×
The Student Bank Account Awards

The Student Bank Account Awards

The first round of third level places were offered this week and for those starting in colleges around the country, the journey to independence and adult life has just begun. Starting college is an adventure and can be a little daunting as well as great fun. It’s not just about lectures and classes, there’s finding a place to live, making new friends and exploring new freedoms.

There’s also plenty of things to organize and set up before setting off to college and a good student bank account is one of them. I know that most students have better things to be doing right now than researching bank accounts, so I thought I’d do my bit for the college going crowd and do their homework for them. Hopefully I’ll be able to make choosing the right account that little bit easier!

 

 The good news is that most working stiffs would love if their bank offered them the kind of incentives and deals that are on offer to students; so students should take advantage of them while they can. Just by opening a current account, students can get their hands on free cash, free trips to major European cities, free Travelcards and even interest free loans and overdrafts.

The banks aren’t dumb though, they take the long view and they know that if they get you while you’re in college, they’ve probably got you for life. That €100 they give you now, or the free trip or the interest free travel loan? They’ll make it back in spades once you graduate, so like I said, take advantage of them while you can.

So here’s a look at the student accounts from the big four. Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank. It’s very hard to say for sure which is the best account because they all offer that one and most important thing: fee free banking. The rest are all about what’s important to you. So first of all, I’ll give my opinion on which bank has the best deal in each category, then list each account and what it offers and after that, you decide!

 

Best Signup Offer or Freebie

Ulster Bank - €100 cash. Why? Well, nothing beats cold hard cash. And it’s paid out in two €50 installments in January and February, just at exactly that time when cash is tightest. Bank of Ireland comes a close second with a free return flight to a choice of 10 European cities.

Best Overdraft

AIB €1,500 interest free overdraft. Why? Because it’s the biggest available and it’s interest free. Just don’t max it out right away.

Best Loan Offer

Bank of Ireland - €2,000 travel loan. It's interest free for 9 months or you can make no payments for 9 months. Brilliant because it allows you to go on your J1 and not have to worry about payments or interest until Spring of the following year.

Best Credit Card

AIB MC2 Student Mastercard. Very close race between this card and the Bank of Ireland Student Credit Card. Both have decent introductory purchase offers and ok interest rates, but AIB wins because of the higher credit limit of €1,500

Best Current Account Interest

AIB at 1% for balances up to €1,000. Yes, even if you always maintain a balance of over €1,000, you’ll still only earn a tenner in interest, but it’s better than paying fees. Bank of Ireland again is a close second at 0.75% for balances of up to €1,500 which will actually earn you a little more in interest if you always maintain a balance of over €1,500, but I'm a realist and know there aren't too many student accounts with cash like that year round!

 

In alphabetical order, here's a look at the student accounts available from the big four and all that they offer.

 

Allied Irish Bank – Student Plus Account

Signup Incentive
Student Travelcard – good for travel discounts of up to 40% and discounts from participating retailers.

  • Fees: No maintenance or transaction fees.*
  • Overdraft: An interest free overdraft of up to €1,500.
  • Interest: Current account earns interest of 1% on balances of up to €1,000.
  • Loans: A discount of 1.5% off the standard personal loan rate. Currently 9.45% APR.
  • Credit Card: MC2 Student Mastercard with a limit of up to €1,500. This card has an introductory purchase rate of 3.83% for 12 months. The APR is 20.3%.
  • Student website: www.stuff4students.ie - discounts, blogs, competitions and giveaways.
     

Bank of Ireland – 3rd Level Student Account

Signup Incentive
Free return flight to a major European city for opening a current account. To get the flight, you need to use the account 10 times before 31/10/10

  • Fees: No maintenance or transaction fees.*
  • Overdraft: An interest free overdraft for up to 9 months then 11.9%.
  • Interest: Current account earns interest of 0.75% on balances of up to €1,500.
  • Loans: A travel loan of up to €2,000 interest free for 9 months, or no payments required for 9 months.
  • Loans II: A discount of off the standard personal loan rate. Currently 11.9% APR.
  • Credit Card: Student Credit Card (Mastercard) with a limit of up to €850. This card has an introductory purchase rate of 0% for 6 months. The APR is 18.1%.
  • Student Website: http://roi.mystudentbank.com/ - videos, blogs and offers.

 

Permanent TSB

Signup Incentive
None at the moment

  • Fees: No maintenance or transaction fees*
  • Overdraft: No special offers but overdraft available at regular rates.
  • Interest: No interest paid on current account balances.
  • Loans: No special loans offers for students, but student account holders can apply for regular loans.
  • Credit Card: No specific student credit card but students can apply for a regular Permanent TSB credit card.
  • Student Website: No dedicated student website.

 

Ulster Bank – Student Account

Signup Incentive
€100 cash for opening a current account. To get the cash, just open the account by 29th October and use it 3 times a month. The cash is paid into the account. €50 in January and €50 in February 2011.

  • Fees: No maintenance or transaction fees*
  • Overdraft: An interest free overdraft of up to €650.
  • Interest: No interest paid on current account balances.
  • Loans: No special loans offers for students, but student account holders can apply for regular loans.
  • Credit Card: No specific student credit card but students can apply for a regular Ulster Bank credit card.
  • Student Website: No dedicated student website.

 

If you have any comments on this, please let us know below. If you want to compare these accounts side by side just use the bonkers.ie Current Account comparison tool and choose the Student Accounts tab. And of course when you do choose the account you want to go with, just click on the proceed link and we'll bring you to the signup page for your bank of choice. 

* For all banks there are exceptions to the “fee free” rule like bounced cheques and international or foreign currency transactions.
** bonkers.ie does not list all student current account incentives on its comparison pages because they are seasonal and subject to change at short notice. The information and incentives listed here are as accurate as we can verify on 24th August 2010.


By using this website, you agree to be bound by our Terms of Use and consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy.