Bank Accounts

In order to open a bank account in the UK you will need to provide proof that you are studying in the UK. BU can provide you a letter to confirm this.


Opening a UK bank account

To open a bank account you will need to request a letter to confirm you are a student from AskBU. Opening a UK bank account is by far the safest and most effective way of managing your money as an international student. However, the process can often be quite long and complicated so it is important that you are patient and prepared.


Keep the following points in mind prior to setting up a bank account:

  • Certain banks will allow you to begin the process of setting up a UK bank account from your home country before you arrive. We strongly advise you to look into links your current bank may have with UK banks, as this will make the process easier if it is an option for you.
  • If you are on a programme of 6 months or less, it may not be possible to open a bank account in the UK.
  • Banks in the UK follow their own rules and identity checks which are completely separate from BU. In order to keep your money safe, banks are very restricted in the ways they communicate with customers and in terms of their processes. This means that you need to attend a bank in person, meet with one of their advisors and sometimes complete a paper application form in order to open a bank account.
  • You may need to visit the bank more than once to set up your account, and once you have set up the account, you may have to wait around 10 days for your bank card to arrive.
  • BU has no influence over the types of accounts banks offer to students, the documentation they require or any other of their processes. We don’t recommend any specific banks and it is up to you to decide which bank you would like to open an account with.
  • Please note: a Statement of Student Status (or a specific Bank Account Letter if required) can only be issued to a student once they have completed in person enrolment.


Covering initial costs

Opening a UK bank account can be a lengthy process. With this in mind, it is important that you bring sufficient funds to cover initial expenses for your first month in the UK. For safety reasons, it is not a good idea to bring large sums of cash, and there may be restrictions on the amount of cash you can bring with you to the UK - you can read more about these restrictions on the website. You may want to consider alternative options such as using Travellers Cheques or pre-paid cash cards and paying tuition fees online.


Which are the main banks in the UK?

Some of the main banks in the UK are: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Santander and TSB. These banks normally open accounts for international students if the appropriate documentation is provided and meets their requirements.


SUBU/BU does not endorse any particular bank

The information provided is correct to the best of our knowledge but may be subject to change. Please note account opening procedures and requirements can vary depending on the branch you visit.

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