September may still be a few weeks away, but for those preparing to start university, now is the ideal time to begin organising everything for the upcoming academic year.

There’s plenty to sort before you make the journey to your new home from home, whether that be buying new bedding, home essentials like kitchen items or a mirror or two, there are many items likely to be on your to do list. However, one task that’s just as crucial as the practical items is setting up a new bank account for all your university expenses.

Student bank accounts are fantastic as they offer a range of benefits, including interest-free overdrafts. Some even provide incentives such as a free railcard. But how can you determine which account is the best fit for you?

MoneySavingExpert has compiled a guide detailing their top picks for student bank accounts in 2023/24, along with the perks each one offers, reports the Daily Record.

Santander Edge Student – service rating of 55%.

  • Offer a guaranteed 0% overdraft each year, plus a FREE four-year railcard (worth £100)
  • Students get a ‘definite £1,500 0% overdraft in years one to three, provided you pay in £500+ every four months’
  • You also get a four-year railcard which gives you a third off of train ticket prices on many services – not valid in Northern Ireland.
  • To get your railcard you need to open an account and register for online banking.
  • First year students and those taking a level 4-7 apprenticeship can open one of these accounts.

NatWest Student and RBS Student – service ratings of 44% and 38% respectively.

  • Offer a ‘0% overdraft that can beat Santander after the first term – though limits aren’t guaranteed – plus a four-year Tastecard.
  • These two accounts do only start with an overall overdraft of £500 but students can get up to £2,000 from the second term until the end of second year, which goes up too £3,250.
  • You will need to be approved to get the overdraft and you need further approval for the higher overdraft amounts.
  • To get the free perks open an account and you will be sent a code via email within five days.
  • To get this account you will need to be on a UCAS course for 2+ years, a full time post-graduate course or be training as a nurse.

HSBC – service rating 37%.

  • This account is very similar to the NatWest/RBS accounts but has a slightly higher initial 0% overdraft that is definite.
  • In your first year you will get a guaranteed £1,000 overdraft.
  • The amount you get in further years will depend on your credit records and you don’t get it automatically, so will need to ask for it.
  • ‘First-year undergraduates and postgraduates, plus those on certain BTEC courses’ can open this account.

Nationwide Flex Student – Service Rating 78%.

  • In your first year Nationwide will give you a guaranteed 0% overdraft of £1,000.
  • Each year you could be able to get another £1,000, meaning in 2nd year you could get £2,000 and third year £3,000.
  • But the amount you get will depend on your credit record.
  • ‘Those on a full-time UCAS registered course of 2+ years. You can apply up to five months before – or up to one year after – your course starts.’

There are a couple of things you need to have with you when you go to set up a new student bank account. Unless you have an unconditional offer you will need to wait until you have your A-level results before setting up an account. Either way you will need proof of you offer and your A-level results along with your course code.

And you will need identification to prove your address and who you are, so a drivers licence, birth certificate or passport.