When you are heading off to university, the things that you need from your bank account will change. Firstly, you may need to have an overdraft facility for the first time, meaning that you agree with the bank that you can spend more than the amount of money you actually have, up to a certain limit. Such is the competition among banks to attract new customers at university level that you will usually be able to get an overdraft of up to £2,000 with no charges. However, fees will be charged for going over your overdraft limit, so make sure that you stay within the conditions that have been set by the bank.
Although previously it may have suited you fine to just have a cash card to withdraw your money from ATM machines, you will now have other considerations. For example, if you are living in a rented property, you will usually be expected to pay your rent each month by standing order. Your student account should therefore give you the facility to set up direct debits and standing orders for rent and also for other household bills. Having a bank branch close by is hugely useful when you are comparing student accounts, because it makes it much easier to pay in cheques and cash and to ask for advice and support as and when you need it. After all the student account features and the convenience factor have been taken into consideration, only then should you compare the freebies! Take your time when choosing a student bank account however, and don't be pushed into anything by the reps at freshers' fairs. Your relationship with your bank will usually last far longer than your university career, so it makes sense to be absolutely certain that the account is right for you.