How hard do students have it?

Until recently, most banks give graduates a bit of a breather once they finish studying, knowing that they don't have a lot of cash lying around.  Interest-free overdrafts are commonplace in student bank accounts and the interest-free limit normally comes down gradually after completing a degree.  HSBC have decided that this is a bad idea and have today announced that graduates will start paying interest on their overdraft as soon as they leave university at a rate of 9.99% – unless they pay a flat rate of £10 a month to HSBC for the privilege of keeping their overdraft free of interest charges.
So who is your sympathy with?  Should we feel sorry for HSBC, who are being messed around by students that are slow to pay back their overdrafts or who open multiple accounts at university to take advantage of the interest-free overdrafts from different banks?  Or should we side with the students, who have had this announcement sprung on them without warning and are already under enough financial pressure as it is?

Tom Richmond

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