It’s no secret that tertiary students are strapped for cash. With student loan living costs barely covering rent, let alone basic necessities, many students find themselves between a rock and a hard place. In fact, a study by Victoria University found that the living costs, or student allowance, fall short by up to $10,000 a year. And while many students work part-time while studying, 550 hours of minimum wage work would be needed to cover the $10,000 gap.
Not everyone can work while studying. Limited transport options, disabilities, stress and coursework all prevent students from making money on the side.
What is a student bank account?
A student bank account is, you guessed it, a bank account designed specifically for students. These accounts can come as an everyday or savings account, or are sometimes offered as part of a package. They offer various features and benefits tailored towards students’ unique financial needs. These accounts often have lower fees, no minimum balance and higher interest rates, alongside other products like debit cards.
Why do I need a student bank account?
Being a student is expensive and, as mentioned above, money can often be sparse. Therefore, taking full advantage of the financial benefits that student bank accounts offer is a good idea. Plus, putting some money away into a high-interest saving account whenever you can can limit stress in case of a future emergency.
What’s on offer?
ANZ’s Jumpstart account for students and under 21s offers a range of benefits. These include:
- No monthly account or transaction fees
- Free Visa Debit card
- Apply for an overdraft, personal credit card or personal loan when you turn 18
ASB offers a tertiary account for students and apprentices. Features include:
- No base or transaction fees
- Alerts to help keep track of your spending
- Pay directly to a mobile number or Trade Me seller
- Google and Apple Pay
- “Save the Change” option to save every time you spend
- Personalise saving accounts’ names
BNZ offers a range of accounts and products that are ideal for students and apprentices. Benefits include:
- No transaction or account fees with YouMoney
- A RapidSave account designed for saving, which earns interest every month
- A special interest rate for BNZ’s Advanced Personal Loan, plus no loan facility fee
- Access to Visa’s exclusive entertainment offers with BNZ’s Flexi Debit Visa
The Cooperative bank
The Cooperative bank offers a tertiary student package. Benefits include:
- No fees on an everyday account
- Debit Mastercard fee waived
- High interest savings rate with a Dosh account
- Interest-free overdraft of $1000 with no set-up fees
TSB offers a student first package, which is a flexible everyday account for students and apprentices. Features include:
- No monthly management fee
- Debit Mastercard with no annual fee
- Free use of all NZ bank-owned ATMs
Westpac’s tertiary account is designed to help the transition into study or an apprenticeship. Benefits include:
- Fee-free transaction account
- Fee-free debit card
- Fee-free savings account, with bonus interest
Students, graduates and career starters are entitled to an interest-free (up to $2000) overdraft, with an Easy Access Account.
What do you need to open a tertiary bank account?
There are some differences between banks when opening a student bank account, however, there are some standard requirements:
- Studying full or part time/completing an apprenticeship
- Completed tertiary application form
- Proof of study (e.g. letter of acceptance, student ID or tertiary fees receipt) or apprenticeship (e.g. training agreement or employment contract)
- Provide suitable ID (e.g. driver licence or passport)
You may or may not have to verify your identity by visiting a branch.
Tips for choosing the best bank account
Choosing the best account means weighing up what’s important to you and what will suit your unique needs. While most NZ student bank accounts offer similar features, it pays to read the fine print. Consider:
- Transaction and account fees
- Account fees once you complete you studies
- Interest rates
- If you want an everyday or savings account, or both
- If you want a debit card
- How often you can transfer money without a fee
Everyday and savings accounts
Looking to maximise your money? Click here to see compare savings accounts, everyday accounts and the most recent winners of Canstar’s Outstanding Value | Everyday and Savings Accounts awards.
About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.