Student bank accounts
Banks will tempt you in Freshers' Week with offers of inflatable chairs and mobile phones. In time, however, you're likely to repay them for it with interest. To help you decide which one to choose, read on.
- If you know where you are going to study, look at which banks have branches there. Ask how far they are from campus and halls, and what services are on offer. Remember you will probably move each year so one that you can access easily wherever you are in the city would be handy.
- A lot of the big banks will have a monopoly on campus because they funded a building such as the on-campus theatre and no other cash points will be present. If your campus is centrally based this won't pose a problem but if it is a way out, the charge you could incur on taking money out of another bank's cash machine could soon add up.
- Find out the important bits; how big is your free overdraft facility and does it increase each year? How flexible are they with problems where you may need a little extra cash? If you have friends of siblings that are students or recently have been then find out who they banked with and how they found it.
- Internet banking facilities can make your life a million times easier. You won't have to skip lunch to queue at the bank, and could even sort your money out on returning from the pub. Telephone banking is another alternative if you don't have a branch nearby.
- Do you get a credit card and a switch card? What are your limits and pay back rates? Credit cards are great for booking that holiday, but make sure you can afford to pay off the minimum payments each month. Otherwise, credit turns nasty.
- Find out which other banks will let you use their cash points without charging you, and which ones to try and avoid.
- Is the bank in question open on Saturdays? This may be less of an issue with the rise of telephone banking and online facilities, but if you lose your wallet at a club on Friday and need money for the weekend, being able to sleep off your hangover and head into the bank in the afternoon would be helpful!
When you've weighed up all the options and narrowed it down to two, then let all those freebies sway you into choosing the final one.
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