The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has urged third level students and college bound school-leavers to carefully consider their choice of student bank account this summer.
Authorised overdrafts and loan facilities are among the special features of student accounts designed for undergraduates, but there are sometimes considerable differences between the deals on offer from competing banks and credit unions.
“Many students will expect to take advantage of an authorised overdraft or bank loan at some stage before or during their college career – which is why choosing the right student bank account is so important,” said USI president Tony McDonnell.
“Regrettably, the maintenance grant and other supports simply don’t go far enough toward meeting the cost of college, while credit cards are an expensive, impractical way of borrowing money over an extended period.
“USI encourages current undergraduates and college bound school-leavers not to automatically accept the student account offered by their existing bank, but to look around for the student account offering the best overdraft and loan facilities for their needs.
“Firstly, students should compare the limits on authorised overdrafts, as well as the rate of interest charged on accounts in deficit but within the authorised overdraft limit.
“Secondly, students should question how much they can borrow should they need to take out a loan – including the rate of interest and the repayment period. Read the small print and don’t attach undue weight to special offers.”