A Guide for International Students to Open Bank Account in UK

Open Bank Account in UK
Whether you are an international student studying in the United Kingdom for a year abroad or for your full degree, this guide will assist you to choose the best bank account for you. Setting up a bank account may be another boring life admin task to deal with, but it is value investing the time as it could save you a fair amount of cash and headaches. Managing your finances from your home country account can be impractical and expensive for many reasons as discussed here by experts of coursework writing services:
  • You'll be charged currency conversion fees each time you use your debit card or withdraw cash in the United Kingdom.
  • Currency exchange rates fluctuate, creating it harder to keep to a budget (convert currency using transferwise for the best rates).
  • If you are planning on working part-time, employers can want to pay your wages into a united kingdom bank account.
  • Your accommodation provider can likely prefer payments from a united kingdom account.
  • Setting up recurring payments (direct debits and standing orders) are tricky or impossible.
  • These are needed for paying mobile phone contracts, gym memberships and monthly rent. Paying back friends in the united kingdom would be complicated.
  • In some countries, like France for example, banks require you to send them hand-written letters to set up direct debits to foreign accounts. Plus, they'll charge you a fee for the transfer!
  • If you get locked out of your account because you've forgotten your PIN code, it's definitely easier to deal with it locally in a very branch as opposed to over the phone to another country.

Select A Bank:
There are many banks in the United Kingdom, so the best way to narrow it down is to look at what the different banks are offering students (see our handy table, below). The other thing that is always value looking at is which bank is available in your university campus or in your university town. That way if you run into any issues with your account, you won't have to go far to get it sorted. One of the biggest ways that will help you differentiate between banks is how much interest free overdraft the bank is offering. This is something that's unique to student bank accounts. It essentially means that the overdraft limit is the maximum you'll spend outside of your own money, without paying interest.

In many cases, international students may not be eligible for an overdraft or may only be able to secure a little order of payment, but this is always worth discussing with your bank and exploring what your options are. Another important factor for international students to take into account is the international transfer fees. Some banks will also charge for paper statements, so make sure you are aware of this cost when applying for your account.

Select An Account:
There are 2 different types of bank accounts in the UK: a current account and a savings account. Current account: a current account allows you to deposit and withdraw money as often as you like. Usually, when you open a current account you receive a cheque book and a debit card. Most international students can only need to open a current account when studying in the United Kingdom. Savings accounts: a savings account is a place to collect money over a longer term. Some students may consider opening one of these if they are working or want to save money for travel or emergencies.

Breakdown Of Bank Accounts:
There are many banks across the United Kingdom, so it is worth doing some of your own research into the most suitable bank account for you. There also are banks that offer online banks accounts (not necessarily student-specific) such as Monzo, Revolut or Starling, which are quite good at helping you to track spending and set budgets.

How To Open A Bank Account:
Although it's possible to open a bank account over the phone or online, if you are an international student, it might be easier to open your account in person in case there are any complications. When you go to the bank to open your account you will need:
  • Your full name, home address, home telephone number, your campus telephone number and your college address
  • Your passport
  • Any secondary type of identification (such as your student ID card, birth certificate, driver’s license, or a letter from the international students and scholar's office at your university)
  • A letter of acceptance from your university
  • An amount of money to deposit into the account (this will vary between banks).
These requirements may be slightly different across banks, so make sure you check what your bank requires before heading over.

Albert Barkley

Hello, my name is Albert Barkley. I am working as education consultant with a UK based firm after completion of my PhD. I like to write on different social, tech and education trends.

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