Many new students wonder if opening a new bank account specifically for students is worth the hassle, but financially, it always makes sense. A student bank account is a bank account that is only available to students in higher education and the main incentive for opening a student bank account is an interest-free overdraft, although some banks offer some other perks to students as well.
As a fee-free overdraft can be very difficult to obtain later in life it can be worth taking advantage of one, especially as most students find that they need it at some point during their studies. Halifax offers a fee-free arranged overdraft with their Student Bank Account¹ but that’s not the only thing there is to know about the account. You should also take into consideration any fees that you might have to pay, and if you’re eligible to open a student bank account with Halifax. This article will cover that, and more.
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Before you get started, a bit of information about international payments.
Going to university can be expensive. Classes you have to pay for, books you have to buy and, if possible, you want to enjoy student life as well. Maybe you’ve been saving money to go and study abroad, or you have family or friends who are helping you out, either way, sending money abroad can be a costly business.
Banks and money transfer providers often give you a bad exchange rate to make extra profits, and most of them use intermediary banks to send your money across borders. All of this can add up pretty quick. However, there’s an alternative.
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If you’d like to apply for a student account with Halifax you can start the process online by filling in the details in the online application form. You’ll need to be in full-time higher education (enrolled in a degree course or the equivalent) and over the age of 18 ¹.
Once you've successfully completed the online application form, you can complete the process by visiting a branch of Halifax to provide the needed documentation. The documents you should bring with you, are¹:
- Confirmation of your UCAS number (a letter or printout)
- A document that confirms you live on the address you listed. This proof of address document can, for example, be a utility bill that’s dated within the last 6 months
- Proof of your identification. This could be a current passport or your driving license
All Halifax bank accounts are agreed subject to status and the bank does perform credit checks on people applying for a student account², and sometimes students with insufficient data to prove their creditworthiness may have their application declined, even though they may have never been in debt.
If you’re not entirely sure what your credit score might be, you can contact the credit agencies that Halifax use to get your credit details. This way you can get a better overview of what information they have on you. In case some information is missing or wrong, you can request them directly to change it, before you apply for a bank account².
Halifax currently only has one student bank account, its Student Bank Account, which comes with a contactless Visa debit card. It doesn’t currently offer a credit card connected to the Student Bank Account³.
You can make or receive international payments from or into the account and there are a host of other benefits, making the Halifax Student Bank Account appealing to students.
These benefits include¹⁺³:
- Up to £1500 fee-free overdraft facility for a maximum of six years (the length of your course plus one year after you graduate)
- The ability to make cash withdrawals
- A monthly interest payment of 0.10 percent AER on any credit balance
- 24/7 online banking
- Up to 15 percent cash back in selected places, once you've registered and activated Cashback Extras⁴
- No monthly fees
- Part of the Save the Change scheme, which encourages the development of healthy finance habits⁵
The Halifax Student Account website states that applicants must be 18 or older and registered for a degree course, or a full time education that is the equivalent to a degree course¹. International students are not currently eligible for the Halifax Student Account, although it may be worth visiting your local branch and chatting to an advisor about your options⁶. Most providers only offer student accounts to UK citizens or those who can prove they've lived in the UK for the last three years.
If you're an international student looking to study in the UK there are other options out there for you, such as TransferWise, for example. With TransferWise you can not only make international payments with the real mid-market exchange rate, but you can also open a borderless multi-currency account.
The borderless account is similar to a bank account, you can receive money in your balances in British pounds, euros and US, Australian and New Zealand dollars. It’s easy to convert between these, and several other currencies (over 40 currencies in total), within your own account whenever you need to, of course with the mid-market exchange rate as well. You might also be eligible to get a debit card connected to your account, which you can use all over the world, in order to make your life easier.
The good news is that there are no fees to open or maintain the Halifax Student Account, but there some other fees that you should take into account. Here’s an overview of some of the most important ones⁷:
|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|| |
Yes, it does and it’s one of the main features of the student account. If you're eligible for the account - are aged 18, in full-time higher education and have passed the credit checks - you should be allowed an interest-free overdraft of up to £1500. It's important to stay within the overdraft limit as you might find that payments are refused and you're unable to use your debit card to make payments. And as you can see from the above table, you’ll also be charged a daily fee on the amount exceeding your fee-free overdraft amount.
After you've graduated, or one year after you leave your course, you'll need to repay any remaining overdraft or monthly charges will be applied.
Halifax Student Bank Account certainly has the ability to make your life as a student financially easier as it has a generous fee-free overdraft facility and many other appealing features. However, before you decide on any bank account, it’s always sensible to consider the options you have with other banks, or even alternative providers such as TransferWise, so you can make an informed decision on what is the best account to go for in your specific situation.
Sources used for this article:
*All sources checked on March 13, 2019
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