‘Surviving Scams’ – National Student Money Week Testimonial

Banking situation:

A situation I would like to talk about is one that has probably affected millions across the UK and happens daily. Last month I nearly fell victim to a scam which could have affected my ability to complete my masters.

What I did?

I was sent a text message which said that my bank account had been used to make an odd purchase and to reply if this transaction wasn’t me, which of course, I did.

Around 2 minutes later I received a phone call from a gentleman who was supposedly working for the ‘fraud’ team at my bank. Alarm bells started ringing in my head as the number was unfamiliar, the tone of voice seemed rushed and I was asking for my personal identification number.

I told the gentleman that I’d call back later using the official bank number off the website, he persisted to tell me he was trying to help me, and I would be liable for any transactions made, even if I didn’t make them! I immediately went to the banks website and rang the team to ask if indeed it was them calling or was it a scam, I was told that they hadn’t called me, and somebody was indeed trying to gain access to my account.

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

Access to resources?

This situation was highly stressful as under the pretences it’s easy to cave in to the pressure and give the fraudster what they’re after, especially after they insist they’re only helping. But there were many red flags that I would urge people not to ignore, if it doesn’t feel right, more than likely it isn’t!

I would also urge people to step out of the situation and look at it from another perspective and think ‘what would you advise somebody who told you this was happening to them?’. You often think more rationally when placed to give advice. Lastly, I would like to remind everybody that essentially you are in control of the situation, never be afraid to speak up, confront and ask questions. I did this and it saved somebody stealing all my potential tuition fees for my masters!

Nidah Younas
King’s Student Money Mentor
Part of Money & Housing Advice
Studying Accounting, Accountability & Financial Management MSc (PGT)

Need to speak to a Money Adviser? Call the Student Advice Line.

For more information on scams, take a look at ‘Understanding & Avoiding Scams Part 1: What is a Scam?’, and ‘Understanding & Avoiding Scams Part 2: Known Student Scams’.

The King’s Student Money Mentors blog shares our students’ personal experiences and thoughts on money-related topics. Any reference, opinions or recommendations on a particular company/brand are only the views of the student(s) who wrote the blog post. King’s College London, the Money & Housing Advice service and the Money Mentor project do not share the views in the blogs nor endorse any of the companies mentioned. Readers should conduct their own research before using any companies mentioned in our blog posts. 

Top tips for London living

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Are you a fresher or a returning student with no prior experience living in London due to Covid-19? Moving to a new city can be an exciting and daunting experience for many. As you prepare your journey to London, you may wonder where the best places are to shop, eat, study and socialise. How could you make the most out of your student card and discounts? Which unique places could you visit around London, and how do you ensure that your student life in London is enjoyable and safe? Keep reading to have these questions answered by two Student Money Mentors at King’s, who wrote this blog post based on their personal experiences! 

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Student discounts: different kinds of discounts you could get with your student card  

As a student you can get different kinds of discounts with your student card basically on everything you can imagine from clothing to food, and even travelling! Usually, takeaways and restaurants deduct a 25 percent of food bills, some technology companies can even reduce their price by 50 percent! 

There are some websites that can even find special student deals, such as Save The Student and Student Money Saver. There also are different types of UK student discount cards that can provide online codes. Firstly, there is an app called UNiDAYS, it is free and makes getting student discounts online completely painless. You will need your academic email address to create an account and then apply the various discount codes to websites at the checkout. Secondly, Student Beans is very similar to the previous one. It is a free website that lets students gain access to a wide range of discount codes. Thirdly, TOTUM and ISIC cards let students get special deals that might not be available through the other two mentioned. However, to obtain this card, there is a small fee charged. 

Below we will provide a list of stores that regularly offer student deals. Do not forget to present your student ID at the time of purchase in order to obtain the discount. 


ASOS, Bohoo, Burton, French Connection, New Look, Office, River Island, Schuh, Topshop, Urban Outfitters – 10% All year around. 


Domino’s Pizza – 35% off online purchases of £25+. 

Yo! Sushi – 25% UNiDAYS. 

ASK Italian – 40% TOTUM card. 


Spotify Premium – Students pay half price for premium membership. 

Apple music – Students membership can cost as little as 4.99£ 

Virgin Experience – Students can get up to 20% discount on activities.  

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16-25 Railcard – Investing in a railcard is a smart move as it gives you 30 percent off standard rail fares. Use your TOTUM card to get 12 percent off a one-year railcard. If you’re planning on travelling around London, you can add your railcard to your Oyster card and enjoy a 34 percent discount on off-peak, pay as you go travel, as well as daily caps. 

18+ Student Oyster photocard – 30% off adult rate travel cards for use in all transport of London services. 

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Different places students could go in London to study/revise 

King’s campus libraries are distributed across the whole of London and are free to register as a student. They compromise of libraries in Denmark hill, Guy’s, St Thomas House, Strand and Waterloo. King’s College London study facilities provide students with a variety of ways to study and/or revise as they wish. For example, students can book study spaces in the libraries with or without a PC and usually are available Monday to Friday at all campus libraries and weekends only at New Hunt’s house and Franklin-Wilkins libraries. Also, if students need to prepare a presentation with other peers, they can book study group rooms inside the library. King’s offers students many other options such as postgraduates’ only zones as well as complete silence zones. There even are individual pods inside of the library that let students speak loud in order to attend skype meetings or calls! If you are feeling a bit low, you can recharge in the Wellbeing room, located in room 2.24 in the Maughan Library with comfy bean bags. There are also common places like this one in some KCLSU restaurants, check all of them out online

Additionally, there are some libraries outside King’s that are free to register and as a student you can even have access to borrow some books of them. For example, the British Library is an amazing building compromised of four floors and has a capacity of 1,200 people, this means that your days of fighting for study places are gone!! There also is free WiFi and many books available. Students also have access to Senate House library; this one is one of the largest humanities focused research libraries in the UK and includes many collections. The membership is free for King’s students, and you can even borrow all books! As you can see there are many libraries that offer a free membership for students, take advantage of this opportunity! 

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Eating Out & Nightlife in London 

From time to time, you may decide to eat out or enjoy the nightlife with your friends. Being a diverse city, you will find a plethora of different cuisines and nightlife venues across various zones in London. To be a money-savvy student whilst eating out, maximise your use of coupons and discount codes! Numerous websites (such as DesignMyNight) and provide limited discount codes for small and big restaurants around London, so keeping an eye on these could be a great way of saving a few pounds every week! I noticed that Too Good To Go offers unsold food at a discounted price at the end of the day, so this app may come in handy when you’re looking to buy food at a cheaper price. From my experience, many restaurants will also often give discounts on food when you purchase them close to their closing time. So, if you’re planning on some late-night eat-outs, this could be another option for you! Similarly, some bars and nightclubs have specific discounts on certain days of the week — if you can save a couple of pounds on drinks, why not schedule your night-out plans on cheaper days?  

However, there are also things you should be aware of when you go on a night out. Firstly, be mindful of scams! I read an article about ticket scams, and it made me realise that students — particularly freshers who are new to university life — could easily fall for these scams. Especially when I make online payments, I always think and check twice beforehand to ensure that I’m not falling prey to one of the many scams targeting students. You should also be alert to safety. Keep an eye on your drinks (don’t leave them unattended!) and try to move with other friends during the night. You can never be too careful! 

Where to go shopping in London  

Eating out can be very expensive and not the best option for every student. So, here are some tips to go shopping and where to buy groceries at a cheaper rate. 

Firstly, the best trick is to buy food from the reduced section. Most shops have a certain section in the store that is specially for reduced food. Check that section often and try to find out during what time they usually restore it. Secondly, try to avoid going to more expensive express shops such as Waitrose and buy in bigger shops such as Asda, Aldi and Lidl. Thirdly, planning what to buy before going shopping is a simple and very efficient idea. Fourthly, try to avoid buying name-brand products. Usually shops sell their own name-brands at a much lower rate, take advantage!  Finally, there are many discounts online and offline. Check which one suits you best and plan your shopping before. This will really benefit you in the long term as a student! You can also check out this website for more information.

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Adapting To the London Weather 

Depending on where you’re from, the weather in London might come as a shocker for some students. For instance, the temperature in London often fluctuates significantly throughout the day. As a result, you may need an extra layer of clothing during the morning and night, but it could be boiling during the day! Personally, I found wearing multiple layers of clothes that I could take off during the day to be the best way of adapting to such changing temperatures. When you start the academic year in September, you will also realise that daylight tends to be relatively short during the winter times, with daytime occasionally being dark as well. I tend to take vitamin supplements, especially during the colder months, when people are more prone to getting ill.

Finally, be prepared for the rain! Rain in London varies from full-day drizzles to short-lasting showers — and yes, you will have to travel very often when it’s raining outside. I always check the weather forecast every time I go out and carry an umbrella with me. Sometimes, strong wind accompanies rain in London — in these instances, your standard umbrellas won’t last very long, and you may wish to invest in a sturdy umbrella! 

How to make the most out of London 

If you are a student with a budget, it is very important to plan in order to make the most of London. As we all know, London can be very expensive, but there are many tricks that you should know before thinking that it is impossible to have fun without spending money.  

  1. Museums in London: Most museums are free and an amazing opportunity to learn and explore! E.g. British Museum, Natural History Museum, Museum of London, Victoria and Albert Museum and many more. 
  1. Unusual attractions: London has many mysteries. For instance, you can find dinosaur sculptures at the Crystal Palace Park and then go and visit marvellously weird objects at the Wellcome collection, all for free! 
  1. Park Life: If you enjoy going out and like green London is the place for you! There are so many parks and amazing gardens such as Greenwich Park, Richmond Park, Hyde Park, Kensington gardens, St James’s Park, and my favourite, Hampstead Heath.  
  1. Art galleries: If you love art then go and check these free galleries – Tate Britain, National Gallery, Tate Modern, Barbican Centre and many more! 
  1. Walks: If you enjoy walking around then there are many walks you can explore in the city. Walking through South Bank during sunset and have a nice picnic near the river is one of my favourite things to do. Little Venice also offers a nice and different scenery!  
  1. Free festivals: Throughout the year there are some amazing and colourful festivals such as the Chinese New Year in Chinatown or even Nothing Hill Carnival! Another big street party is Pride in London and St Patrick’s Day. Go out and enjoy this wonderful city! 

As you spend more time in London, you will naturally adapt your own ways of living and making the most out of the city. Although the current pandemic is still causing much confusion and concerns amongst the students, we hope this article answers some of the questions you may have had about student life in London.  

Lisa Martin and Olivia Kim
King’s Student Money Mentors
Part of Money & Housing Advice

Connect with us! You can DM King’s Money Mentors [@kingsmoneymentors] with any other questions you may have on Instagram.  

Do you need to speak to a specialist adviser? You can contact King’s Advice & Guidance Team via phone or by filling an online form

The King’s Student Money Mentors blog shares our students’ personal experiences and thoughts on money-related topics. Any reference, opinions or recommendations on a particular company/brand are only the views of the student(s) who wrote the blog post. King’s College London, the Money & Housing Advice service and the Money Mentor project do not share the views in the blogs nor endorse any of the companies mentioned. Readers should conduct their own research before using any companies mentioned in our blog posts. 

Getting around London: practical tips

Whether you’re a new or a returning student like ourselves, if you’re confused about the different ways of getting around London, this blog post by current King’s students will (hopefully) provide some practical tips on making the most out of the various modes of transportation available in the city! Depending on where you live during term time, certain types of transport may be more suitable for you. We’ll cover the pros and cons of some of the common transportations used by students below.  

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Tube (Underground) 

You will often see students (including myself!) using the Tube to get around London. You can apply for the 18+ Student Oyster photocard when you start university, which you can use for public transport around London. You can also use a contactless card or purchase Travelcards to pay for the Tube. Although there are many Tube stations around London, it is worth noting that there may not be a station near your place of residence, and taking an alternative form of transport like the bus may occasionally be more accessible in certain areas. I personally used the Underground for my classes as it took too long to travel via the bus. One of the biggest advantages of the Underground is that it is a very efficient mode of public transport. Missed the nearest approaching train? The chances are there’ll be another train that you can hop on in a few minutes. You also don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic during peak hours, which I think is one of the greatest advantages of taking the Tube!

However, during the peak hours, you should expect the Underground to be very busy, and there may be queues to get on the trains. I certainly struggled to get on a busy tube a few times before! Also, the Underground fares may differ depending on the zone that you live in. Since the Tube is generally more expensive than the bus, it may not be the most economical choice for you. Finally, not all Tubes provide 24-hour service, so if you’re looking to take the Tube late at night, you could be in a position where no more trains are running! 

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The bus is a slightly cheaper option and could be better for those who don’t like being underground throughout their journey. When I’m travelling short distances, I tend to prefer the bus as I can use the internet/Wi-fi. Much like the Tube, there are countless stations located around London, so you can easily hop on/off and change stations to get to your destination.  

One of the downsides of the bus is that during peak hours, you could be stuck in traffic for a very long time. Moreover, the buses occasionally go on diversion and may not stop on some of their usual stations, which could affect your travel plans. If your nearest station closes due to construction work or other reasons, you will have to find and walk to the next nearest station, which may be rather far away.  

Photo by Nick Page on Unsplash


Walking is, unsurprisingly, the cheapest way of getting around London, and this will be particularly ideal for those of you who live close to the university. This could be a great way to save money and exercise! You can also cycle around London – if you don’t own your own bike, you could hire Santander Cycle, which ‘costs £2 for unlimited journeys up to 30 minutes, within a 24 hour period’. 

These options, of course, may not be possible if you live far away from the university building or are in a rush. During particularly rainy reasons, walking or cycling could also become more difficult. Since London is a busy city with many cars and transports on the road throughout the day, it is also essential that you wear the appropriate safety gear for cycling and are alert to other vehicles and pedestrians on the street. (If you’re a beginner in cycling or haven’t been on a bike for a long time, London – especially central London – won’t be the best place to practice cycling! However, Transport for London Cycle Safety Action Plan has lots of guidance and access to courses to help you travel safer.)

Apps to help you get around 

There are many apps and online tools to help you get around London smoothly. Transport for London (TfL) has two brilliant apps, the TfL Go app and the TfL Oyster and contactless app.  

You can use the TfL Go app to plan your journeys with live updates to give you the easiest route possible. It allows you to preview your journeys and factors for accessibility such as step-free access. Not only can you use this app for the bus, tube, etc., but also plan walking and cycling routes easily too.  

Simultaneously, you can download the TfL Oyster and contactless app to buy tickets and travelcards, top-up your Oyster card, check your journey history and more.  

And it doesn’t stop there. TfL has a free, automated service on Facebook Messenger, called the ‘Facebook TravelBot’. Like the TfL Go app, you can find out live updates and check your nearest stop, by messaging questions such as “What’s the next bus?”.  

Sign up for email updates like the Weekend Travel email to receive the latest information like service disruption that can affect your future journeys. Likewise, sign up for the journey alert email update, fill in your journey details and get emailed if your journey is going to be disrupted so you can plan a different route in time.  

Alternatively, you can download Citymapper, a popular travel app that gets you around London and other cities across the world. (I’ve used this app since my first year!) Similar to the TfL Go app, you can check the live status of buses, Tube, etc. With Citymapper, you can plan journeys using private modes of transport too, like cabs and scooters, minimising any travel disruption with a wide range of options. 


As a student, you can apply for an 18+ Student Oyster card to get 30% off travelcards, and Bus and Tram season tickets. Sadly, this discount does not apply to pay as you go fares. There are different types of travel cards available including a 7 Day, Monthly, 3 month, 6 month and Annual travelcard. If you’re a frequent TfL traveller, investing in a travelcard may be a cheaper option than pay as you go. But if you know you won’t be using TfL as much, then pay as you go would be a better option, as you would be paying more for a travelcard.  

Another travel discount card you can apply for is the 16-25 railcard costing £30 a year or £70 for 3 years. You can get a third off pay as you go off-peak fares when you link the card to your Oyster card. To apply for the discount, visit an underground station and ask a TfL staff member to link your cards. 

When making your journeys be aware of peak/off-peak hours and travel disruption. Quieter times to travel on TfL are off-peak hours, and if you’re also able to travel during these times, your journeys will be much cheaper too. You should plan ahead of time to avoid delays and disruptions using the apps and tools recommended above. It’s also good to plan alternative routes, in case of disruptions, that way you can adapt using the alternative route and get to your desired destination in time. 

Always plan for the unexpected  

Whichever mode of transport you use, make sure it’s all smooth sailing by always checking ahead for any travel disruption that can throw a spanner in the works. Use the different apps and tools we’ve suggested to make your journeys easier and faster no matter where you are in London. And now that you know all the quick and cheap ways to get around London, journey safely! 

Yogietha Kirushnamoorthy and Olivia Kim
King’s Student Money Mentors
Part of Money & Housing Advice

The King’s Student Money Mentors blog shares our students’ personal experiences and thoughts on money-related topics. Any reference, opinions or recommendations on a particular company/brand are only the views of the student(s) who wrote the blog post. King’s College London, the Money & Housing Advice service and the Money Mentor project do not share the views in the blogs nor endorse any of the companies mentioned. Readers should conduct their own research before using any companies mentioned in our blog posts.