The NatWest student proposition offers a £50 ($68) cash incentive and a four-year Tastecard membership, which provides discounts and offers at selected restaurants, cinemas and retailers. In addition, the new product offers students a £2,000 interest-free overdraft, available in their first year of study.
Barclays also offers a student proposition called Student Additions, which offers interest-free overdrafts and provides access to Perlego, an online library of academic and non-fiction titles.
If Student Additions is a student’s first current account with Barclays, they will receive a free 12-month subscription to Perlego, meaning there is no fully free tool offered as part of the package, with the proposition offering little else at present.
NatWest can win market share from Barclays
The NatWest proposition is an attractive offer with a cash incentive, and the discounts at restaurants and retailers are particularly strong given that the lockdown restrictions in the UK are almost entirely lifted now.GlobalData’s 2021 Financial Services Consumer Survey found that the highest level of dissatisfaction for those aged 18-24 was concerning loyalty and rewards, with 45% suggesting they are not happy with this in particular, and thus providing strong evidence that this could be an attractive offering.
In our view, the Barclays proposition lacks excitement and lacks what students are most likely to be attracted to. The Perlego access is no longer free after only a year of use, and there are no other incentives – apart from the overdraft – that would appeal to students.
NatWest has an excellent opportunity to acquire students and retain them in the long term as it builds and develops on its retention strategies.