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Opening a UK bank account

Please scroll down for further information on how to open a UK bank account if you are an international student.

COVID Update: It is more important than ever to open a bank account before you arrive in the UK.
Before leaving your home country, you should arrange an international bank account or bank card with which you will be able to make card or online payments for basic necessities once you arrive in the UK. (e.g. University fees; rent; food or groceries and other living essentials).
This would make it easier for you to buy food and other essentials in case you have to self-isolate upon arrival, as many places will likely rely on online ordering and payment.
Do not carry a lot of cash
Avoid bringing large amounts of cash to the UK - it is not a safe way to store your funds, and a number of places may not accept cash payments in light of the pandemic.
The UK government's list of countries from which passengers need to self-isolate upon arrival could change shortly before your planned arrival date. We strongly recommend that you arrange an international account or bank card to facilitate a self-isolation period upon arrival, even if you currently are not required to do so. A bank account or bank card should usually also be a safer way of storing your funds than carrying a lot of cash in to the UK.
Once you have arrived in the UK
If your preferred UK bank has a delay with opening your account, try opening an account with one of the other local UK banks first. You can later switch your account to your preferred bank at your convenience. The important thing is to quickly set up a UK bank account to store your funds safely!
The University cannot recommend which account you should open. Instead we have collated the information below to help you make the choice of the best account for your needs.
Before you arrive in the UK
Do you need a UK bank account? Things to do before leaving home
Keeping your money safe
Avoid carrying or storing large amounts of cash in your first weeks
Digital or international banking solutions
Alternatives to cash for your first weeks in the UK
Choosing the right bank account for you
Useful factors to consider
UK banks in the local area
Links to local banks and their account opening processes
Documents needed
Typical documents for a UK bank account
Further information about money and banking in the UK
Budget planning and information for home students.
Banking vocabulary explained
Jargon buster tool

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