If you are planning on living and studying in the UK for a few months or more, you will need to open a British bank account. While you will probably be able to use your overseas bank card in cash machines and for card payments in London, however you will be charged for each transaction for using your bank services abroad. You may also be asked to pay rent or bills using direct debit, which means you’ll need a suitable account.
It’s best to arrange a new UK bank account as soon as possible, even before you make the move if possible. You can start researching the best type of bank account for your needs and make sure you meet the criteria.
Why do I need a UK bank account?
It is much easier to pay for your tuition fees and monthly accommodation payments if you have a UK bank account. You can set up direct debits, standing orders and use features such as online banking to send money. Family and friends back home can also transfer money to your UK bank account if needed. The use of cheques is declining in the UK, and it isn’t safe to carry around large amounts of cash.
How do I choose a bank account?
The best place to go for advice is your university or education institution. They will provide lots of helpful information for overseas students, including where to open the best bank account and the most popular student deals. Give them a call before you move to London to see where and how to apply. Most bank accounts are free of charge.
Types of bank account
There are a few different types of bank account which you may be eligible for as a student. Many banks offer a basic bank account to people aged 16 or over. This allows you to have a debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs without a fee, and to pay bills by standing order or direct debit. You will not be given credit or an overdraft with this type of account.
Banks also offer special student accounts which come with extra benefits, such as an interest free overdraft. Some types of accounts will request a minimum deposit when setting up, or state that a certain amount has to be paid in each month to be eligible. Always check the terms and conditions and eligibility criteria before applying.
With thousands of international students moving to London, UK banks are familiar with providing financial products to suit their needs.