HSBC student account: a comprehensive guide

Gert Svaiko

Navigating through your uni years is easier when you’re the holder of a student bank account. The main advantage of these accounts is the possibility to adhere to an arranged overdraft, which can give you some financial flexibility.

HSBC offers student bank accounts for both UK residents and international students. Both accounts have no monthly fees, but you have to be 18+ and live in the UK.¹ However, there are some differences depending on if you’re a UK resident or coming to study in the UK from abroad.

And, if you need to manage multiple currencies during your studies in the UK or are looking to travel, 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 HSBC?

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

  • 18+
  • UK permanent resident for the past 3 years
  • Proof of a confirmed place for studying in uni or college (16-digit UCAS code)
  • Be a full-time student

You’re not eligible if you already have a student account open elsewhere, and you must also be studying or have a confirmed place to study in:¹

  • A full-time qualifying course at a university or college in the UK
  • A part-time qualifying course if you’re on Disabled Students’ Allowance.

To apply for the international student account with HSBC, you’ll need:²

After you’ve submitted your application, you may need to go to an HSBC branch to confirm your identity and address. Also, while remaining a resident outside the UK, some account features may be turned off.²

Once you’ve finished your studies, you may be eligible for a Graduate Bank account. To apply for this, you need to visit a branch and take the proof of graduation, ID, proof of address, and your most recent bank statement with you.³

What kind of student bank accounts does HSBC offer?

HSBC offers different accounts to UK nationals who have lived in the UK for the past 3 years and international students who have just arrived. Both accounts come with multiple benefits for eligible students, but the main difference is that the international account might not get the arranged overdraft facility the regular student account gets.²

HSBC Student Bank Account

This account comes with mobile banking in a dedicated HSBC banking app, which you can use to link your cards with Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay for contactless spending.¹

You’ll also get an interest-free overdraft of up to £1,000, which can rise up to £3,000 by year 3 depending on your spending history and status. If you want to earn money on your savings, you can access HSBC’s 5.00% AER / gross Regular Saver for a fixed 12-month term.¹

And to top things off, HSBC has some discounts with the home&Away programme, which includes restaurants, stores, and more, to help you save even more money.¹

HSBC Bank Account for international students

This account is made for international students who haven’t lived in the UK for the past 3 years, but have moved here to study.

It’s a simple account with no monthly fees. It features similar benefits as the regular student account – like mobile banking and discounts – but it limits your access to any HSBC credit cards, loans or mortgages.²

HSBC doesn’t usually offer an arranged overdraft with this account, so if you’re interested in one, you need to contact HSBC. But, you may get a ​​£25 interest-free buffer as an unarranged overdraft.²

How to open a student account with HSBC?

You can apply for the HSBC Student Bank Account online, and here’s what you have to prepare:⁴

  • 3-year address history
  • Income details, such as a bank statement
  • Details on the course you’re taking
  • 16-digit UCAS status code
  • Proof of address and identity

Once you start your application online, follow the on-screen instructions and fill in the required details.

You can also apply for the HSBC Bank Account for international students online, but you may be required to visit one of HSBC branches to confirm your identity and address. You’ll also need to provide additional documents, such as:⁵

  • Employment details
  • Certified proof of address, translated into English

If you're new to the UK and can’t provide any of the proof of address documents mentioned above, HSBC may accept as proof a letter from a university or employer showing that you live in the UK.⁶

Once you’ve completed the online application (and visited a branch if required), HSBC will confirm once you can start using your new account.

Also, as an international student, you might want to look around for other options to manage your money – like with the Wise account – especially if you juggle multiple currencies or do a lot of travelling.

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?

HSBC charges no fees to open and maintain a student bank account. But there are some services for which you’ll be charged a fee, these include:⁷

Standing orderNo fees
Sending money within the UK
  • Faster Payments
  • CHAPS payments
  • Payment in a foreign currency
  • No fees
  • £17
  • Between £0 - £17
Sending money outside the UK
  • Payment fee

    *Correspondent bank and receiving bank fees may apply

  • Between £0 - £17
Receiving money from outside the UK, both in a foreign currency and pounds
  • £5
  • Unarranged overdraft
  • Arranged overdraft
  • No fees
  • No fees and 0% EAR variable
Cash withdrawals outside the UK (in foreign currency)
  • Transaction fee
  • Cash fee
  • 2.75%
  • 2% (min £1.75, max £5)
Paying with your debit card in a foreign currency
  • Transaction fee
  • 2.75%

There are similar fees for HSBC Bank account for international students, and you can see them in this fee information document.

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

HSBC offers interest free overdraft with the Student Bank Account, but if you’re an international student, HSBC may not offer this feature.¹

If you’re a UK resident, you’ll get a guaranteed interest-free overdraft of up to £1,000 after you’ve successfully opened the Student Bank Account. You can ask HSBC to increase this limit up to £2,000 in year 2, and up to £3,000 in year 3. But, the limits are subject to status and how you’ve used the account.¹

Opening a student account with HSBC comes with a host of benefits if you’ve been a UK resident for at least 3 years, have a great credit history, and need some financial aid to support your higher education.

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. HSBC – Student account
  2. HSBC - International student account
  3. HSBC - Graduate student account
  4. HSBC - Student eligibility
  5. HSBC - Bank account eligibility
  6. HSBC - Help us identify you
  7. HSBC - Student account fee information document

Sources last checked on date: 28-Jun-2023

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money for here, there and everywhere

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location