The Fixer: student bank accounts

Choose the right account for your university years

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Have you been left out of pocket due to poor service or sharp practice? Do you have a money problem that won't go away?

It can seem impossible to get a fair result when you are battling a financial issue alone. But never fear! The AOL Money Fixer is here to help.

Dear Fixer,
I am starting university next month and I need to open a student bank account.

I have been a Halifax customer for years, but I don't want to miss out by just taking out its student account without checking what else is available.

I think an interest-free overdraft is one of the most important features. Is there anything else I should be looking for? Thank you for your help.

T Mason, Brighton

Dear Miss Mason,

As you say, an interest-free overdraft is the most important feature of a bank account for most freshers.

However, some accounts offer added benefits such as railcards and online discounts, so it is worth comparing these too before making your choice.

You may also want to check that the account you are considering offers user-friendly online banking and mobile apps that will help you to manage your money while you are a student.

When it comes to which account to choose, the biggest interest-free overdrafts are from your bank Halifax and HSBC, both of which allow you to borrow up to £3,000 at 0% over your time at university.

HSBC also pays 2% in-credit interest on up to £1,000 in the first year and allows you to transfer money to friends and relatives using just your mobile phone.

Looking at the add ons available this year, meanwhile, the free, four-year 16-25 railcard from Santander is likely to prove the most useful if you are moving away from home.

Other incentives include a £60 Amazon gift certificate from HSBC and commission-free foreign currency from Halifax.

None of these is likely to save you as much as an interest-free overdraft, though.

The Fixer

Whatever your financial problem, write to themoneyfixer@aim.com and The AOL Money Fixer will get on the case.

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