Halifax Student account review: Get £100

The Halifax Student bank account can get you an interest-free overdraft of up to £1,500 and £100 in cash

You’ll need a student bank account if you’re heading to university in the autumn. 

The Halifax student account can get you an interest-free overdraft of up to £1,500 in the first three years of your degree and up to £2,000 in any further years that you attend. You can also get £100 in cash when you sign up.

Here are some of the details of the Halifax Student account including the pros, the cons and some alternatives.

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What is the Halifax Student account?

The Halifax Student account is similar to an adult current account that’s for students heading off to university. The difference is that you can get an interest-free overdraft limit and some extra perks.

The Halifax Student account can get you an interest-free overdraft of up to £1,500 for the duration of your degree. We cover this in more detail later. 

A number of banks are offering freebies for students who sign up for their bank accounts. Halifax is offering £100 for new sign-ups, which is the same as NatWest, RBS, Nationwide, Lloyds and HSBC. Meanwhile, Santander gets you a 4-year railcard and Barclays offers a year or Perlego. 

For this one, you don’t need to be in your first year, so even if you’ve already been a Fresher, you can still nab this deal. 

Features of the account

The Halifax banking app lets you view your balance and latest transactions, change direct debits and transfer money. 

On top of that, you can view your PIN and card details from within the app. This isn’t something we’ve seen with a lot of student accounts we’ve reviewed.  

In addition, you can cancel subscriptions and check your TransUnion credit score with the Halifax banking app (though you can easily do this for free in the Credit Karma app).

If you prefer in-person banking, you can also manage your account in a Halifax branch.  

You can use the card with contactless, as well as set up Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

Halifax is offering “a little extra back” in the form of 0.5% interest on a positive bank balance. When they say “a little”, they really mean it. Meanwhile, Lloyds is offering 2% (up to £5,000) and TSB is offering 5% (up to £500). If you have quite the surplus in your account, you’re probably better off looking at savings accounts.

Halifax Student account welcome offer

Offer: £100 cash for signing up for a Halifax Student Account

You can get £100 from Halifax for signing up for its student account this year.

How to get the £100

To get the £100, you need to sign up for a Halifax Student Account between 1 August 2023 and 31 October 2023 and deposit at least £500 into your account by 31 October 2023.

You can’t get it if you already have a Halifax Student Account but you can upgrade your account if you’ve already got a Halifax Current Account.

When will I get the £100?

As long as you’re eligible, you’ll get the £100 cash by 30 November 2023.

Do you get an overdraft with the Halifax Student account?

A student account will typically offer a large interest-free overdraft — you should hope for an offering of up to £1,000 in your first year, with the option to increase it over the duration of your degree. 

Keep in mind that “up to” means you won’t necessarily get the full amount, with the exception of the Santander student account, where you’re guaranteed a £1,500 overdraft for the first three years of your degree. 

Halifax offers an overdraft of up to £1,500 for the duration of your degree, even if you stay on for longer. 

Interest-free overdrafts let you spend into a negative balance without being charged any fees. It’s a way of borrowing money, so you’ll have to pay it back.

For example, a £1,500 interest-free overdraft limit will allow you to go overdrawn by £1,500, showing as -£1,500 in your account. This is cumulative, so any increases to your overdraft limit will include the money you already owe. 

What overdraft could I get with the Halifax Student account?

YearOverdraft limit
All yearsUp to £1,500

Once you’ve graduated, you’ll still be able to keep the same benefits of your account for another three years. After this, you’ll be moved to a Halifax Current Account. 

Is there a Halifax Graduate account? 

There isn’t a specific account for graduates at Halifax. This doesn’t mean that you’ll lose all the benefits of your account as soon as you’ve donned your cap and gown. You’ll be able to keep the benefits, including your overdraft for three years – this doesn’t decrease over time, as with other graduate accounts. 

Do you need a student overdraft?

You might wonder if you even need an overdraft, after all, that loan you’re getting seems like an awful lot of money. Don’t speak too soon 

Students don’t always have enough money to cover basic living expenses.

In addition, you have a lot of different streams of income. This includes your student loan, any money from your parents, grants, if you get any, plus income from any part-time work that you do. 

Your overdraft gets you a little bit of leeway. A chance to breathe (and still eat) before your next student loan comes in. 

Don’t be tempted to go on a shopping spree – you shouldn’t spend more than you can afford to pay back. 

How to open a Halifax Student account

Am I eligible for a Halifax Student account? 

Before you start to apply, make sure you’re eligible. To get the Halifax Student Account you need to:

  • Be 17 or over – you can only have an overdraft if you’re over 18
  • Live in the UK and have lived in the UK for the past 3 years
  • Have been accepted onto a full-time course of at least two years’ duration, or a one-year full-time access course leading to a degree
  • Not have another student account elsewhere – or be willing to switch to Halifax if you do

How to apply for the Halifax Student account

Opening a student account with Halifax is really easy. Before you begin, you’ll need to have the following ready:

  • Your 4-digit UCAS code confirming your place for your course
  • Proof of identity, such as a driving licence or passport
  • Proof of your current address
  • Your address history for the last 3 years
  • Details of your income and how you’ll cover your expenses – these don’t need to be extensive, you’re not expected to be earning six figures and have a detailed financial plan 
  • Details of your course and where you’re studying

Here’s what you need to do to get a Halifax Student Account:

  1. Go to the Halifax website and select “Apply as a new customer”, or “I’m an existing customer”, if you already bank with Halifax 
  2. You may need to scan a QR code to continue on your phone
  3. Answer the questions on screen and select “Continue”
  4. Answer the questions about your personal details – you’ll need to answer questions about your course, your income and tax status. 
  5. Submit your application.
  6. Remember to change your bank details on the Student Loans Company website to get your student loan paid into your new account.

When can you open a Halifax Student account? 

You can sign up for the Halifax Student Account as soon as your place is confirmed – if you’re still waiting for your results or applying through clearing, you may need to wait to have everything through. 

This offer may be withdrawn, so you’ll want to get in as soon as you can if you’re interested.

Can my student loan be paid into my Halifax Student account?

Yes – though this isn’t a requirement of the account, so you can pay into whichever account you like.

You’ll have used your old bank details when setting up your loan, so you just need to log into your Student Loan Company (SLC) account and change your bank details. You’ll need your new Halifax sort code and account number.

How much does the Halifax Student account cost?

The Halifax Student account is completely free! 

You don’t have to pay any monthly fees or overdraft fees to use the Halifax Student account. You will have to pay fees if you use the account overseas, which we detail below. 

In addition, you won’t be charged if you go over your arranged overdraft and there’s no fee if Halifax refuses a payment due to lack of funds or if it allows a payment despite lack of funds.

This effectively gives you a bit of peace of mind if you find yourself in a difficult situation financially. 

Can I use my Halifax student account overseas?

You can use the account overseas, but you be charged some fees when you do: 

Withdrawal of euros inside the EEA / Spending in euros inside the EEAFree
Withdrawal of foreign currency outside the EEA, and foreign currency other than euro inside the EEA£1.50
Spending in foreign currency outside the EEA, and spending in foreign currency other than euro inside the EEA£1.50
Withdrawal of pounds outside the UK£1.50

If you’re looking for a student account that’s fee-free abroad, Nationwide is a good choice, as you can use the debit card abroad and withdraw cash abroad for free. Another good option is to have another non-student account to use abroad that won’t cost you anything.

Is there a credit check for the Halifax Student account?

There will be a credit check when you apply for the Halifax Student account. 

This will include a hard credit check when you open the account and another anytime you ask for credit, such as if you request an overdraft or any subsequent requests to extend your overdraft. 

This isn’t anything you need to worry about. If you’ve never borrowed money before, you’ll likely have a very thin credit report, which means that you haven’t borrowed enough money for the credit bureaus to be able to judge you. 

We spoke to Experian who said that it’s unlikely that you’d be refused for having no credit history – it’s normal for banks to factor in a thin file when applying for student accounts.

If you want to, you can check your credit score for free. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re registered to vote, which has a positive impact on your credit score. There may be a small dip in your overall score when you open the account for around 3 months and while you build up a good track record. 

What are the pros and cons of a Halifax Student Account?

Pros

  • £100 in cash when you sign up
  • Switch to Halifax anytime during your degree
  • Manage and cancel subscriptions in the Halifax app
  • Can see all card details in the app
  • Interest on positive balance – but look at other savings accounts if you have a lot sitting in there

Cons

  • Overdraft limit isn’t guaranteed
  • Overdraft isn’t as large as other student bank accounts
  • Not for international students
  • Fees to use the account abroad

Is the Halifax Student account any good?

To be honest, the Halifax Student account simply isn’t as good as other student accounts. The overdraft isn’t guaranteed, so you may not be approved for the top amount. You can get the same amount guaranteed from Santander, but the freebie is a 4-year railcard instead of £100 cash. 

The maximum interest-free overdraft you can get is £1,500, which is less than half of the potential overdraft you could get from NatWest (£3,250, and also offering £100 in cash).

To compare, the Nationwide and HSBC Student accounts both offer up to £1,000 in the first year and the option to increase it by up to £1,000 each year until your third year. 

Of course, it’s nice to get £100 in cash when you open the account, but other (better!) accounts offer this too.

Halifax Student account

0% overdraftUp to £1,500
EligibilityMust be 17 or over, and over 18 if you want an overdraft
For university students only
Not for international students
Interest0.5% AER variable on balances above £0.01
Savings accountsSave the Change – rounds up your purchases and outs the difference into a savings account
Access Halifax savings accounts – though you can probably get better rates elsewhere
Perks£100 cash

Are there better student accounts?

You can definitely get a better student account elsewhere. The Halifax Student Account is okay, but it doesn’t have the best offering. The overdraft doesn’t increase over the term of your degree – even if you do a longer degree. 

The £100 in cash is available from other banks too – this is the highest cash payout you’ll get from a student account this year, although there’s a nifty way to get an extra £20 or £25 if you choose HSBC.

To choose between accounts, you want to compare the size of the overdraft — both in the first year and in later years — and the way you like to bank, whether that’s in-branch, online or using the app. 

If you prefer banking in-branch, take a look at which banks still have branches in the town or city you’ll be studying in, and even on campus, and choose between these. In a tie, you can consider a signup bonus or freebie.

You can read our round-up guide on student bank accounts, or read individual reviews via the links below. 

Halifax student account vs NatWest Student account

Halifax Student accountNatWest Student account
ApplyAnytime during studiesAnytime during studies
0% overdraft years 1-3Up to £1,500Up to £2,000 in year 1
Up to £3,250 in year 3 
Overseas useUp to £1.50 per transaction abroad2.75% fee for withdrawals abroad
Perks£100 cash£100 cash and a 4-year Tastecard

The Halifax bank account offers an overdraft of up to £1,500 , however you could be approved for up to £3,250 by your third year with NatWest.

Both accounts are offering a perk of £100 in cash, however you can also get a Tastecard with NatWest. The Tastecard isn’t necessarily a great perk alone, but it’s a nice addition that can get you a discount on meals out. 

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