Study Abroad Guide: Opening a Bank Account in the UK

Study Abroad Guide: Opening a Bank Account in the UK

Study Abroad Guide: Opening a Bank Account in the UK
Photo 1591030434469 3d78c7b17820One of the most important decisions you can make as an international student, which will make your life easier while studying abroad, is to open a bank account in your host country. 

In the UK, opening a bank account, plus the banking process itself is easy even for international students. 

To help you, here’s a quick guide to opening a bank account in the UK. 

Why Should You Open a Bank Account in the UK? 

You may be wondering why you should even open a bank account when you already have one from your home country. Here are some good reasons to open a bank account while you are in the UK: 

  • A UK bank account is cheaper to use in the UK because you don’t have to pay foreign fees when withdrawing money.
  • For working students, UK employers usually pay wages through a UK bank account.
  • It is easier and cheaper to pay recurring payments such as your rent, bills, tuition fees, and so on.
  • In case of a problem, such as forgetting your PIN, getting locked out of your account, or losing the money you didn’t use in your account, it is easier to deal with it with a local UK account, compared to calling your main bank account in your home country. 

Top Banks in the UK for International Students

To help you choose a UK bank, here’s a list of UK banks and the type of account that offers students low or no fees when transacting with them. 

  1. NatWest (NatWest International Student)
  2. Barclays (Barclays Student Additions)
  3. HSBC (HSBC Basic)
  4. Lloyds Bank (Lloyds Classic)
  5. TSB (TSB Spend and Save)
  6. Santander (Santander Basic)
  7. Al Rayan Bank (Al Rayan Current)

How to Open a Bank Account in the UK

Below are the steps you have to go through when opening a bank account.

Step 1: Gather the documents needed

Before you can go to the bank and open your account, gather first the documents that you have to pass them. In the UK, you only need the following documents to open one: 

  • Your valid passport or student ID
  • Proof of UK address or your home country address (depending on the bank)
  • A “bank letter” from your institution or an acceptance letter

Bank letters are usually given to international students after completing their visa checkpoint at their institution. You can get your bank letter from your institution’s Registry. 

Moreover, aside from the document, and depending on the account you will open, you may have to bring some money to put as a deposit. 

Step 2: Pass the Requirements and Wait

After passing the requirements, you may have to wait four to five weeks before the bank notifies you of successfully opening an account. Thus, while you wait, it would be wise to set aside some cash to cover your expenses, and a debit or credit card.

After opening a bank account in the UK, it becomes easier to do various tasks and activities that require transacting with money, such as paying your tuition fees, bills, and accessing financial aid. If you want to learn more about getting financial aid in the UK, check out MSM Unify’s article on How to get Financial Assistance as an international student in the UK to start.


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