What to Know About the NatWest Student Account

NatWest’s student account is one of the most popular in the UK—but should you sign up for it when you head off to university? Read our review to find out!
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Between books, rent, and entertainment, it’s easy as a first-time student to blow your entire budget faster than you can say ‘pot noodles.’ To help lighten the load, you’ll most likely want to sign up for a student account with an interest-free arranged overdraft.

Not sure what an interest-free overdraft is? Check out our resource explaining the differences between types of overdraft accounts!

One of the most popular student accounts is NatWest’s —but is it worth getting? Here, we review its key benefits, drawbacks, and see how it shapes up to other student accounts. Let’s dive in!

Benefits of the NatWest Student Account

NatWest’s student account has you covered with an interest-free arranged overdraft account—the fundamental element of any good student account. What are the benefits of the NatWest student account beyond that?

  • No Funding Requirements: NatWest’s student account doesn’t have any funding requirement. You are expected to pay into it regularly, but it doesn’t have rigid £500-per-term funding requirements that are common among other student accounts.
  • Access to Emergency Cash Withdrawals: If your NatWest debit card is lost or stolen, you can still access cash even after cancelling your card. While you’ll hopefully never have to use this feature, it’s reassuring to know you’ll be able to access up to £300 in emergencies.
  • Useful Perks: £100 for signing up isn’t amazing, but you also get a free four-year tastecard. That could potentially save you hundreds of pounds during your time in university.
  • Increased Third Year Interest-Free Overdraft: You can increase your overdraft limit to £3,250 by your third year. This is £250 more than what’s available with a student account from HSBC or Nationwide. 

Drawbacks of the NatWest Student Account

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: For all non-Sterling transactions, NatWest charges 2.75% of the total purchase. For example, if you spend £50, you’d be charged an additional £1.37. It’s not a lot for a single purchase, but if you're planning on studying abroad you might want to look for another student account as those fees can add up.
  • Smaller First Term Interest-Free Overdraft: You can increase your overdraft limit to £2,000 by your second term in your first year, but in your first term only £500 is available. 

How Does the NatWest Student Account Stack Up To Competitors?

Each bank offering a student account is in relatively close competition, and the NatWest student account is no exception. While the interest-free arranged overdraft limit starts and ends lower than the HSBC student account and the Nationwide FlexStudent account, it’s still a good value considering that it doesn’t have a funding requirement.

Being able to manage your money at any time is not only convenient, but it gives you important insights into your financial health. Therefore, a good mobile app is important—especially when you’re in university and always on the go. NatWest’s mobile banking app ranks slightly lower than its competitors’ highly rated apps. NatWest’s app on Google Play has just 3.9 stars—but NatWest’s app on the App Store has 4.6 stars.

NatWest’s student account is one of the most popular, possibly due to their sign-up perks, which are arguably some of the best next to the Santander 123 Student Account’s travel benefits. While a student account’s perks can be important, it’s essential that you base your decision on your financial needs: is the arranged overdraft limit too little? Is it too much? Will you be travelling abroad and need an account without foreign transaction fees? Basing your decision on the features that will have a long-term impact on your finances will be far more valuable than any short-term perk.

FAQs About the NatWest Student Account

How Old Do I Have to Be to Open a NatWest Student Account?

You can open a student account when you’re 17 provided that you’re enrolled in a full-time university program, but you’ll need to be 18 to apply for the interest-free arranged overdraft.

How do I Know if I’m Eligible for the NatWest Student Account?

Most UK student accounts have the same eligibility requirements, and NatWest’s student account is no different. Eligibility for the NatWest student account requires that:

  • You must be a UK citizen.
  • You must have lived in the UK for the past three years.
  • You are at least 17 when you open an account, and you’re at least 18 when you apply for an arranged overdraft.
  • You must be enrolled in a full-time UK university course.

What Happens After I Graduate?

After you graduate, your student account will be automatically changed to a NatWest graduate account. NatWest will notify you about this ahead of time and it doesn’t require any action on your part, so it’s an easy transition.

With the NatWest graduate account, you’ll retain access to an interest-free arranged overdraft for up to two years. This can be helpful as you transition out of university and into fully-fledged adult life.

Get the Best Bank Products With a Strong Credit Score

Your eligibility for things like an interest-free arranged overdraft are influenced by your credit score. If you’re heading into university at 18, you might not have much of a credit history to work with. However, by the time you graduate, you might want to get a credit card, personal loan, or find a new flat to rent. Having a good credit score can make it easier to not only qualify for these products, but to get favourable interest rates too.

But how can you build credit in university? One way is to use Pave. Pave teaches you what impacts your credit, helps you avoid mistakes that can hurt your credit like missing payments, and can help you actively build your credit score with our own credit line.

Want to be eligible for the best credit products after university? Take the first step today by downloading Pave from the App Store or Google Play.

Related read: How Much Could an Excellent Credit Score Save You in 2023?