Which student accounts have the best cash incentives?

With Freshers’ Week right around the corner, Kate Anderson takes a look at which student accounts have the best incentives on offer.

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If you are a fresher preparing to head off to university, then you may be wondering which student account to go for. Let’s take a look at the best student accounts on offer right now – including cash incentives, Railcards and cashback offers!


Student accounts with cash incentives

While cash incentives on student accounts may not be as generous as they once were, you can still secure yourself a nice little bonus for opening an account.


The biggest cash incentive on offer this year comes from HSBC UK. You can get £80 plus a £20 Uber Eats voucher or ASOS Premier for a year.

All you need to do is make five debit card transactions within a month of opening your account.

NatWest and RBS

NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland are offering a £50 cash incentive and a four-year Tastecard. This is a discount card accepted by many restaurants in the UK and Ireland offering discounts of up to 50% and two for one deals.

To be eligible you need to be a full-time undergraduate student or completing a full-time postgraduate or nursing course lasting a year or more.

Other student account offers

Cash incentives for student accounts may be low this year, but there are other perks on offer.


Santander’s 123 Student Current Account gives you a four-year 16-25 Railcard with which you can save a third on rail travel across Great Britain. It’s perfect for those trips home in the holidays!

You also get access to the bank’s Retailer Offers programme that gives you up to 15% cashback at certain retailers.

Lloyds Bank

Lloyds Bank is offering a free TOTUM card for up to three years. This is a discount card that can save you money on a number of things, including food and drink, books, travel and computer software.

Through the card you can get 10% off at the Co-op, 25% off ODEON student tickets and a discount on a 16-25 Railcard.

Alongside the TOTUM card incentive, you also have access to Lloyds Bank’s Everyday Offers. This gives up to 15% cashback at selected retailers.


There’s no big cash incentive on offer with the Halifax student account, but you can earn yourself some interest. The bank is offering 0.1% on balances in credit. So, if you dip into your overdraft, you aren’t going to benefit from this perk.

You can also earn up to 15% cashback when using your debit card if you activate Cashback Extras online.


While hitting the books may not be your first thought in Freshers’ Week, going to university is ultimately about studying. And Barclays wants to help with the cost of that by giving you free access to Perlego for 12 months.

Perlego is an online academic library that has unlimited access to over 600,000 textbooks. A 12-month subscription would usually set you back £96, but with this student account, you get it free.


With TSB’s student account you can earn 5% interest on balances of up to £500. Once again, your account will need to be in credit to benefit from this perk.


Student accounts and your student loan

You’ll need to give bank account details when you apply for your student loan. So it makes sense to have your account all set up so that you don’t miss your first instalment.

It’s also worth noting that pretty much every student account offers some sort of interest-free overdraft. Typically, overdraft fees and interest can be quite costly, so having an interest-free option can definitely help your finances.

Just make a note of when this interest-free period ends. This is typically after you have graduated. Your bank will let you know when this is, and it’s a good idea to pay off your overdraft before the interest kicks in.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

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