SO you finally have your university place – no thanks to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and his A-level results debacle.
Now it is time to start hoovering up the freebies.
Student bank accounts are offering a tempting array of goodies such as free railcards, Tastecards and Amazon Prime memberships.
But before looking at the fun stuff, work out the most important thing – how much of an overdraft you will need and where to get it.
Get this wrong and you will start your adult life saddled with unnecessary debt.
Here are my top picks . . .
NATIONWIDE FLEXSTUDENT OVERDRAFT: Guaranteed £1,000 at zero per cent during year one of your course, £2,000 in year two and £3,000 during year three.
Verdict: No freebies but the biggest overdrafts – which, crucially, are guaranteed if they give you an account. Will save hard-up students on interest payments.
SANTANDER 123 STUDENT OVERDRAFT: Guaranteed £1,500 overdraft during years one to three of your course
Perks: Four-year 16-25 Railcard, worth £100, for a third off rail journeys. One per cent interest on balances of up to £2,000. Up to 15 per cent cashback with retailers such as Morrisons, Costa, Subway and Vue.
Verdict: The guaranteed overdraft limit is great, although this is not quite as high as Nationwide’s in year three. Ideal if you like to use trains a lot.
BARCLAYS OVERDRAFT: £500 in term one, then up to £1,000 in the rest of year one, up to £2,000 during year two and up to £3,000 in year three.
Perks: Twelve months of Perlego – the “Spotify of textbooks” – which gives online access to textbooks, worth £96 a year. Up to ten per cent cashback on shopping.
Verdict: The overdraft limits are as big as Nationwide’s, but you might not get the full amount. Perlego subscription could save you loads on your books, but make sure to check the titles you need are on there.
NATWEST/RBS OVERDRAFT: Up to £500 in term one, then up to £2,000 for the rest of your time at university.
Perks: Pick one of three freebies. The first option is 12 months’ Amazon Prime Student, giving one-day delivery and music and TV streaming, worth £39, plus a £10 Amazon gift voucher. Or get a four-year National Express Coachcard for a third off fares, worth £42.50. Or opt for a four-year Tastecard giving two-for-one deals at restaurants, worth £140.
Verdict: Tastecards cost £34.99 a year to buy so this is a good saving if you like eating out, and ordering takeaways.
Not worth it
BANK OF SCOTLAND OVERDRAFT, ALSO WITH SISTER BANK LLOYDS: Up to £1,500 in years one to three, then up to £2,000 in years four to six.
Perks: Three-year Totum card for student discounts, such as ten per cent off at the Co-op and 40 per cent off at Cafe Rouge. Up to 15 per cent cashback from retailers such as Costa and Sky.
Verdict: Totum only has average offers and, besides, a three-year membership at the moment is only £24.99. Other perks from rivals are worth more.
HSBC OVERDRAFT: £1,000 guaranteed in year one, then up to £2,000 during year two and up to £3,000 for year three.
Verdict: No perks and average overdraft.
TSB OVERDRAFT: Up to £1,500
Perks: Five-per-cent interest on balances up to £500.
Verdict: The five-per-cent interest bonus will get you a maximum of about £25, if you are ever in credit.
HALIFAX OVERDRAFT: Up to £1,500.
Perks: 0.1-per-cent interest, plus cashback when you spend at retailers such as the Co-op, Costa and Sky.
Verdict: Interest offered on credit balances is small and you can get cashback from websites like Topcashback and Quidco.
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