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Best Checking Accounts For College Students

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Written by Kimberly Linhares

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August 17, 2021

Focusing on your studies and maximizing your available opportunities are likely your largest priorities as a college student. With those responsibilities at hand, selecting the right bank account for your funds should be a small task in comparison. While your funds may be limited during your college years, selecting the best banks for students with limited or no fees can make all the difference, along with offering excellent features to complement your lifestyle. Choosing the best student checking accounts is the first step in learning how to manage finance. Be aware of personal finances, and a smart decision early on can go a long way to making life easier during those heady student years. Here is a list of the best checking accounts for college students

Best Checking Accounts For College Students

The Best Bank Accounts for College Students

Nationwide FlexStudent Account 

Nationwide’s FlexStudent account is one of the few regular student bank accounts that’s also available to international students. It is one of the best checking accounts for college students. There are several benefits that come with having a fully-fledged bank account. But, with the best student bank accounts in particular, the big bonus is the interest and fee-free overdraft. This means that you can responsibly borrow money from your overdraft without having to pay for the privilege. You won’t have to worry about repaying it until you’ve graduated.

The FlexStudent account comes with one of the biggest overdrafts of all student bank accounts, up to £3,000 in your final year. Although it’s worth noting that this amount is by no means guaranteed. How big an overdraft you’re offered depends on factors such as your individual credit history. Being an international student may also reduce the amount you receive or make you ineligible.

However, the reason why Nationwide’s FlexStudent account is ranked so highly for international students, is that the transfer fees associated with the account are low.  free to send and receive money into this account in any currency, from any country in the world.

How Much Are Nationwide’s International Transfer Fees?

  • Sending money abroad in all currencies: Free
  • Receiving money from abroad in all currencies: Free.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Be a UK resident
  • Have been accepted onto or have an unconditional offer for a full-time UK university course of at least 2 years.

NatWest Select Account

NatWest used to offer an account specifically for international students in the UK. Similar to the NatWest Student Current Account, this account came with sign-up incentives. Sadly, that account is no longer available. But the good news is that you can still apply for a NatWest Select Account, which is a great choice in its own right. For beginners, this account comes with the option of an overdraft. However, unlike student bank accounts, this overdraft will charge interest where you’ll end up repaying more than you borrow. What’s more, as with any overdraft, there’s no guarantee that everyone who applies for one will be accepted.

Unlike the international student account that NatWest previously offered, the Select Account is free to open and use, there is no monthly fee required to maintain the account. But as an international student, you’ll want to send and receive money from overseas as cheaply as possible. With NatWest’s Select Account, the international transfer fees are very low. In the case of sending money abroad, you’ll only pay if you need the money to be sent quickly. Hence, it is considered one of the best checking accounts for college students.

How Much Are NatWest’s International Transfer Fees?

  • Sending money abroad in all currencies (standard): Free
  • Sending money abroad in all currencies (urgent): £15
  • Receiving money from abroad in euros: Free
  • Receiving money from abroad in all other currencies: £1 to receive under £100 and £7 for amounts £100 or greater.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Be a UK resident

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RBS Select Account

Like NatWest being the best checking accounts for college students, the RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) is part of the same banking group as NatWest. Both having a Select Account, the terms and the fees are pretty much the same too. Despite the name, RBS branches can be found across the UK, not just in Scotland. If you like the look of the terms of the Select Account and you’re unsure whether to go with RBS or NatWest, it might be wise to see which bank has a branch located close to your university.

So, if you ever need to speak to someone in person or deposit some cash, you won’t have to travel too far. Like NatWest’s Select Account, this offering from RBS also comes with the option of an overdraft. But again, how big an overdraft you get depends on your personal circumstances, and there will be interest charged on the amount you borrow. The international transfer fees associated with RBS’ Select Account are the same as NatWest’s, but here they are again for good measure.

How Much Are RBS’ International Transfer Fees?

  • Sending money abroad in all currencies (standard): Free
  • Sending money abroad in all currencies (urgent): £15
  • Receiving money from abroad in euros: Free
  • Receiving money from abroad in all other currencies: £1 to receive under £100 and £7 for amounts £100 or greater.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Be a UK resident.

HSBC Bank Account

Although not an international students bank account by name…it is one of the  best checking accounts for college students. HSBC does market its Bank Account to anyone studying from overseas. This account comes with the option of an overdraft but note that this isn’t a student bank account, so this luxury won’t be interest- or fee-free. And, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be approved for an overdraft in the first place.

How Much Are HSBC’s International Transfer Fees?

  • Sending money abroad to HSBC accounts: Free
  • Sending money to non-HSBC accounts in EEA countries in euros: Free
  • Sending money to non-HSBC accounts in all other countries and currencies: £4
  • Receiving money from EEA countries in euros: Free
  • Receiving money from foreign non-EEA countries in pounds: Free to receive under £100, £6 to receive £100 or more
  • Receiving money from all other countries in all currencies: Free to receive under £100, £8 to receive £100 or more.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Have proof of address in the UK
  • Have proof you’ve been accepted onto a qualifying course at a UK university or college. A letter confirming this can also act as your proof of address

PS: If there’s anything more you’d like us to know about. Add it to the comments section!

Thank you for reading this blog on ‘Best Checking Accounts For College Students’ If you’d like to read more, here are some blogs that might be of interest to you:

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