Not that banks are nasty to students. It’s just that most students are scared of talking to their bank because they owe them so much money and they know the bank has the power to cut off their cash supply.
In fact, most banks suck up to students like they were millionaires (because they hope one day that’s exactly what they’ll be – or, at any rate, they know they’re likely to be richer than non-graduates). To entice students to open accounts, banks offer them freebies, good deals and, more importantly, free overdrafts. This is, basically, a way of lending you money. For free.
Banks speak a language of their own, possibly invented by customer service experts in a secret underground facility beneath Alton Towers. At great personal risk, however, Push has acquired a black book containing translations of common terminology. Here are some extracts…
Normally, if you want to borrow from a bank, they charge you for it. But for students - as long as they remain students - the big banks offer interest-free overdrafts of up to £3,000 over your course. Some may even oblige with more, if you ask nicely.
The crunch comes, however, when you graduate. Unless you walk into a megabucks job, you’ll have your student loan to pay off, plus your bank overdraft. And that’s when the interest can start to rack up (although some banks offer helpfully slow repayment packages).
It’s best to get chummy with your bank from the start. If you've already got a good relationship with a bank you might be tempted to stick with your existing account, but you could be cutting yourself short. Make sure you switch to a student account to get the perks, and do a proper scout around the competition for the best deal.
Also, always let them know what your situation is, however bad it gets. They don’t often cut students off, so long as they're acting responsibly.