FlexStudent: The Nationwide Student Account Reviewed
Are you confident with your personal finances? If you aren’t, you’re far from alone: according to a survey from Greenlight Financial, 75% of Gen Z doesn’t feel confident when it comes to handling their personal finances. University is a time for students to be introduced to the adult world, but if you just started university or are entering it in the autumn, you might be familiar with the feeling of being ill-prepared to make important financial decisions.
Fortunately, university is a great place to learn, and you’re already on the right track to gain that confidence. Today, there are countless resources (like this one that you’re reading!) to help you make smart and healthy financial decisions.
If you’re looking into university or have recently started studying, it’s vital to get a student current account. There are plenty of options available, with each promising great benefits. But which one is best for you? Here, we’ll take a closer look at one student current account in particular: the Nationwide FlexStudent account.
What Are the Pros and Cons of the Nationwide Student Account?
Let’s separate the wheat from the chaff: What’s good about the Nationwide student account, and where does it fall short?
Pros of the Nationwide Student Account
Nationwide is the largest building society in the world. Considering their huge footprint, you’d expect good things from their banking products, and their student current account mostly lives up to those expectations. Some of the most notable benefits are its:
- Interest-free overdraft: Any student account worth setting up will have an interest-free arranged overdraft, and Nationwide’s FlexStudent current account doesn’t fall short. With the FlexStudent account, you can access up to £1,000 in an interest-free, arranged overdraft in your first year of studies. Your arranged overdraft limit can reach £2,000 and £3,000 in your second and third year of studies, respectively. This is one of the highest arranged overdraft limits for student current accounts!
- Highly-rated mobile app: You need to be able to access your bank information from the lecture hall, the tube, and everywhere in between. A good mobile banking app provides insights to your finances and can help you build healthy, sustainable saving and spending habits. With 4.8 out of 5 stars with over half a million ratings on the Apple App Store and 4.2 out of 5 stars with over 90,000 reviews on Google Play, the Nationwide mobile app will meet your every need.
- Easy postgraduate account management: The Nationwide FlexStudent account conveniently turns into a FlexGraduate account. This means you won’t need to take any action to find a new account right away, and you’ll even keep your arranged overdraft, although the limit will gradually decrease.
Related read: Does a Student Overdraft Affect Your Credit Score?
Cons of the Nationwide Student Account
The Nationwide Student Account is clearly a good product, but it’s not perfect. Some drawbacks of their offering include:
- Costly funding requirements: The Nationwide FlexStudent account requires you to pay in at least £500 per term, or at least £1,500 per year if your university doesn’t follow the typical arrangement of three 12-week terms. Similar funding requirements are common among student current accounts, but they’re not universal.
- Strict course duration requirements: While most full-time UCAS-registered courses take 3-4 years to complete, the Nationwide FlexStudent account isn’t available to students taking certain accelerated courses that are shorter than two years.
How Does the Nationwide Student Account Compare to Other Student Accounts?
If you compare Nationwide’s FlexStudent account to the Santander Student Account, there’s a lot of similarities:
- Both have £500/term funding requirements
- Neither charge fees for foreign cash withdrawals or transactions
- Both have highly-rated mobile apps (although Nationwide has far more reviews)
However, there are a couple key differences between these two:
- Santander’s 123 Graduate account, their equivalent to the Nationwide FlexGraduate account, is no longer available. On the other hand, if you have a FlexStudent account, you’ll be automatically transferred into a FlexGraduate account after graduating, retaining key benefits for as long as three years.
- The Nationwide student account offers one of the highest overdraft limits available. You can request up to a £3,000 overdraft in year three, compared to just £2,000 by year five with the Santander 123 Student Current Account.
Nationwide Student Account FAQs
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for the Nationwide FlexPlus Account?
To be eligible for the FlexStudent account, you need to meet the following requirements:
- You need to be at least 18, and have been a UK resident for at least three years
- You can’t have another student account or current account with another bank or financial institution
- You need to have been accepted into a UCAS course that will last at least two years
- You need to apply for the FlexStudent account within the five months prior to your course’s start, or within the 12 months following your course’s start.
- You need to pay at least £500 into your account each term, beginning with the term you opened it
What Are the Nationwide Student Account’s Funding Requirements?
You must pay at least £500 into your FlexStudent account each term, or at least £1,500 each academic year if your university or college doesn’t use three 12-week terms. Fortunately you can use your student loans to meet that funding requirement. Additionally, there are amazing side hustles you can pick up to earn extra money while you attend university like tutoring, bartending, and more.
Are There Any Fees for Cash Withdrawals Whilst Abroad?
No, the Nationwide FlexStudent account doesn’t charge any fees for purchases made using a currency other than pounds-sterling, cash withdrawals in a foreign currency whilst abroad, or cash withdrawals in a foreign currency here in the UK.
Is the Nationwide Student Account Right for You?
The Nationwide student account, FlexStudent, admittedly has a lot of great features. While it does have a £500/term funding requirement, it offers a high overdraft limit and a formidable legacy program with the FlexGraduate account. With an interest-free arranged overdraft, it’s easy to see why many people like it.
That said, you should consider what you need. While a £3,000 arranged overdraft sounds great, you should consider whether you really need it. Ask yourself whether you think it will encourage you to spend more than you can realistically afford to and if you can consistently pay £500 into the account each term. The Lloyd’s student current account has a lower interest-free overdraft limit, but doesn’t have a payment requirement.
Ultimately, the Nationwide FlexStudent account is worth considering when you’re shopping for a student current account, but always consider your unique needs before making a final decision.
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