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Anyone can get an NUS card student discount when you’re not a student with this simple trick. Without a doubt, the best money saving hack I’ve written about.

One of the first posts I wrote for the blog explained how I managed to get an NUS card, even though I wasn’t actually studying at a university or college. Well, a lot of people won’t have seen that post, so it’s time to revisit it!

What is an NUS Extra card?

If you’ve ever been a student, you’ll know that your ID often doubled up as an NUS (National Union of Students) card and gave you discounts in shops, cinemas and more.

A few years ago NUS started charging students to get an NUS Extra card, which as the name suggests, gives even more discounts. They also now come with an ISIC (International Student Identity Card), giving student prices overseas and on travel.

How to get an NUS student discount card when you’re not a student


Anyone who signs up to an online course at e-Careers is eligible to buy an NUS card. These courses cover everything from baking to business and usually last a year.

*March 2017 update – I’ve had a few people saying eCareers have stopped supporting NUS cards. I’ve checked and it’s still listed on both its website and the NUS website. I’ll keep you updated if this changes, but bear this in mind when buying a course below.*

How to get a cheap eCareers course

ECareers courses aren’t cheap – so the trick is to buy your course cut-price from a deals site like Groupon or GoGroopie.

The cheapest I’ve ever seen is £4 though £10 to £12 is most common – great as long as you aren’t bothered about the actual course content!

If you want to take advantage of the course too you might need to spend nearer to £20 – though there’s probably something for everyone.

>> Right now (updated 30/3/17) the best I can find are

In the past there have been deals on Wowcher and Living Social, but I’ve not seen any there recently.

How to apply for your NUS card

Once you’ve paid for your deal from the deals site, follow the instructions to activate it with eCareers.

Then simply apply for an NUS Extra card on the NUS website.  You don’t need to contact eCareers at all about this. Here’s how to apply:

  • Enter your email address
  • Type in eCareers as your place of study. This should autopopulate the box after a few characters
  • Choose the category that is most similar to the course you’ve bought, the level (something like “professional” should be ok, and the length (probably one year).
  • Next you’ll need to enter a “password” but you can make this up.
  • Finally upload a photo of yourself (this will be displayed on the card).

With this all done you simply need to pay. The NUS Extra card will cost you £12 and be valid for 12 months.

You can also apply for a two year or three year NUS card, but the free ISIC add on is only for one year.

Top-ups to add

There are a couple of options to add before you checkout.

The ISIC add on is now free, and it’s brilliant. I’ve used it to save hundreds on flights abroad, as well as get discounts for museums.

A Gourmet Society add-on (similar to Tastecard) will be £3.99 – but that’s a lot less than the full price, and even the cheapest special offer price. Read more about dining cards in my guide.

Is this trick legitimate?

Yes. NUS own e-Careers, and they’re more than happy to get people buying their online courses. So if the National Union of Student say you are a student then you are!

I found this trick because I’d signed up to a web design course in 2013, and I’ve renewed it a further three times.

How much money can it save?

Potentially a huge amount.

Of course, it depends on what you buy. One of my biggest savings is £15 a go on tickets to football matches. Add on the discounts you can get at cinemas, theatres, galleries and thousands of shops and you should easily make your money back on normal spending. Anything after that is a massive bonus.

The biggest savings have been on flights where airlines offer student prices if you have a valid ISIC. The best site for this is STA Travel.

Unfortunately, some student discounts (eg Young Persons Railcard), require a student ID.

Some of the main discounts

There are thousands of ways to save. Here are the highlights:

  • Up to 15% off at Apple, though the rate varies
  • Reduced prices at most cinemas, and an extra 25% off at Odeon (Mon-Thurs)
  • 10% off at places like Superdrug, Co-op, ASOS and Office
  • Six months free Amazon Prime, then half-price for four years (save £39 a year)
  • Half price Spotify Premium (save £5 a month)

Deals sites to check

I’ll always try to highlight a cheap e-Careers deal up above, but if you want to look for a course you might actually find handy, try these sites.

This is an updated version of an article written in May 2015.

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