The best postgraduate bank accounts – bank accounts for graduates

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If you’re studying for a postgraduate degree, such as a Masters, or PhD, which bank account is the best one for you?

Bank of Scotland: there is no specific postgraduate account.

If you already have a student account with Bank of Scotland and you start a postgraduate course straight after your undergraduate degree, you may be able to keep your student account for up to six years (that includes the time you spent doing your undergraduate degree).

If you don’t start your postgraduate degree straight after your undergraduate degree, your student account will be converted to a graduate account.

SAVVY TIP: You can find details of Bank of Scotland’s student account in my article called The best student bank account for 2017-18.

What the graduate account offers: You can get an interest-free overdraft of up to £1,500 in years one to three, £2,000 in years four to six. You can go overdrawn by up to £500 in the first six months, £1,000 in months seven to nine and £1,500 after that.

Extras: You can get a free NUS extra card (now called Totum) for up to three years if you apply and open your account before 31st October 2018. A three year card normally costs £32. You can also get cashback of up to 15% on selected purchases with Everyday Offers.

 

Charges for borrowing more:If you go beyond your planned overdraft, you’ll pay a daily overdraft fee of 1p for every £7 you borrow. You will be charged at the end of each day you use your overdraft

Opening the account: The Graduate Account is only available to Bank of Scotland Student Account customers whose account will change to a Graduate Account after graduation. You’ll need to be a permanent UK resident, must have graduated in the last three years with a degree from a UK-based university and you must have confirmation of graduation.

Halifax: does not have a graduate or postgraduate account.

As with Bank of Scotland, if you already have a student account with Halifax, and you start your postgraduate course straightaway, you may be able to keep your Halifax student account for a few more years (up to six years in all, including the time you spent doing your undergraduate degree).

What the account offers: Fee-free planned overdraft up to £1,500 for the length of your course.

 Cost of borrowing more: you will be charged a daily overdraft fee of 1p for every £7 you borrow, over your fee-free amount.

Opening the account: You can apply online, but will need to go to a branch once your application is successful. You will need to bring with you your UCAS confirmation letter (original or print out), proof of ID and proof of address.

 

HSBC: there is no specific postgraduate bank account. If you’re a postgraduate student you can use HSBC’s Student Bank Account. However you must have completed an undergraduate degree in the UK in the last three years and will need a graduation certificate, diploma or letter from a university or college as proof. The account is also available to those taking higher apprenticeships (level 4+).

SAVVY TIP: HSBC says that postgraduate degrees (for example PhD, MBA, MSc, PGCE and MPhil) are all qualifying courses for their Student Bank Account. Normally, your student account would be converted to a graduate bank account, unless you get in touch with HSBC and tell them you’re doing a further degree.

What the account offers: up to £1,000 interest-free overdraft for the first year, up to £2,000 in the second year and up to £3,000 in the third year, subject to status and account conduct.

Cost of borrowing more: If you go into an unauthorised overdraft you will not be charged, but you will be required to bring your account back to your agreed limit.

Extras: There’s a free £80 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card and a year’s worth of Amazon Prime Student if you open the account before December 31st 2018. You can apply for a student credit card with a credit limit of £500 (18.9% APR) and if you apply before 15th October 2018, you will get a £20 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card. If you open a Regular Saver (between £25 and £250 per month), you’ll earn 3% interest up to £3,000 for 12 months. You can also access discounts on the student exclusives website.

 Opening the account: You don’t need to have had a student account with HSBC in the past to qualify for this account as a postgraduate. You’ll need to be 18 or over, have lived in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man in the last three years, have proof of address and ID if you don’t already have an HSBC bank account and have a letter confirming when you graduated and that you’ve been accepted onto a postgrad course. You can apply online or in a branch.

Lloyds Bank: there is no specific postgraduate account.

As with Bank of Scotland, if you already have a Lloyds Bank student account and you start a postgraduate course straight after your undergraduate degree, you may be able to keep your student account for up to six years (that includes the time you spent doing your undergraduate degree).

As with Bank of Scotland and Halifax, if you already have a Lloyds Bank student account and you start a postgraduate course straight after your undergraduate degree, you may be able to keep your student account for up to six years (that includes the time you spent doing your undergraduate degree).

What the account offers: Fee-free overdraft of up to £1,500 in years one to three and £2,000 in years four to six.

Cost of borrowing more: You’ll be charged a daily overdraft fee of 1p for every £7 you borrow, over your fee-free amount.

Extras: You can get a free NUS extra card (now called Totum) for up to three years if you apply and open your account before 31st October 2018. A three year card normally costs £32. You can also get cashback of up to 15% on selected purchases with Everyday Offers.

Opening the account: You must be a UK resident, studying full-time on a course of at least two years’ duration, or a one year full time access course leading to a degree.

Nationwide Building Society: You can use Nationwide’s Flexstudent Account if you’re studying for a postgraduate degree. When you’re doing your undergraduate degree, you’ll be contacted by Nationwide and moved onto a Flexgraduate Account unless you tell them that you’re doing a postgraduate degree.

What the account offers: An interest-free overdraft of up to £3,000. You can get an overdraft of up to £1,000 in your first year, £2,000 in the second year and £3,000 in the third year (if your course is that long). You should get this overdraft automatically as long as you pay in at least £500 during each year of study and ‘stay in control of your finances’.

Cost of borrowing more: There are no additional charges if you go beyond your student overdraft limit but Nationwide says you can’t borrow more than the amount that’s been agreed.

Extras: You get cashback with ‘Simply Rewards’ on big brands if you pay with your Visa debit or credit card. You can also use Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. You can earn interest of 1% on balances up to £1,000.

Opening the account: You have to be 18 years or older to apply for the Nationwide FlexStudent Account and don’t already have a student account with another provider (or if you do, you agree to move it to Nationwide). You must have been accepted for a full-time UCAS course at a UK institution for at least two years. You must be within two months of your course start date (either before or after it’s started). You can apply online and you need to provide details of your course and the university you’re going to.

NatWest Bank: The student account can be used when you study for a postgraduate degree.

What the account offers: Interest-free arranged overdraft of up to £500 in the first term and up to £2,000 after that. You can also access your account via their mobile banking app and use GetCash, which can be used in an emergency to withdraw money without a bankcard.

Cost of borrowing more: You’ll be charged £8 for a refused payment if there is not enough money in your account. Natwest caps charges at £8 a month for unpaid transactions.

Extras: You can choose between one of the following three offers:

  • A free National Express Young Person’s Coachcard for four years (which usually costs £30 for three years if you buy it online). It gives you a third off the cost of coach travel.
  • One year’s Amazon Prime student membership and £10 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card.
  • A tastecard, which gets you 50% off food or two for one meals in thousands of restaurants, valid for four years (smartphone is required). A tastecard usually costs £79.99 for one year.

You can also apply for a student credit card with a credit limit of £500 (18.9% APR).

 Opening the account: To apply for a NatWest student bank account you must be aged 17 or over and you must be doing a full-time postgraduate course. You must be 18 or over in order to get an overdraft. The account is only available online.

RBS: The student account can be used when you study for a postgraduate degree.

 What the account offers: an interest-free overdraft of up to £500 in the first term, and up to £2,000 after that. You can access your account via their mobile banking app and use their Emergency Cash service, which is a way to withdraw money in an emergency without a bankcard.

Cost of borrowing more: You’ll be charged £8 for a refused payment if there is not enough money in your account. RBS caps charges at £8 a month for unpaid transactions.

Extras: You can choose between one of the following three offers:

  • A free National Express Young Person’s Coachcard for four years (which usually costs £30 for three years if you buy it online). It gives you a third off the cost of coach travel.
  • One year’s Amazon Prime student membership and £10 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card.
  • A tastecard, which gets you 50% off food or two for one meals in thousands of restaurants, valid for four years (smartphone is required). A tastecard usually costs £79.99 for one year.

You can also apply for a student credit card with a credit limit of £500 (18.9% APR).

Opening the account: To apply for an RBS student bank account you must be aged 17 or over and you must be doing full-time postgraduate course. You must be 18 or over in order to get an overdraft. The account is only available online.

Santander: In July 2018, Santander removed their postgraduate account. They told us that new postgraduates can apply for 123, 123 Lite and Everyday accounts, but they are not eligible for the 123 Student account.

Santander’s Everyday current account offers the following:

What the account offers: Arranged overdraft fee (subject to status).

 Cost of borrowing more: You won’t pay more than £50 in charges per month.

Extras: You can earn up to 15% cashback with Retailer Offers when you use your Santander Visa debit card at a range of major retailers.

Opening the account: You can apply online.

TSB: The student account can be used when you study for a postgraduate degree. If you already have a TSB Student account, you can extend the account by up to three years and receive the benefits of the account that are valid in year three.

If you are new to the bank, you can still open a Student Bank account, as long as you provide the usual evidence they are a student.

SAVVY WARNING!: TSB has been having huge problems after its disastrous IT platform migration in April. Up to 1.9 million TSB customers were locked out of their accounts, others reported fraud on their accounts and some have had problems getting replacement cards. TSB’s Trustpilot rating is currently 0.7 out of 10.

 What the account offers: You can have an interest and fee-free tiered planned overdraft of up to £1,510. Starting with £500 for the first six months and then apply to increase it to £1,010 in months seven to nine and from month ten up to £1,510.

 Cost of borrowing more: You’ll be charged interest at 8.21% if you go over your arranged overdraft limit.

Extras: The account offers Apple Pay and Google Pay, mobile banking and a £10 overdraft buffer. You can also apply for a credit card with a £500 limit (19.9% APR). You can get 5% (AER) interest on balances up to £500, paid by the 10th working day of each month.

 Opening the account: You have to be 18 or over and must be a permanent UK resident.

Related articles:

The best student bank account for 2018-19

Student accommodation; know your rights when you’re renting a student house or flat

Buying a property for your student son or daughter; what to do and what to avoid

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