NatWest Student account review: Get £100

The NatWest Student bank account can get you one of the best overdrafts and £100 in cash

If you’re packing up your bags and collecting together pots and pans for university, you’ll be thinking about finding a student bank account. The NatWest Student account potentially offers the highest overdraft over the period of your degree. You can also get a £100 cash freebie and a 4-year Tastecard.  

Here’s everything you need to know about the NatWest Student bank account.

What is the NatWest Student account?

The NatWest Student account is a bank account specifically designed for students. It’s similar to an adult current account, except for a large interest-free overdraft and some other additional features. 

With the NatWest Student account you could get an interest-free overdraft of up to £2,000 in your first year, potentially rising to £3,250 in your third year. We cover this in more detail later. 

NatWest is also offering a freebie to new students in the form of £100 in cash and a 4-year Tastecard. The Tastecard gets you discounts at restaurants and cinemas. NatWest claims that it’s worth £39.99 per year, but remember that this is only really the case if you’d have bought it anyway. We’ve found that the Tastecard isn’t really the best way to get discounts on meals out. 

Features of the account

You can manage your account, including viewing your balance and latest transactions, changing direct debits and transferring money with the NatWest banking app.

In addition, you can manage your account online and in a NatWest branch.  

The card can be used with contactless and can be set up with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

NatWest also has the Housemate app – although you can use this no matter which student account you end up choosing. This lets you split bills with your housemates, whether they bank with NatWest or not. 

You can also use Open Banking to have your rent payments recognised on your credit report with Experian. 

NatWest Student account welcome offer

Offer: £100 cash when you open a NatWest Student account

NatWest is offering £100 in cash and a 4-year Tastecard for students that sign up for its student account this year.

How to get the £100

To get the £100, you need to sign up for a NatWest Student Account between 3 July 2023 and 30 November 2023.

You can’t get it if you’ve received a student offer from NatWest since 1 July 2020.

When will I get the £100?

As long as you’re eligible, you’ll get the £100 cash within 10 working days of meeting the above criteria.

What is a Tastecard?

The Tastecard gets you a discount at restaurants all year round. It includes some 2-for-1 and 50% off discounts, though you can usually get free trials or find discounts at participating restaurants in other ways.

This is quite a nice little bonus to the account, but wouldn’t be worth making a decision on.

Do you get an overdraft with the NatWest Student account?

Student bank accounts often give a pretty large overdraft, typically with at least £1,000 in your first year and the option to increase it over the duration of your degree. 

With the NatWest student account, you can get a guaranteed £500 overdraft in your first term. You can then request an increase in your limit to potentially get up to £2,000 in your first year, and again in the third year to a possible maximum of £3,250.

An interest-free arranged overdraft allows you to run into a negative balance without any fees. It’s a way of borrowing, so a £1,500 limit will allow you to go overdrawn by £1,500, showing as -£1,500 in your account. This isn’t free money, you’ll have to pay it back, and it’s cumulative, so any further increases to your overdraft limit will include the money you already owe. 

What overdraft could I get with the NatWest Student account?

YearOverdraft limit
Term 1£500
Year 1Up to £2,000
Year 2Up to £2,000
Year 3 (and later years)Up to £3,250

When you graduate, you’ll be automatically moved to a NatWest Graduate account. With this account, you’ll get an initial overdraft limit of up to £3,250, with your interest-free limit reducing gradually over the next three years. 

NatWest Graduate account overdraft limits

You’ll be automatically moved to the graduate account after you graduate. This account still has an interest-free overdraft, but this will gradually reduce over time, which we’ve detailed below. 

Years after graduationOverdraft limit and details
First year after graduationUp to £3,250 limit
Second year after graduation£2,250 at 0% 
Third year after graduation£1,250 at 0% 

Do you need a student overdraft?

Students have a lot of different streams of income, including your student loan, money from your parents, grants and income from any part-time work. 

Despite this, and partly because of the haphazard way that your income comes in, you still might not have enough to cover your basic living expenses.

An overdraft gets you some leeway in your finances while you wait for your next student loan or paycheck. 

This isn’t an excuse for a shopping trip – you’ll still need to be sensible. You shouldn’t spend more than you can afford to pay back. 

How to open a NatWest Student account

Am I eligible for a NatWest Student account? 

To get the NatWest 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 at a UK university or college
  • Not have another student account elsewhere

How to apply for the NatWest Student account

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

  • Proof of your address
  • 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 
  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof that you’re a student – this could include your UCAS status code or a letter
  • Details of your course and where you’re studying

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

  1. Go to the NatWest website and select “Ready to apply” 
  2. You go through a few questions, such as how long you’ve lived in the UK and some legal details.  
  3. Select “Start your application”
  4. Fill in the form – you’ll need to answer questions about your course, your income and tax status. 
  5. You’ll be asked to record a short video during the process.
  6. Submit your application.
  7. Remember to change your bank details on the Student Loans Company website to get your student loan paid into your new account.
  8. You’ll be able to add an overdraft to your account once your course has started.

When can you open a NatWest Student account? 

You can sign up for the NatWest Student account right away, though if you’re waiting for your results, you may need to wait for them if you don’t have an unconditional offer. 

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 NatWest Student account?

Yep, you can absolutely have your student loan paid into a NatWest Student account. 

You may have put your old account into your application for your student loan so you’ll need to log into your Student Loan Company (SLC) account and change your bank details. You’ll need your new NatWest sort code and account number to hand.

How much does the NatWest Student account cost?

The NatWest Student account is free, so there are no monthly fees or overdraft fees.

There are fees to use the account overseas, which we detail below. 

You won’t be charged if you go over your arranged overdraft – though payments will be stopped until you add money to the account and you’ll be charged £2.15 per transaction if you try to withdraw more funds or make more transactions.

Can I use my NatWest student account overseas?

You can use the account overseas, but you’ll pay fees. You will have to pay a 2.75% fee if you withdraw cash or make transactions abroad.

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. You could also look at having another account to use abroad that has more favourable fees.

Is there a credit check for the NatWest Student account?

There is a credit check for the NatWest Student account. This will include a hard credit check when you open the account and anytime you ask for credit, such as when you request an overdraft. 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. 

There’s no need to worry about this! 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. As long as you don’t have a running history of missed payments on a credit card or loan, you should be okay.

NatWest also has an eligibility checker which lets you find out your chances of approval for an overdraft if you’re concerned about this.

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


  • Overdraft of up to £3,250 by your third year
  • £100 in cash when you sign up
  • Free 4-year Tastecard
  • Switch to NatWest anytime during your degree


  • Overdraft limit isn’t guaranteed
  • Not for international students
  • Fees to use the account abroad

Is the NatWest Student account any good?

The NatWest Student account is our top pick for student accounts in 2023 – it’s got the highest potential overdraft, both in the first year and overall in the degree.

The overdraft isn’t guaranteed, but it can increase year by year. If you want a guaranteed overdraft, the Santander Student Account may be a better option. 

You can get a £2,000 interest-free overdraft with the account in your first year, with the option to increase it to up to £3,250 in your third year. 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. This can get you some essentials, such as that first fridge full of shopping and your books.

NatWest Student Account

0% overdraftUp to £2,000 in year 1
Up to £3,025 in year 3
EligibilityMust be 17 or over, and over 18 if you want an overdraft
For uni students only
Not for international students
Savings accountsAccess to the Digital Regular Saver, although you may get a better rate by comparing other accounts
Perks£100 cash and a free 4-year Tastecard

Are there better student accounts?

The NatWest Student account has the largest potential overdraft offering of the bunch – though you’re not guaranteed to get the full amount. HSBC and Nationwide both offer the next largest, with both offering up to £1,000 in the first year, increasing by £1,000 each year. 

The £100 in cash is available from other banks too, though it’s the most you’ll get from a student account this year, and it’s nice to have the Tastecard thrown in, too.

If you want to use your card abroad, the NatWest Student account isn’t the best choice – but you can always have a secondary account to use abroad. 

The best way to compare student accounts is to look at the size of the overdraft, both in the first year and in later years. In a tie, you can consider a signup bonus or freebie.

If you prefer banking in-branch rather than online or using an app, you could research which banks still have branches in the town or city you’ll be studying in and choose between these. 

You should be able to do most things online nowadays, but could find yourself stumped if you’re given a cheque, for example. 

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

HSBC Student Account vs Santander student account 

NatWest Student accountSantander 1|2|3 Student
ApplyAnytime during studiesAnytime during studies
0% overdraft years 1-3Up to £2,000 in year 1
Up to £3,250 in year 3 
Guaranteed £1,500
Overseas use2.75% fee for withdrawals abroadFree withdrawals abroad from Santander cash machines
Perks£100 cash and a 4-year TastecardFree 4-year Santander 16-25 railcard

Santander has a lower overdraft overall, but it’s guaranteed as long as you register for online banking and pay in £500 every four months. You can sign up for both Santander and NatWest anytime during your degree, though you’ll need to switch after year 1. Theoretically, you could get the NatWest cashback then switch to Santander and nab yourself a four-year railcard after the first year, although you’d miss out on a large overdraft.


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