Do I need a UK bank account?
If you are an international student then it can be useful to set up a UK bank account for a number of reasons. You may be charged a currency conversion fee each time you use your card or withdraw cash. If you are planning on getting a part-time job your employer will likely want to pay your wages into a UK bank account. You may also need a UK bank account to set up direct debits regular payments such as rent and gym membership. In addition, it is easy for you to send your friends money and for them to pay you back.
How do I open a UK bank account?
You will likely have to visit the branch of a bank in order to open an account (some banks have online only accounts). You will also need to take some documents including a passport, Visa (if applicable), proof of UK address (such as your contract), and a letter from the university (this should be emailed to you following registration, or can be obtained from the infohub).
Which bank should I choose?
As an international student you will likely only be able to open a basic account with any bank. A basic account will give you easy access to all the banking facilities and is normally free to open. Some banks have accounts specifically targeted at International students. The benefits of joining a specific bank vary each year. It is worth doing your research and establishing what you are looking for from your bank.