Whether you’re a UK or international student, a custom student bank account can give you some financial support throughout your university years. If you’ve just arrived in the UK and don’t know where to start, Natwest could be the right bank for you.
Their student account packs a host of benefits including arranged overdrafts for eligible accounts and exclusive perks¹.
Planning on studying in the UK? If you need to make payments to or from your home country, Wise could save you money versus your bank
Before you get started, a bit of information about international payments.
Going to university can be expensive. Classes you have to pay for, books you have to buy and, if possible, you want to enjoy student life as well. Maybe you’ve been saving money to go and study abroad, or you have family or friends who are helping you out, either way, sending money abroad can be a costly business.
Banks and money transfer providers often give you a bad exchange rate to make extra profits, and most of them use intermediary banks to send your money across borders. All of this can add up pretty quick. However, there’s an alternative.
Wise is different. Its smart new technology skips hefty international transfer fees by connecting local bank accounts all around the world. Which means you can save up to 8x by using Wise rather than your bank when you send your money abroad. Oh, and Wise gives you the most fair exchange rate out there, the mid-market exchange rate.
Check out how to make your first transfer with Wise. And give it a try.
Getting a Natwest student account is simple. You won’t have to book an appointment or even visit the branch thanks to the straightforward online application and bank account opening process². The service is available to all students who live in the UK and have a UK mobile number and valid email address¹.
To help things run smoothly and have your account open quickly, make sure to have the following documents at hand²:
- Proof of ID (passport, driving license, EU national ID card)
- Proof of address (utility bill, mortgage statement, bank or credit card statement, tenancy agreement issued by your local council or housing association)
- Proof of student status (UCAS status code, UCAS or NMAS letter, student loan company/LEA/SAAS award letter, university or college letter of acceptance or enrolment offer or certificate)
In some cases, the bank may also require you to send a selfie, and if you don’t have the documents required for online account opening, you can always opt for the traditional route and open your Natwest student account in your local branch².
Natwest offers similar student bank accounts to both UK and international students. Account benefits are comparable, and you’ll get to choose 1 of 3 great offers alongside the possibility to pay as you go via Apple or Google Pay, mobile banking, online banking, and Paym integration. The only difference is that you won’t be able to apply for an overdraft if you’re an international student nor can you get a contactless debit card, and you’ll have to pay a monthly fee of £10 to maintain the account¹.
Students that are aged 18 or over and have have been residents in the UK for 3 years or more can apply for an arranged overdraft³ or student credit card⁴.
If approved, the arranged overdraft limit is £500 for the first term of your first year of study, and you can apply to increase it up to £2,000 if you’re in any other term or year of study³.
Other perks and benefits include the possibility to choose 1 out of 3 offers including Amazon Prime Student, National Express coachcard, and tastecard¹. As with most UK banks, you won’t be able to request an arranged overdraft or student credit card if you lived in the country for less than three years³.
If you want to avoid the monthly fee and don’t need an overdraft, the borderless multi-currency account from Wise could address all your needs. It's easy to open and you can hold over 40 currencies, as well as get local virtual account details in GBP, EUR, AUD, NZD, and USD. You can use it to send or receive cheap or free-fee payments. You can also obtain a linked debit card to the borderless account for cash withdrawals so that you can manage your finances in the best possible way.
If you’ve been a UK resident for more than 3 years, you can apply for a standard Natwest student account if you're at least 17 years old and enrolled in a full time undergraduate program of at least a 2-year course. If you’re completing a full time postgraduate or nursing course of at least 1 year, you can apply as well¹.
However, you can only request an arranged overdraft³ or student credit card⁴ if you’ve been living in the UK for more than 3 years and you’re 18 years or over, and you have a student account with Natwest.
International students who lived in the country for no more than 3 years and have proof of their student status can apply for an international student account. Like the standard student account, this one is available online only¹.
Natwest accepts the following proof of ID for (international) students²:
- Passport (UK or foreign passport and a visa if required)
- Biometric residence permit
- National ID card (EU or EEA)
- Driving license (UK, EU or EEA)
- Birth or adoption certificate
- HMRC tax notification or correspondence
Different documents have different requirements in order to be valid to use, so make sure to check up on that before you use them.
After you’ve graduated Natwest will either switch your account to a Graduate account, or, if you’re an international student, you account will be switched to a Select or Foundation account. They’ll notify you about 60 days in advance, though, so no unexpected surprises⁵.
Like most banks, Natwest doesn’t charge anything for opening and maintaining a standard student account. There's a £10 monthly maintenance fee for the international option though. Other fees and charges include⁶:
|Standing order||No fee|
| Sending money within the UK|| |
| Sending money outside the UK|| |
| Receiving money from outside the UK|| |
| Arranged overdraft|| |
| Cash withdrawals outside the UK (in foreign currency)|| |
| Paying with your debit card in a foreign currency|| |
Natwest offers arranged overdrafts to students who have lived in the UK for a minimum of 3 years. You’ll need to have a student current account as well, and be over 18. If your application is approved, you can get up to £500 in the first term and up to £2,000 if you're in any other term³.
Once you’ve graduated and your accounts gets switched over to a Graduate Account, you can still get an interest-free arranged overdraft. The arranged overdraft for the Graduate account works a bit differently, though. In the first year after graduation you can get an interest-free arranged overdraft of up to £2,000 and £1,000 in the second year. The third year after your graduation Natwest will move you to a Select account, and this means that you'll no longer be eligible for an interest-free arranged overdraft⁷.
While Natwest student current account brings multiple benefits to students over 18 years old and who have been residents in the UK for over 3 years, if you’re new to the country a Wise borderless multi-currency account could be a valid alternative.
Free or very cheap transaction fees, the possibility to send and receive multiple currencies, and no monthly maintenance costs are just some of the reasons to weigh this option in.
Sources used for this article:
*All sources checked on March 27, 2019
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