As young people all over the UK start preparing for the big move to uni, Which? can reveal that Santander and Nationwide have been rated the best student bank account providers in a survey of thousands of undergraduates.
Student bank accounts generally offer a 0% overdraft, alongside a range of other perks, for the duration of your course.
YouthSight, on behalf of Which?, surveyed 5,000 undergraduate students at UK universities between 22 March and 6 April 2018, and 3,379 of the students in the survey told us about their student banks accounts.
We reveal which banks topped the table to become Which? Recommend Providers and which ones fell short.
Best student bank accounts
Students placed Santander at the very top with a customer score of 75%, while Nationwide followed closely behind with 72%. Both are now Which? Recommended Providers for student bank accounts.
While Santander was a strong favourite, and earned five stars for sign-up benefits, customers of Nationwide raved about its customer service – it was the only provider awarded five stars for this.
The building society also guarantees the maximum overdraft advertised (as long as you pay in £500 per term to remain eligible for a 0% overdraft). For 2018, Nationwide is offering an interest-free overdraft of £1,000 in year one, £2,000 in year two and £3,000 in year three.
All other providers assess eligibility for interest-free overdrafts on an individual basis, so you may not be offered the full amount publicised.
You can read our full analysis in our guide to the best and worst student accounts.
Worst student bank accounts
Sitting at the bottom of our table are TSB (55%) and Royal Bank of Scotland (54%), both of which were given two-star ratings for complaints-handling by customers.
In our survey, students with TSB and Bank of Scotland proved to be the least satisfied when it came to overall customer service, with both banks receiving only two stars.
And, while most providers earned four stars for online and mobile banking, HSBC was a notable exception, earning three stars for both.
For a full breakdown of star ratings and details of this year’s best and worst accounts, take a look at our student banking table.
How to find the best student account
Almost a third (31%) of students told us they don’t have a student bank account, and as a result may be missing out on generous 0% interest overdrafts as well as perks such as free travel cards.
We’ve got some simple tips below to help you choose the right account for you.
You can get a breakdown of your likely university costs using the Which? University student budget calculator.
For more tips on prepping your finances for uni, check out six ways to get money-ready for uni.