TSB Student Credit Card

By: Ian Webb | Updated: 2nd March, 2019.

Great for: Building credit
3 stars question mark

TSB offers a student Mastercard to eligible candidates to help them deal with unexpected expenses and start on building their credit rating. With a competitive APR and slightly higher credit limit than its competitors, the card periodically offers cashback deals as an incentive. To be eligible for the card, you must have had a TSB student current account for at least three months and be enrolled in a college or university course.

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CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annual fee
  • Potential for higher credit limit
  • Chance to establish good credit practices

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.94% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,000

what we like

  • No annual fee
  • Potential for higher credit limit
  • Chance to establish good credit practices
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 1/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 1/5APR

BOTTOM LINE

TSB offers a student Mastercard to eligible candidates to help them deal with unexpected expenses and start on building their credit rating. With a competitive APR and slightly higher credit limit than its competitors, the card periodically offers cashback deals as an incentive. To be eligible for the card, you must have had a TSB student current account for at least three months and be enrolled in a college or university course.

Credit Rating Requirement: Poor/No credit.

What I like about the TSB Student Credit Card

I see the TSB student credit card as simple to use and understand. It offers a higher limit, balance transfers and cashback deals at different stages during the year. If you stick to the savvy tips that TSB outlines on its website (details below), and make the repayments each month, you have the chance to build your credit rating.

  • Manageable credit limits – TSB may offer you a minimum £500 limit to get you started and potentially up to £1,000 depending on your credit status and the lending criteria. I think this should be a very manageable limit, especially with students earning low wages.
  • Cashback offers – At various times throughout the year, TSB offers cashback incentives to get you started. If you are eligible to apply for the card, the full details of timing and among of these offers are available at TSB’s website.
  • No credit history – TSB may offer students a chance to build their credit rating with limited to no history. By offering a manageable limit and a chance to show good borrowing behaviour, you may be able to increase your credit rating so that you can have access to other financial products.
  • Competitive APR – The representative APR is at a competitive rate when compared to similar student cards. It is slightly higher than some of its rivals, but also offers a potentially higher credit limit as a trade-off.
  • Use it home and abroad – You can use this card wherever you are in the world. Just be mindful that non-sterling purchases and cash withdrawals will incur fees and charges. Non-sterling purchases will incur a fee of 2.95% of the purchase and cash withdrawals (at home or abroad) will incur either a 3% or £3 fee (whichever is higher), plus interest will be charged from the date it is debited to your account.
  • Savvy students guide – The website offers students useful tips on what different bank terms mean, how to use the different banking products, the difference between good debt and bad debt, borrowing sensibly and how to stay safe online. Very useful information for those who may be new or inexperienced in managing their money.
  • Worth knowing – There is no annual fee with this card. You can add it to Apple Pay and Google Pay and you have access to 24/7 assistance. Balance transfers are also available, but the fee for this is 3% of the transfer amount and there’s no preferential introductory rate on balance transfers. You could also receive up to 56 days interest free on your purchases if you pay off the balance before the due date each month.

Why trust me

For 15 years, I taught both primary and secondary students. One thing that always stood out to me was that we do not teach financial literacy in schools, despite the fact that students nearly always lack knowledge in this critical subject. I have always had a keen interest in personal finance, debt management and wealth creation, so I decided to make a career change and become a financial planner/educator with the aim to provide sound, independent financial education. I moved to the UK three years ago, so I know personally what it is like to begin my credit history all over again, since financial institutions don’t take into account your overseas history. My commitment to you is to give you up to date, “no BS” information that will help you decide what is best for you.

What could be improved

The TSB student card has one main drawback, which is the added fees and charges you could incur if you miss your minimum repayments or go over you credit limit.

  • Penalty fees – TSB has the usual range of fees and charges that you’ll get hit with if you are not paying attention in class. If you are late for a monthly repayment or go over your credit limit, you will be charged a £12 fee. If you were to request a copy of a statement or a copy of a transaction record, there is a £6 and £5 fee respectively for the privilege.
  • Overseas charges – As stated above, if you withdraw cash or use your card abroad there is a fee associated with these transactions. But there is an added stinger if you make a cash withdrawal overseas in a foreign currency, then both sets of transaction fees will apply. So, you will be slugged a minimum of £6 to get cash out overseas.
  • Applying in-branch only – Reading through the website and product summary, it appears that you have to go into a branch to apply for the student credit card. (I confirmed this with a phone call to TSB). This seems at odds with most other lenders as they are moving more online and less in branch. You do have access to online banking, but to apply for the credit card, it must be completed in a TSB branch.

How does the TSB student credit card offer stack up?

The TSB student credit card should be considered alongside its rivals, as it has a competitive APR and offers a higher credit limit than some similar cards. It does have a cashback offer at various times during the year and a balance transfer option (even if it’s not at a special rate), which is something that some of its rivals don’t offer. The harsh penalty fees are the one major downside to the TSB card, as, if you are not careful, you could end up paying a lot extra in fees. As with other student cards, you must have a link to an existing student bank account with the lender.

The TSB Card Credit Score

To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old to receive the card, a UK resident (could be an option for international students), have a regular income, have a TSB student current account, and have not been declared bankrupt or have any county court judgments against you. You must also be enrolled at a college or university. And you can only receive the student credit card if you don’t have any other credit cards with TSB.

How to apply?

You need to go into a branch to apply for the student credit card. Make sure you take your TSB bank account details, evidence of your current address in the UK, and any details related to a balance transfer, if you plan to do that.

Is the TSB student credit card right for you?

The higher credit limit and some additional features including cashback and balance transfer options are enticing, but the numerous and harsh penalty fees and the fact that you have to go into a branch to apply for the card are drawbacks. The TSB student credit card may be a good option for students who are residents of the UK but don’t have three years of address history to be eligible for similar cards, and who need an option to help build their credit rating.

See the Best Student Credit Cards


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