Heading to uni? The best student bank accounts 2019 – giving Amazon Prime, £100 cash or a four-year railcard

Student finance
Students can receive perks worth hundreds of pounds Credit: Thomas Broom

How would you like a free year of Amazon Prime or discounted rail fares each time you travel home? Banks are offering a string of incentives to persuade students to open an account with them ahead of the new academic term.

Although the 2019/20 university term does not start until September, customers can open an account and enjoy the benefits as soon as their university place is confirmed. This means the hundreds of thousands of people getting their A-level results today can take advantage of the top deals.

Among the most eye-catching perks is the free four-year railcard for students opening an account with Santander.

A 16-25 railcard currently costs £30 a year, meaning this freebie is worth £120. The bank also offers 3pc interest on balances up to £2,000.

Elsewhere, NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland offer the biggest overdraft for first year students, with customers able to go up to £2,000 into the red. This account also comes with a one year membership of Amazon Prime, a National Express Coachcard or a Tastecard.

HSBC will offer customers a guaranteed £1,000 overdraft when they open an account, plus £100 cashback for first-year students. Users will also have access to preferential rates.

The highest interest rate for cash balances comes from TSB, although its headline rate of 5pc will only apply to the first £500 deposited in the account.

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Rachel Springall of Moneyfacts, a data provider, said: “The latest packages from banks and building societies have remained relatively unchanged since last year – perhaps holding off until nearer the new term in September to attract those students who leave their finance planning to the wire. 

“However, the current incentives could be pulled at any point, so students shouldn’t wait too long to compare the latest packages.”