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Banking and budgeting

You’re going to need a bank account when you move to the UK, to pay your living costs and rent, tuition fees, or receive money from home.

International students sat relaxing and laughing

You can make preparations for banking before you arrive in the UK:

  • Does a multinational bank in your home country have an online account you could open before coming to the UK?
  • Seek advice on opening a bank account in the UK - a bank in your home country may be associated with a bank in the UK, which could make it easier to open an account.
  • Check whether you can use a cash card from your existing home country bank in UK ATM bank machines and if there’s a charge for doing so.

Why open a bank account?

  • Safety and security of your money – you can keep your money safe, as it’s not a good idea to carry a lot of cash with you.
  • If you take a part-time job in the UK - generally businesses pay salaries directly into a bank account.
  • Allows you to pay your tuition and accommodation fees by direct debit.
  • For visas – to extend your visa in the UK, you’ll need to show financial evidence that you have enough money to live in the UK.
  • To have money transferred from overseas – some banks charge for this, others don’t. So this may be a consideration when you’re deciding which bank to use.

What bank should I choose?

There are a number of considerations you should bear in mind when deciding which bank you should open an account with:

  • speak with several different bank to make a good comparison
  • make sure you ask about bank charges.
  • request monthly postal bank statements (student visa extension).
  • it may take up to approximately 2 weeks to open an account.
  • keep it safe – don’t carry lots of cash on you!

Opening an account

It can take time for a bank to open an account for you, so make sure you have enough money to cover your first few weeks in the UK and be patient.

Due to UK banks tight security measures, it can take about two to three weeks to open an account. While you’re waiting for your bank account to open, use a credit card or travellers’ cheques if you can, rather than cash.

You'll need:

  • Your passport (original, not photocopy) or a photo ID card for identification.
  • Evidence of your student status (confirmation of enrolment letter).
  • Your original unconditional offer letter/ letter of acceptance offer.

The bank will need:

  • Your full name, date of birth and nationality.
  • Your home address and country of residence.
  • Evidence of where you’ll be living in the UK, such as your University accommodation agreement.

Don’t have these?

If you don’t have these, don’t worry. If required, we can issue you with a document confirming your details to a bank.

Once your account is set up, you’ll find it’s the best and most secure way to manage your money.

Budgeting and cost of living

You will need to show your financial support to get a visa for the UK - see our visa information. You should also consider what you'll need to spend your money on.

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