If you’re moving on to higher education, you may get a student bank account to manage your finances. The main difference between current and student accounts is the interest-free overdraft facility that can give you financial breathing space during and after your university years. Barclays proposes several types of accounts for both UK and international students.
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Barclays’ student accounts are designed for people enrolled in an undergraduate university program that lasts at least 2 years, a post-graduate program of at least 1 year and higher apprentices of level 4 or above¹. If you’re an international student doing an undergraduate qualification that will last at least 2 academic years (full time) or a post-graduate qualification of 1 year or more, Barclays has a special account for you³.
Apprentices and (international) students can start their application online, then visit a branch with proof of their student status, identity, and address¹.
Graduates must either book an appointment or head to their local branch to discuss their needs with an operator².
Regardless of what type of account you want to open, you’ll have to show the bank⁴:
- Proof of your identity (passport, UK driving license, national ID photocard, foreign photocard driving license, UK Armed Forces ID card)
- Proof of your current UK address (UK driving license, utility or Council Tax Bill, bank or credit card statement, TV license letter or Direct Debit schedule)
- Proof of your student status (student ID card or UCAS letter)
- If you’re a Higher Apprentice (apprentice agreement and commitment statement)
- If you’re applying for a Graduate account (proof of completed studies, such as, a degree certificate)
You can use your UK driving license either as proof of ID or proof of address, not both. However, if you have a valid letter from your university that shows both your current address and your confirmed place at the university, you can use that to prove both your address and your student status⁴.
Barclays currently offers three types of accounts suitable for UK students, international students, and graduates.
Barclays dedicates this account to UK students and higher apprentices aged 18 or over, who’ve lived in the UK for at least 3 years. It gives you the possibility to apply for a fee-free overdraft of up to £500 from day one and increase it up to £3,000 by your third year of study¹.
Besides the prospect of benefiting from some financial flexibility, the account will give you an array of other advantages including mobile banking, pay on the go via Apple Pay or Contactless Mobile, and even cashback opportunities¹.
Through Barclays’ Pingit app, you'll even be able to send money to family and friends fee-free in over 40 countries and directly from your messaging app, by using only the recipient’s mobile number⁵.
Together with the account, you'll also receive a bespoke debit card that you can personalise for free with your favourite image¹.
International students who live in the UK can opt for Barclays’ international student current account. This account comes with mobile and online banking, pay on the go, fast and secure money transfer via Pingit, and cashback opportunities, but it has no arranged overdrafts³.
You can apply if you live in the UK, study for an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification, and plan to use this account as your main bank account³.
If you’re an international student looking for the best banking solution, you could also check out the borderless multi-currency account from TransferWise. This account lets you keep more than 40 currencies and open virtual accounts in GBP, EUR, USD, AUD, and NZD; you can use it to receive or make fee-free or cheap local and international payments. You can also order a linked debit card for easy access to your money.
The higher education account from Barclays is an account designed to help graduates with life after university. As opposed to the student additions account, this account comes with a fee-free arranged overdraft limit of £3,000 in the first year, which progressively decreases to £1,000 by your third year after graduation².
With this account, you'll also be able to register for mobile, online, and telephone banking, get free text alerts to your mobile, and add extras like travel or gadget insurance for a monthly fee².
You can also join Barclays Blue Rewards program to earn monthly rewards or cashback on eligible purchases⁶.
Barclays opens student bank accounts to both UK and international students, but you’ll have to meet specific eligibility criteria. The requirements are easy to reach though. To qualify for a student account with Barclays, you must be studying full-time for an undergraduate qualification for at least 2 academic years or a post-graduate diploma for 1 or more years¹⁺³.
You have to live in the UK and be able to provide proof of address. Overdrafts are subject to application, status, and lending criteria, so you'll also have to give a 3 years’ address history for Barclays to conduct all necessary credit checks¹. This requirement doesn’t apply to international students, as the bank will unlikely approve an overdraft application in this case. You must also be at least 18 years old and provide proof of your student status alongside an approved proof of identity and your Barclays student account has to be your main bank account¹⁺³.
The bank will upgrade your student account to graduate account automatically after you’ve finished your studies². If you’ve graduated already and didn’t have a student bank account with Barclays, you can apply for a Higher Education Account if you're a UK resident aged 18 or over and have completed a full-time higher education program in the UK in the past 3 years.
Barclays charges no fees for opening and maintaining a student account, or on arranged overdrafts of up to £3,000. Cash withdrawals and debit card payments in GBP are also free, but the bank will charge you on the services and transactions in the table below⁷.
|Standing order||No fee|
| Sending money within the UK|| |
| Sending money outside the UK|| |
| Receiving money from outside the UK|| |
| Arranged overdraft|| |
| Cash withdrawals outside the UK (in foreign currency)|| |
| Paying with your debit card in a foreign currency|| |
Barclays allows you to have an overdraft on your Student Additions or Higher Education account. As long as you meet all criteria to open a student or graduate account with Barclays, you can apply for an overdraft either in branch or by calling 03457 345 345. If you use mobile banking, you can tap the Call Us button directly in your app instead of calling the above number⁸.
Overdrafts are subject to application and status, and you’ll have to provide a 3 years’ address history for credit check purposes. If Barclays approves your student account overdraft application, you’ll get fee-free overdraft limits¹:
• Up to £500 on account opening
• Up to £1,000 in year 1
• Up to £2,000 in year 2
• Up to £3,000 in year 3 and beyond
Barclays may also offer arranged overdrafts of up to £3,000 with your graduate account, but the fee-free limit will depend on how long it’s been since you graduated. You'll be charged £0.50 per day if your overdraft balance exceeds your fee-free threshold between £1000 and £2,000 or £1 per day if your balance exceeds £2,000 ².
Whether you’re a UK or international student, opening a student account with Barclays can give you a wealth of benefits as long as you’re not planning to use multiple currencies. If you do, a TransferWise borderless multi-currency account could be a valid alternative designed to help you manage your finances in the best possible way.
Sources used for this article:
*All sources checked on March 18, 2019
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