Entering the postgraduate studies arena is always a stressful time for students. You'll be moving into a sphere where you're competing with the finest students; where your initiatives and their own efforts are what will bear fruit; and where your years of experience as a student is what will come in handy.
Finances for postgraduate students are much more complex than they are when they are undergraduates. Postgraduate banking and student banking are basically two sides of the same coin; only there are a few more options and some added advantages when a postgraduate banking account is opened and operated.
Banks love graduate accounts; they hope to build on the loyalty of these customers. They are banking on your future, so go ahead and open a graduate account in the bank of your choice. They will offer you extra benefits and features, and if you do your homework well, you can get them to go the extra mile to get you to be a part of their customer base. Natwest offers Tastecard membership, where you can get up to 50 % at various eating places across UK. Barclays offers mobile insurance cover against loss, theft and accidental damage. Some banks offer preferential terms up to 3 years for their graduate account holders.
One of the most important features offered by almost all banks is the zero interest overdraft facility. They call it an arranged overdraft – whereby a pre-fixed limit is set for the amount that can be overdrawn by the student. They are allowed to borrow this amount without any interest being charged. This helps the student tide over any extra expenses they may incur. It also helps them to repay their student loans and pay any other debt
they may have without having to incur higher interest charges. Do your research on which bank offers the largest and longest lasting interest free feature, since, in the long run, this additional benefit can save you a lot of money. However, do remember that at some point in time, this overdraft has to be cleared. And, if it is done gradually, you will have paid off your debt and will not be burdened with high rates, by the time the interest period starts.
Banks offer special rates for graduate loans. Student banking always has some measure of loans within it, since university education is expensive and few students can be a part of it without having to take a loan to cover the costs. University fees and funding
is one of the major concerns of all students. Banks will offer you loans at very competitive rates, since they do realise your limitations, and they hope that as you go on to earn good money, your loyalty towards the bank will remain steadfast.
Most banks will waive of the maintenance and transaction charges for any postgraduate banking account. They will also offer international debit cards, which are secure and are covered under their free purchase protection. Student railcards are also very useful, since they offer up to 30 % savings on rail travel. You need to be studying at a university for over 20 weeks in a year and at least 15 hours a week, in order to be eligible for these cards.
Before you start a postgraduate banking account anywhere, spend some time checking out and comparing the facilities being offered by the various banks. How many branches do they have near your university? Do they have a 24/7 customer-care facility? Are their loan interest charges competitive? Will they be willing to offer you a good mortgage if you decide to buy your first home? In the long run, it will save you time and effort if you do your due diligence in the beginning itself.