Last updated: 28 November 2019
Is the NatWest Student Credit Card a good idea for you? It may be, if you're a UK or international student who also has a NatWest student bank account. Below we explain what to consider and how best to use the card, if you choose to get one.
NatWest Student Credit Card Review
The NatWest Student credit card gives you a chance to work on your credit history while you're still in school—this is key as once you leave school having a solid credit history can really help you navigate life. For instance, a good credit history can facilitate getting your first flat or even your first job, as these both usually run credit checks.
Like other "student" credit cards, there's no income requirement or minimum credit history—because students tend to be young without a credit record and spend their time studying instead of working. Basic requirements are being a UK resident, 18 years of age, a student and having a NatWest Student current account. Similar to other high-street bank student credit cards, the NatWest Student card is linked to a NatWest Student bank account. This means you can only apply for the credit card by opening a bank account with a confirmed place to study.
The NatWest Student Credit Card has a purchase interest rate of 18.9% APR (variable), which is average in the market for UK student credit cards and on the low side for someone without a credit history—nonetheless, try to pay back your full balance each month to avoid paying interest charges. And always stay under your credit limit to avoid negative marks to your credit history.
If you like to travel, like so many students, you can use the card abroad, but beware of the non-sterling transaction fees you'll incur for using your card abroad. It's generally better to avoid cash withdrawals on a credit card, this one included. Cash withdrawals are notoriously expensive especially when you're abroad because you'll pay a cash withdrawal fee, a transaction fee and interest charges immediately.
NatWest Student Card Features
|NatWest Student Card Features|
|Non-sterling transaction fees||2.75%|
|Cash withdrawal fee||3% (minimum £3 per transaction)|
Using NatWest Student Credit Card Abroad
As many students travel over the holidays, it's important to know that any foreign currency transaction (at a hotel, restaurant, ATM, etc.) will incur a 2.75% fx fee. In addition, cash withdrawals from ATMs will also incur a 3% (£3 minimum) charge on top of the fx fee. This means you'll pay 5.75% on cash withdrawals—plus you start incurring interest charges on cash withdrawals immediately (there's no grace period on cash withdrawals like there is on purchases) making it very expensive to use your NatWest Student card at an ATM abroad. Here are the fees you'd incur by using the NatWest Student Credit Card overseas:
|Type of Transaction||Example||Fee||Minimum Fee|
|All Foreign Transactions||Paying for a meal in a restaurant/using an ATM||2.75%||n/a|
|Cash Withdrawal||Getting foreign cash from an ATM||3%||n/a|
Should I Pay in Pounds Abroad, to Avoid the Foreign Transaction Charge?
Usually, it's more economical to pay in the local currency when you're abroad, because if you choose to pay in pounds then the retailer picks the currency exchange rate—which can be suboptimal, and they may charge you for doing so. The other option is to pay in the local currency and incur a 2.75% foreign transaction fee. You can learn more about cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees in our guide on Travel Credit Cards.
Who Can Get a NatWest Student Card?
Like other student credit cards from high-street banks, the NatWest Student card is linked to a NatWest Student bank account. To open a student bank account, you must have a confirmed place to study and:
- Be at least 17 years old
- Have a NatWest Student bank account
- Be a UK resident
Students will be considered by NatWest for the student card if they are either in:
- a full-time undergraduate course that lasts at least 2 years
- or a full-time post-graduate course
- or training as a nurse at a UK university or college of higher education.
As proof of student status, NatWest requests a 16-digit UCAS Status Code, which will have been emailed to you by UCAS.
Student Bank Accounts for International Students
Since there is no minimum UK residency requirement, it is possible for international students coming from abroad to be accepted for the NatWest student card. The only feature not available to international students is the Student Arranged Overdraft, so international students need to keep their bank account in the black.