Most international students choose to open a bank account in the UK. You won’t be able to do this immediately, so you should think about how much money you will need for the first couple of weeks. Most shops in the UK accept Visa and Mastercard, so you may be able to use your bank cards from your home country until you have set up your UK account, although you should check what the charges and exchange rates are.
Follow this step-by-step guide to opening a UK bank account:
- Read the useful information about opening UK bank accounts on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website
- Do some research into the different types of account available to you from each of the main high-street banks:
- Decide which bank and branch you want to open an account with
- Request a bank letter from AskBU
- Make an appointment with the bank (allow at least three days after submitting your bank letter request form)
- Collect your bank letter from AskBU
- Take the letter and your passport with you to your bank appointment.
You may also find some useful information about opening a UK bank account on the UKCISA student banking blog and Save the Student: Top UK bank accounts for international students.
Keeping your bank account safe
If you think that your bank account may have been misused you should report this to your bank or to the police. You can also let us know as we can provide support and advice. There are organised crime groups who may try to use frauds and scams to target international or UK students' bank accounts. The best way to keep your bank account safe is to remain vigilant and question anything that seems unusual. Please ensure that you:
- do not engage with suspicious activities
- are being cautious
- talk to your bank if you are concerned about activity linked to your bank account(s)
- are aware of the serious consequences of involvement in criminal activity.