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    It’s certainly recommended that you open a student bank account. These are bank accounts designed specifically for those entering full time study. Many of them come with an interest free overdraft (check the terms, though, to ensure the interest won’t rocket as soon as you graduate). Most of these accounts will automatically become Graduate Accounts once you leave university as well.

    Compare student bank accounts before you decide on one to make sure that you’re getting the best deal. Don’t be too swayed by the freebies and additional incentives the banks tend to offer.

    Here’s a breakdown of the best student accounts for 2011/12:

    The Co-Operative Bank

    Interest-free overdraft

    • 1st year: £1,400
    • 2nd year: £1,700
    • 3rd year: £2,000

    Interest paid on balance when in credit: 0.1% AER

    RBS / Natwest

    Interest-free overdraft

    • 1st year: Tiered up to £1,000
    • 2nd year: £1,250
    • 3rd year: £1,500

    Interest paid on balance when in credit: 0% AER


    Interest-free overdraft

    £500 initially, up to £3,000 (not guaranteed).

    Interest paid on balance when in credit: 2% AER

    Credit Cards

    A number of banks will also offer you the opportunity to take credit card with your student account. Note though, that any ‘interest free’ periods on credit cards are generally not (as with overdrafts) for the duration of your course, but often only for a very short period. This means that if you spend on a credit card and do not pay back within that time, you will incur hefty interest and potentially end up with extra fees to pay. This definitely isn’t the most cost-effective way of borrowing.

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