Santander student account: a comprehensive guide

Gert Svaiko

If you’re about to start uni in the UK - or if you’re already taking an undergraduate course or level 4-7 apprenticeship - you might be eligible for a student account from Santander. The Santander student current account offers some attractive features for students, including discounts on rail fares and an overdraft facility.¹

There are, however, some fees you need to know about, especially when it comes to using your account to send and receive international payments, or cover your costs while you travel.

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 Santander?

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

  • 18+
  • UK permanent resident
  • Proof or an ‘unconditional’ or ‘confirmed conditional’ offer for studying in uni
  • Studying or about to begin:
    • At least a 2-year undergraduate course
    • A level 4-7 apprenticeship

If you already bank with Santander, you'll need to close or transfer your existing account, so that your student current account is your main bank account. You’ll also have to pay in at least £500 per academic term to retain the benefits the account offers.¹

Once you graduate, Santander will automatically transfer you to a 1|2|3 Graduate Current Account

What kind of student bank account does Santander offer?

Santander only has a single account dedicated to students in the UK – the 1|2|3 Student Current Account. But, once you finish your studies, this account automatically changes to the 1|2|3 Graduate Current Account for the following two years.²

Santander 1|2|3 Student Current Account

This account offers some student-friendly perks like a free 4-year railcard, which gives a reduced price for rail fares, and offers, discounts and cashback with Santander Boosts. The account is also paper free, with online banking features, and you can link and use your cards on mobile for contactless spending.¹

You’ll get a debit card and interest-free overdraft facilities starting from £1,500, which can increase over time.¹ You’ll be able to send and receive international payments, and use your debit card overseas - but there are fees for these services you’ll want to know about.⁶ More on that in a moment.

How to open a student account with Santander?

If you already have a Santander 1|2|3 Mini Current Account, you can change it to the student account online (if you have a UCAS 4-digit status code). If you have a different Santander account, you may need to go to a branch to get things sorted.⁴

If you’re a new customer, you’ll be able to open your Santander 1|2|3 Student Current Account online. Although, you can also visit a branch if you want some in-person help.⁴

Here’s what you need to open a Santander student account if you’re a new customers:³

  • An active email address and phone number
  • Your UK address - you may need a proof of address, depending on the circumstances
  • Proof of your status as a student or an apprentice - this could be a student ID card or a 4-Digit UCAS Status Code
  • Submit to a credit search (if applying for an overdraft)

However, if you’re an international student, you may not be eligible to open a student account with Santander because of the UK address requirement. However, you may be able to open a Santander Basic Current Account⁵ 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?

Here are the main fees you need to know about Santander 1I2I3 Student Current Account:⁶

Open and maintain your account
  • No fees
Sending money in pounds, within the UK
  • Faster payment - no fees
  • CHAPS (same day payment ) - £25
Sending money internationally
  • Sending money in the SEPA area - no fees
  • Sending money elsewhere - £25
Receiving money from abroad
  • Receiving a cheque - £10
  • Receiving an electronic payment - no fees
Withdrawing cash from an ATM in pounds
  • No fees
Cash withdrawals outside the UK in foreign currency
  • No fees withdrawing from Santander ATMs in Spain, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and the USA
  • Elsewhere, 2.95% per transaction
Paying with your debit card in a foreign currency (non-sterling transaction fee)
  • 2.95% per transaction
  • Arranged overdraft - no fees
  • Unarranged overdraft - no fees
  • Allowing a payment despite lack of funds - no fees
  • Refusing a payment due to lack of funds - no fees

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

Once you meet the eligibility requirements and open the 1|2|3 Student Current Account, you automatically get a fee- and interest-free arranged overdraft of £250 after you’ve proven your student status. Once you have paid £500 into the account, the overdraft limits are (depending on the length of your studies):³

  • Years 1-3 – £1,500
  • Year 4 – £1,800
  • Year 5 – £2,000

This is fee free for the duration of your student account if you stay within the arranged overdraft limit - but you may find you need to pay fees on this facility after you finish studying, depending on the account type you transfer to.

The Santander 1|2|3 Student Current Account has many great features for students, but there are also fees and charges to be aware of. Doing a bit of research, and thinking carefully about the way you’ll use your account, are the best ways to get the right solution for your needs.

And, 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. Santander - 1|2|3 Student Current Account
  2. Santander - 1|2|3 Graduate Current Account terms
  3. Santander - 1|2|3 Student Current Account terms
  4. Santander - Apply for 1|2|3 Student Current Account
  5. Santander - Basic Current Account
  6. Santander - 1|2|3 Student Current Account fee information document

Sources last checked on date: 28-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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