CHESTER, England, August 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
- Avoid getting drawn in by free offers - make the most of interest free overdraft rates
With university tuition fees increasing again this Autumn, students need to make sure they make every penny count, starting with the right bank account for their needs. Britain's number one comparison site MoneySupermarket offers tips for bagging the best bank account deal and looking beyond the tempting 'freebie' incentives offered by providers.
Manage your overdraft limit
Student life can be costly, which means dipping into an overdraft can often be inevitable. HSBC and Halifax offer interest-free overdrafts of up to £3,000 over the duration of your course, compared to other providers who offer up to £2,000. Those needing an overdraft should ensure they only apply for an amount that suits their budget and not be tempted to overspend- it will have to be paid back eventually! Most banks won't offer the full overdraft facility in one go, it is usually tiered depending on the length of the course.
Check unauthorised overdraft interest rates
Students likely to go over their authorised overdraft would benefit from getting clued up on the costs of doing so beforehand. The amount charged for using an unauthorised overdraft varies greatly across providers. For example, Lloyds TSB has an 8.2 per cent EAR for its student account, while Halifax charges 24.2 per cent. Other providers, such as Santander, charge a one off payment of £5 per day, capped at 10 days per month.
Budget, Budget, Budget!
University is often the first time school leavers will manage their own finances, so getting into a habit of budgeting from the offset is essential. Setting aside rent money into a separate savings account such as The Post Office's Online Saver 6, which pays a rate of 3.01 per cent, until the rent due date will help to prevent it from being dipped into and getting left short. Student current accounts with free text alerts such as Lloyds and Barclays will help to keep control of finances even on the move.
For students who tend to stay in credit, most student current accounts pay just 0.1 per cent on balances, although Santander and HSBC offer two per cent on amounts up to £500 and £1,000 respectively.
Account benefits and 'freebies'
While many providers offer benefits such as discounts on shopping, travel or possessions insurance, it is worth checking whether you will genuinely use them to measure their value - taking a minute to shop around for these products may also help you get a better deal elsewhere. Spend time looking at all of the features on accounts, and not just the freebies.
Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket, said: "With university tuition fees set to increase yet again in the Autumn, there has never been a more crucial time for students to plan ahead and consider their finances before signing up to an account. It's important to get the ball rolling before the excitement of fresher's week kicks in, so university life can be enjoyed to the full, without financial worries when it's too late.
"Overdrafts can be confusing for school leavers heading to university, as many will not have had one before. Many students will end up relying on this facility to make ends meet between loan payments, so securing one with a decent limit is crucial. However, students should ensure they can realistically pay back any money they borrow from the bank. It's also worth noting that zero per cent deals on overdrafts tend to expire after graduation, so students need to plan how they are going get themselves back into the black, or could risk facing additional interest payments.
"Most providers offer a number of benefits such as worldwide travel insurance, laptop discount and mobile phone insurance, free music downloads or an NUS or Young Persons Railcard. Although these freebies may be useful, the value of them will be low compared to interest-free overdrafts, which should be the key focus for those considering a student account this summer."
Notes to Editors:
Credit Interest Free Interest Overdraft Limits Rate (subject to status Unauthorised Provider Account (AER) and year of study) EAR Benefits Up to GBP3,000 interest-free overdraft; Guaranteed GBP500 overdraft at account 2.00% opening; (up to 25% off GBP1,000 in Lonley Planet first year travel of guides; Student university) No overdraft Bank 0% arrangement HSBC Account thereafter GBP500 - GBP3,000 19.90% fees GBP50 1.00% cashback if (up to GBP5 a day an account is GBP500) (capped at opened before Student 0% 10 days each 30th November Santander Account thereafter GBP1,500 - GBP2,000 month) 2012 Student Current GBP1,000 - GBP3,000 Halifax Account 0.10% (from 16th August) 24.20% N/A GBP75 off a holiday booking with student travel specialists STA Travel; Free NUS extra card for three years; Discounts on over 150 high street and online brands. Free text alerts, Internet and Lloyds Student Telephone TSB Account 0.10% GBP1,500 - GBP2,000 8.21% Banking. 10% discount on Student Possessions Insurance until 31st December 2012; 10% discount on Student Travel Insurance available until 30th June 2013; Free text alerts about your account to your Personal mobile; Student Reserve Mobile Barclays Additions 0.00% up to GBP2,000 GBP22 Banking. Existing current account customers who upgrade to a Student Account will receive a free 4 year Student 16-25 NatWest Account 0.00% GBP1,000 - GBP2,000 17.81% Railcard Student Royal Royalties Bank of Current Scotland Account 0.00% GBP500 - GBP1,000 17.81% N/A
Sourced by MoneySupermarket on 02.08.12
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