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Before you arrive in the UK

Here are some things which you can plan and research before leaving home.

  • Decide whether you need or want to open a UK bank account.
    If you plan to make any regular payments in the UK by direct debit (e.g. tuition fees or a phone contract bill) then you would likely need a UK bank account.
    This external linkLink opens in a new window contains a blog, which may help you decide whether you need a UK bank account. Vast majority of the non-EU students choose to open a UK bank account due to better exchange rates and ease of use.
  • Check if you can obtain a bank card/pre-paid travel card before you leave home.
    - Speak to your local bank in your home country to see if they can offer you any services or bank cards for you to bring to the UK in the first few weeks.
    - Some international banks in the UK may offer services where you could pre-open a bank account when you are in your home country, for example, HSBCLink opens in a new window.
  • Plan how to pay your tuition fees and read up on safely banking onlineLink opens in a new window.
    It is quite common to pay for goods using a credit or debit card in shops, and many people now use online banking and online shopping. Some places, including all cafes, restaurants and grocery stores on campus, are cashless since after the pandemic, so it is worth familiarising yourself with some tips for online banking.
  • Research the available bank accounts as early as possible.
    Spend some time looking at the bank accounts on offer to you - so that you can make an informed choice once you arrive in the UK. The local banksLink opens in a new window can be very busy with long delays, so a digital banking cardLink opens in a new window may be the alternative solution in the first few weeks even if you wish to open a traditional bank account. Research which bank account would be best for you (select your 1st choice, 2nd choice, etc. in case your preferred bank doesn't have available appointments when you arrive).
  • We've made a list of useful things to consider when choosing your bank accountLink opens in a new window.
  • You may also find this external comparison site useful: Save the Student- international student bank account comparison.Link opens in a new window