Cash incentives on student accounts squeezed

By Kevin Peachey
Personal finance correspondent, BBC News

  • Published
StudentImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Student bank accounts are often a competitive area

The generosity of cash incentives and interest rates on student bank accounts has been squeezed for the upcoming academic year, analysis shows.

Banks are offering no more than £80 as a welcome for opening a new account, financial data company Defaqto said.

Previous years have seen many banks offer £100 upfront to new students joining up.

Student bank accounts have tended to be a highly competitive sector as many stay loyal to the same bank thereafter.

Young people are also more likely to eat into an overdraft. creating a source of income for banks in the subsequent years.

Student accounts often give interest-free overdrafts. The amount offered can be staggered so that it increases over the term of the account.

For those with money in the account, only two providers are offering any interest on balances with student accounts.

Katie Brain, banking expert at Defaqto, said: "Banks know that graduates are likely to be good customers, potentially earning higher salaries after university, and this is why the student bank account incentives are so generous.

"For anyone about to sign up, consider how you can access your account, and weigh up the benefits against any charges you are likely to be hit with. University life can be expensive and it's important to make the most of every pound you have."

Image source, Getty Images

The highest cash incentive to start an account is £80, with others offering £50.

Several banks are offering cashback at certain retailers when students shop there, Defaqto said.

It also said that the functionality of mobile and internet banking varied between providers.

Last week, a survey by the website Save the Student suggested that three-quarters of those asked had considered dropping out of university. Some 41% of those said money was a key factor in their difficulties.

The survey found that the typical student faced a shortfall of £340 every month, as maintenance loans failed to cover the average monthly living expenses of £810.