Barclays student account: a comprehensive guide

Gert Svaiko

If you’re moving on to higher education, you may get a student bank account to manage your finances. The main difference between current and student accounts is the interest-free overdraft facility that can give you financial breathing space during and after your university years. Barclays proposes several types of accounts for both UK and international students.

And, if you’re an international student looking to study in the UK or a UK student travelling abroad, consider checking out Wise – a money services provider that could be a cost-effective alternative to a bank account.

The Wise account lets you send and manage your money in over 40 currencies with low, transparent fees and the fair mid-market exchange rate for any currency conversions.

Learn more about the Wise account

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

What are the requirements to open a student bank account with Barclays?

To open a student bank account with Barclays, you have to meet the following requirements

  • 18+
  • Full time student
  • Living in the UK for more than 3 years
  • Use the account as the main account
  • Studying for an undergraduate degree, a postgraduate degree, or a Higher Apprenticeship

Barclays may ask you for proof on each of the criteria points above. And you need to provide them with a UK phone number. As for overdraft requirements, these are subject to application, financial circumstances, borrowing history and lending criteria.¹

If you’re an international student, you probably don’t meet the requirement of living in the UK for 3+ years. In that case, you can open a Barclays current account, which is one of the best UK bank accounts for international students.

After your studies, the bank will upgrade your student account to Higher Education Account automatically. If you’ve already graduated and didn’t have a student bank account with Barclays, you can apply for a Higher Education Account if you're a UK resident aged 18 or over and have completed studies in the UK within the past 3 years.²

What kind of student bank accounts does Barclays offer?

Barclays currently offers two types of accounts suitable for UK students and graduates.

Student Additions Account

Barclays dedicates this account to UK students and higher apprentices aged 18 or over, who’ve lived in the UK for at least 3 years. It gives you the possibility to apply for a fee-free overdraft of up to £500 from day one and increase it up to £1,500 by your third year of study

Besides the prospect of benefiting from some financial flexibility, the account will give you an array of other advantages including mobile banking, pay on the go via Apple Pay or Contactless Mobile, and use mobile numbers to send, spend, and receive money without giving out your bank details.¹

Higher Education Account

The higher education account from Barclays is an account designed to help graduates with life after university. The account is available for three years after you’ve completed your studies. Similar to the student additions account, this account comes with a fee-free arranged overdraft limit of up to £1,500

With this account, you'll also be able to register for mobile, online, and telephone banking, get free text alerts to your mobile, and add extras like travel or gadget insurance for a monthly fee.² You can also join Barclays Blue Rewards program to earn monthly rewards or cashback on eligible purchases.³

How to open a student account with Barclays?

Barclays’ student accounts are designed for people enrolled in an undergraduate university program that lasts at least 2 years, a post-graduate program of at least 1 year and higher apprentices of level 4 or above.¹

Students and apprentices can start their application online, here’s the step-by-step process

  1. Download the Barclays app
  2. Open the app and create a passcode
  3. Validate your identity, student status, and credit history by following the on-screen instructions
  4. Wait until Barclays confirms the information
  5. Start using your new account

For graduates, if you have a student account with Barclays then they automatically change your account for the Higher Education Account. If you don’t have a student account or want to switch banks to Barclays, then you need to go to the local bank branch for an appointment.²

Here’s a list of documents you’ll need for opening an account with Barclays:⁴

  • Proof of your identity (passport, UK biometric residence permit (BRP), or a UK/EU/EEA photocard driving licence, and more)
  • Proof of your current UK address (UK driving license, utility or Council Tax Bill, bank or credit card statement, TV license letter or Direct Debit schedule)
  • Proof of your student status (student ID card or UCAS letter)
    • If you’re a Higher Apprentice – apprentice agreement and commitment statement
    • If you’re applying for a Graduate account – proof of completed studies, such as, a degree certificate \

You can use your UK driving license either as proof of ID or proof of address, not both. However, if you have a valid letter from your university that shows both your current address and your confirmed place at the university, you can use that to prove both your address and your student status.⁴

However, if you’re an international student, you can’t open a student account with Barclays unless you’ve lived in the UK for more than 3 years. However, you can open a Barclays Bank Account⁷ or look for an alternative way to manage your money in multiple countries – like with the Wise account.

You can send and manage money in more than 40 currencies (including in British pounds), spend with the Wise debit card in 174 countries around the world, and have all the foreign currency conversions made using the fair mid-market exchange rate, which could save you a bundle down the line. For extra convenience, everything is done online, or in the handy Wise app.


Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

What are the fees for opening or maintaining the account?

Barclays charges no fees for opening and maintaining a student account, or on arranged overdrafts of up to £1,500. Cash withdrawals and debit card payments in GBP are also free, but the bank will charge you for the services and transactions in the table below:⁵

Standing orderNo fees
Sending money within the UK
  • Faster Payments
  • CHAPS payments
  • No fees
  • No fees for online banking (£25 for branch or telephone banking)
Sending money outside the UK
  • SEPA direct debits in EUR
  • Standard Barclays International Payment: branch and phone / online
  • SEPA Credit Transfer: branch and phone / online
  • No fees
  • £25 / No fees
    • No fees / No fees
Receiving money from outside the UK
  • International payment under £100
  • International payment over £100
  • Receiving a SEPA transfer
  • No fees
  • £6
  • No fees
Arranged overdraft
  • Up to £1,500
  • Unarranged overdraft
  • 0%
  • Not available
Cash withdrawals outside the UK in foreign currency (non-sterling transaction fee)
  • 2.99% per transaction
Paying with your debit card in a foreign currency (non-sterling transaction fee)
  • 2.99% per transaction

Does Barclays allow you to have an overdraft on your student account?

Barclays allows you to have an overdraft on your Student Additions or Higher Education account. As long as you meet all criteria to open a student or graduate account with Barclays, you can apply for an overdraft either in branch or by calling 03457 345 345. If you use mobile banking, you can tap the Call Us button directly in your app instead of calling the above number.⁶

Overdrafts are subject to application and status, and you’ll have to provide a 3 years’ address history for credit check purposes. If Barclays approves your student account overdraft application, you’ll get fee-free overdraft limits

  • Up to £500 on account opening
  • Up to £1,000 in year 1
  • Up to £1,500 in year 2 and beyond

Barclays may also offer arranged overdrafts of up to £1,500 with your graduate account

As a student in the UK, opening a student account with Barclays can give you a wealth of benefits from opening an account without fees to a 0% arranged overdraft.

But, if you’re an international student or looking to travel outside the UK, you might want to explore some alternatives – like the Wise account – that are designed to help you manage your money in multiple currencies for low, transparent fees.

Register with Wise today

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

Sources used:

  1. Barclays - student account
  2. Barclays - Higher Education account
  3. Barclays - Blue rewards
  4. Barclays - open account ID
  5. Barclays - Student Additions account fee information
  6. Barclays - overdraft
  7. Barclays - Bank Account

Sources last checked on date: 27-Jun-2023

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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