As we are just starting the new college year, students will have a number of anxieties on their minds: Making new friends, coping with all that college work and those dreaded early starts to top it all off, so perhaps the last thing some will think of is to organise a solid bank account. But with the vast variety of offers available to students out there, now is the ideal time to set one up.

Many of the banks will offer students some sort of specialised account with various gimmicks to lure them in, knowing full well that if they can grab you while your in your college years, they've probably got you for life. The good news is that most workers would give anything to have the kind of incentives and deals that are on offer to students; so students should take advantage of them while they can.

I've decided to do my bit to help and do the research so that everyone can simply decide for themselves, which is for them.

I'm going to look at the 4 main ones who offer specific student/graduate accounts: Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB. It's difficult to say which one is the best, it will come down to personal preference as many have similar features, so I'll list each of them below and you can take it from there:

Allied Irish Bank - Student Plus Account

  • Fees: No maintenance or transaction fees
  • Overdraft: An interest free overdraft of up to €1,500
  • Interest: Current account earns interest of 1% on balances of up to €1,000.
  • Credit Card: MC2 Student MasterCard with a limit of up to €1,500. This card has an introductory purchase rate of 3.83% for 12 months. The APR is 14.85%.
  • Loans: A discount of 1.5% off the standard personal loan rate. Currently 9.45% APR.
  • Internet Banking and 24 hour service
  • Check out the AIB website for lots of info their special Graduate Accounts, discounts, blogs, competitions and more.

Benefits if you sign up: Student Travelcard - good for travel discounts of up to 40% and discounts from participating retailers.

Bank of Ireland - 3rd Level Student Account
  • Fees: No maintenance or transaction fees*
  • Overdraft: An interest free overdraft for up to 9 months then 11.9%.
  • Interest: Current account earns interest of 0.75% on balances of up to €1,500.
  • Credit Card: Student Credit Card (MasterCard) with a limit of up to €850. This card has an introductory purchase rate of 0% for 6 months. The APR is 15.5%.
  • Loans: A travel loan of up to €2,000 interest free for 9 months, or no payments required for 9 months.
  • Loans II: A discount of off the standard personal loan rate. Currently 11.9% APR.
  • Internet banking.
  • Check out the Bank of Ireland website for blogs and other offers.

Benefits if you sign up: Free return flight to a major European city for opening a current account. To get the flight, you need to use the account 10 times before 31/10/10

Ulster Bank - Student Account
  • Fees: No maintenance or transaction fees*
  • Overdraft: An interest free overdraft of up to €650.
  • Interest: No interest paid on current account balances.
  • Credit Card: No specific student credit card but students can apply for a regular Ulster Bank credit card.
  • Loans: No special loan offers for students, but student account holders can apply for regular loans.
  • Check out the Ulster Bank website (there is no dedicated student website)

Benefits if you sign up: €100 free cash for opening a current account. To get the cash, just open the account by 29th October and use it 3 times a month. (Shouldn't be too hard?)

Also go to the Ulster Bank website for information on their graduate accounts.

Permanent TSB - Student Account
  • Fees: No maintenance or transaction fees*
  • Overdraft: No special offers but overdraft available at regular rates.
  • Interest: No interest paid on current account balances.
  • Credit Card: No specific student credit card but students will get a regular Permanent TSB Visa card, which you can personalise if you wish.
  • Loans: No special loan offers for students, but student account holders can apply for regular loans.
  • Internet banking.
  • Check out the Permanent TSB website (there is no dedicated student website)*

For all banks there are exceptions to the "free fees" rule such as international or foreign currency transactions, so check their websites for further information on this.


Also note that all of the above figures and incentives are subject to change but are as accurate as possible on date of publishing.