Monday 16 September 2019

Fresher students warned on banks' offers of easy credit

Students are a key target for banks. Stock photo: PA
Students are a key target for banks. Stock photo: PA
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Students have been warned to avoid easy credit as banks vie for their custom.

Freshers are being offered interest-free overdrafts, cash in their accounts and interest-only loans.

Also on offer for students are options to defer repayments on a loan for three months.

The institutions are banking on the fact that those who sign up now will become customers for life.

But financial experts warned students about getting into debt early in their college life and told them to take advice before signing up for easy-credit deals.

Students are a key target for banks.

Daragh Cassidy, of price comparison site Bonkers, said banks love freshers, but he asked if they really had students' best interests at heart.

He said the level of credit some banks were prepared to extend to students was "eye opening".

"Banks know that graduates are very profitable customers indeed because they earn more, pay fees and they take out mortgages and loans.

"Today's freshers will eventually emerge as sensible, stable graduates - and the banks love sensible, stable customers."

Some 50,000 young people start college this month across a range of institutions throughout the country.

All the main banks are offering incentives to get students to sign up.

Among the offers being dangled in front of students are interest-free overdrafts on offer from Ulster Bank, for up to €1,500 if you receive a grant.

Those not getting a grant can get an interest-free overdraft of €750.

Those studying medicine, law and dentistry, among others, can get an interest-free overdraft of up to €2,500 if they get a grant.

Ulster Bank also offers a student credit card with a limit of €450, and commission-free travel money.

AIB offers loans of up to €3,000 to pay for the student contribution charge, with the option of paying back the interest only.

It also offers an interest-free overdraft of up to €1,000. There are no maintenance or transaction fees on its student accounts.

The bank also offers student loans of up to €50,000, which require guarantors.

Bank of Ireland offers loans of up to €10,000 at rates of 5pc, with the option of deferring repayments for three months.

KBC is offering €50 in cash into students' accounts if they sign up.

Permanent TSB offers students fee-free banking. In addition, it offers an emergency cash feature.

Irish Independent

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