Check the benefits
It is easy to be overwhelmed by the task of choosing between accounts that all seem to offer different benefits and incentives. One of the first things you can look at to make the job of choosing easier is the availability of interest-free overdraft facilities. As a student it is highly likely you will need to access an overdraft at some point and you don’t want to be charged high fees when you slip into the red. Interest-free overdrafts are useful but you also need to check how long the facility lasts once you graduate, so you can continue to benefit even if you still owe money when your course comes to an end.
Don’t be dazzled by free gifts
Bank accounts for students offer a wide variety of incentives for students looking to open a new account. It’s not surprising that banks offer cashback, train tickets, music downloads, money off foreign holidays, discount cards, and other incentives to attract students – students are likely to stay with the bank long after they graduate, so it pays to get them onboard as soon as possible. Incentives more than pay for themselves from the bank’s perspective but you need to make them work for your needs, too.
Try not to make a decision based solely on the extras an account gives you – for example the free tickets and other non-financial benefits. You may get a lot of free stuff but end up paying more in the long run to have your money in that particular bank. Check the small print carefully before you make a decision and avoid the gimmicks.
Check your entitlements
As well as deciding which bank account you need to handle your money, check that you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to. It is a good idea to check with your university whether you are entitled to any funding, and make sure you have exhausted all options for claiming money to help you through your first years at college. The right bank account can help you save money as well as be a place for you to store any money you get.