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Student bank accounts: Which come out on top?

By Danielle van Wyk

Being a student signals budgeting and not having a lot of money at your disposal. This means streamlining expenses such as your grocery costs and entertainment budget. But what if your bank account is in fact costing you more than you can afford?

Justmoney compares student account offerings from the bigger banks to find out which is the most cost-effective for your pocket. We also ask a few students about their experiences with these accounts.

The banks that offer student accounts are Absa, First National Bank (FNB), Standard Bank, and Nedbank.

Further, we compare select basic fees, qualification, and application criteria.

Here is a breakdown of the fees:

 

Monthly fees

Card swipes

ATM Withdrawals

Online purchases

Balance Enquiries

Other
Perks

Absa -
Mega U

Free

Free

Free

Free

Free

 

100 mb free data monthly

Nedbank-
Unlocked.Me

Free

Free

From R7, amount dependent

Free

Free

Free data, Food, transport, and entertainment vouchers

Standard-
Student
Achiever

R5.30

Free

8 Free months after which a monthly service fee of R25.22

8 Free months after which a monthly service fee of R25.22

Free

50% off your Travel wallet card

FNB-
Student Account

Free

Free

Free

Free

Free

The option to redirect your bank fees to your parents' FNB account

 

*For more information on other account facilities contact the bank itself.   
**This information was correct at the date of publication (12/02/19).

When it comes to application criteria, the most important things to bring along when opening a student account is your South African identification document (ID), a proof of address, and proof of enrolment in tertiary studies. Contact your bank of choice for more information.

The verdict is in…

From the above table we can conclude that Absa’s Mega U and FNB’s Student Account is tied as the cheapest student account when comparing the above set of facilities.

Standard Bank’s student achiever account is more expensive, with its monthly fee of R5.30 and capped free transaction facilities. Nedbank’s Unlocked.Me further charges customers from R7, amount dependent, for withdrawals, which too proves more expensive.

The students have the last say

Justmoney asked a few students from the University of the Western Cape what they thought of the student accounts they’re using. Here’s what they had to say:

 

Bank name

Account type

Experience

Student 1

FNB

Student account

I enjoy the low fees the account offers and the discount I get on movie tickets.

Student 2

Absa

Mega U

I’ve had no issue with the account but feel as though they can increase the data benefit.

Student 3

FNB

Student account

I am happy with the service and low fees.

Student 4

Nedbank

Unlocked.Me

In addition to cheap fees I like the food voucher benefits.

Student 5

Absa

Mega U

I’ve always banked with Absa but feel as though they can offer more financial support through their student offerings specifically with regards to their built-in student loan benefits.

Student 6

Standard

Student achiever

I’ve benefitted greatly from their cheap fees as I’m constantly making transactions.

Student 7

Nedbank

Unlocked.Me

Their fees are good and their service too.

Student 8

FNB

Student account

They offer great financial support through this account and on-hand financial advisors.

 

In addition to affordable fees students are also keen on accounts that offer holistic financial support and lifestyle benefits. These include food vouchers, entertainment vouchers, fuel discounts, and access to loan offerings at a better interest rate.

Students are increasingly searching for offerings that cater to a multitude of needs. Accounts that give young people access to an array of deals such as 50% off laptops, 100mb of data, Debonairs and Nandos vouchers, and Taxify vouchers, also bode well.

This all goes a long way in supporting the students to complete their studies without the added financial pressure of catering to survival needs, says Mutsa Chironga, Managing Executive for Consumer Banking at Nedbank.

Understanding how you can get the best out of your account is how you make the biggest savings. Educate yourself on the account, its costs, and its benefits before applying.

Alternatively contact a trusted financial advisor to walk you through the offering and which would work best for your pocket. If you’re interested in comparing bank account products, across providers, visit Justmoney.

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