

To be eligible for a Santander Student Bank Account, you must be aged 18 or over, live in the UK permanently, and be studying or about to begin an undergraduate course that is at least 2 years in length, or a level 4 to 7 apprenticeship.

You’ll also have to make sure you pay at least £500 into your account every four months. 



Advantages of the Nationwide FlexStudent Bank Account:

Nationwide’s FlexStudent account offers a generous 0% overdraft of £1,000 in year one, £2,000 in year two and up to £3,000 in year three, though it’s important to note that these increases depend on your credit history. 

With Nationwide, you’ll get £100 cashback for opening the account (which you’ll receive if you successfully apply for a FlexStudent on or after 1st August 2023 and pay in at least £500 by 15th December 2023).

Nationwide Student Bank Account eligibility criteria:

To qualify, you’ll need to be 18 or over, have been a UK resident for three years or more and have enrolled on a full-time UCAS registered course of 2+ years. It’s important to note you can only apply up to five months before or up to one year after your course starts.


Can you have multiple student bank accounts?

Usually, the terms and conditions of your account will state that you cannot open multiple student bank accounts. It’s typically a condition of receiving the perks of a student bank account that you’ll use this as your primary account, paying your student loan into the account. 

Save money during university with TOTUM 

Need help with budgeting as a student? TOTUM Talks is here to offer you all the best tips, tricks and advice on everything from money management throughout university to quick and easy student recipes, uni outfit inspo and more… 

As a TOTUM member, you’ll make huge savings on pretty much everything, from travel and fashion to entertainment and groceries

Join the TOTUM club!

Join TOTUM Student for FREE to access hundreds of student discounts on big-name brands like ASOS, Apple, MyProtein, boohoo, Samsung, and more!

Sign up for FREE, download the TOTUM app, and enjoy the latest offers, vouchers, coupons and more at your fingertips. Find out more.

Download The TOTUM App

Google PlayStoreApple App Store
Join TOTUM and download our app

Stories like this

Related offers