Is it worth getting TOTUM – AKA an NUS Card?

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NUS EXTRA is now called TOTUM.

If you’ve been to any Freshers Fairs recently you’ll have seen the new TOTUM card splashed everywhere. Chances are if you’re a uni or college student you’ll have heard about it.

Old hands at the educational game will know that it was formerly called NUS Extra, and basically results in you having two student cards in your wallet.

Having this card basically gives you discounts at a load of businesses that have signed up.

However, before investing the £15 in the card think:

  1. what student discounts you are already entitled to, and…
  2. whether, as ever with a loyalty scheme, you’re going to end up spending for the sake of it.

For example: one of the offers is 10% off from the usually quite pricey Co-Op, which if you’re a Cardiff or Swansea student is probably super useful as they actually have Co-Ops in their Students Unions. But in the case of Cardiff, just five minutes walk up the road is Lidl, which is probably 20% cheaper than Co-Op on most things anyway.

And are you going to buy Dominos, for example, more often, if you have a small discount- even if cooking a Tesco pizza is likely to be cheaper? That’s how they get you…

(On the plus side, in theory, you’re keeping the economy afloat. So, go students!)

However, many of the discounts are on things that are definitely worth signing up for. For example as a student you are, shall we say, money poor but time rich. So getting a bus cross country can often be preferable to driving, trains or flying. So a Megabus or National Express return journey from Cardiff to London is not only cheap but, frankly, a good chance to catch up on some reading or TV. These get even cheaper with the Totum card- 10% for the already cheap Megabus and 20% off National Express.

One argument against investing into Totum is that many discounts are already available with your normal student card. For example, 50% off Spotify subscription, 6 months free Amazon Prime Student membership, and closer to home, £10 off Boulders climbing gym membership.

Also, check what discounts you already get. For example, if you have a 16-25 Railcard, you’re already entitled to stuff including theatre discounts and a huge discount on YHA membership. Have a look.

It’s possible to get a free Totum Card when you sign up for an account with Lloyds Bank, but you might be better off going for a different card such as HSBC, which give you £100 cash- more than enough to buy multiple Totum cards. Check out the advice from Save the Student.

Also consider, if you don’t want to pay £15 for the Totum card, the free app version, which doesn’t offer quite as many discounts: Totum Lite.


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