Bank Accounts

Bank Accounts

You should try and open a UK Bank Account as soon as possible, it means that withdrawing money and sorting your finances is easier and more practical.

Often if you are using a foreign bank account you are likely to incur a charge every time you withdraw money. You are also unable to set up direct debit payments, and employers like to pay in to a UK bank account.

Most banks also offer student bank accounts, which come with perks such as a free railcard. 

There are lots of different types of bank accounts:

Current accounts:

You can use a current account to help you manage your money day-to-day. This includes:

·         Paying your bills

·         Receiving money - such as your salary or benefits

·         Keeping track of where your money is going.

·         Some current accounts can also earn you interest on the money you have in the account

With a current account, you also get a debit card which you can use in shops and cash machines. The bank may let you have an overdraft and other kinds of credit. You’re allowed to set up direct debits and standing orders.

Savings accounts:

You can use savings accounts to put away money that you'd like to save for the future, for emergencies or to buy expensive purchases like a new car or a holiday.

A savings account will usually give you interest on your money.

Basic bank accounts:

If you have a poor credit rating or a low income, you may have problems in opening a standard current account or savings account. You may also have problems if you already have a current account which is overdrawn. If you're in this situation, you may be able to open a basic bank account.

You can ask a bank or building society to open a basic bank account. The bank or building society must tell you whether it offers basic bank accounts. If it does, it must tell you the conditions you must meet to be able to open one.

You may be refused a basic bank account if a credit reference check shows that you have previous bad debts of more than £500, or an outstanding court judgment against you.

You can get more information about basic bank accounts, including a table comparing the different types of basic bank account, on the Money Advice Service website at:

How to open an account

To open a bank account you usually have to fill in an application form. Often, you can do this in a branch or online, and sometimes you can also do this over the phone.

You will also have to provide:

·         Proof of your identity including your full name, date of birth and address. Normally you have to provide two separate documents e.g. Passport and a recent bill

·         If you don't have any of the documents that the bank wants, they should accept a letter from a responsible person who knows you, such as a GP or the University. You should receive one by email once you are fully registered at the University; see here for more details.

A bank or building society can refuse to open an account for you. They don't have to give you a reason, and there's usually nothing you can do about it. A bank or building society isn't allowed to open an account for someone who needs leave under the Immigration Rules to enter or stay in the UK but who doesn't have it, for example, someone who has entered the UK illegally or who has 'overstayed' after their visa has run out.

Your bank or building society will carry out status checks to ensure that you don't come into this category. There is more information about what you should do if your bank or building society refuses to open an account for you for this reason on the GOV.UK website at

Picking the right bank for you

Every student needs a bank account. If you are thinking of opening a new one the links here will give you an idea of which student bank account will be best for you. 

Whether you are a home or international student, there will be something available to cater for your needs. It is important that you shop around for the best and most suitable account for you, one which will take into consideration your individual needs and circumstances. Some student accounts also offer freebies, such as railcards or cash.

Remember you will need to bring with you proof of identification (i.e. passport), proof of your home address (i.e. utility bill) and also proof that you are in fact a registered student with the university (i.e. student card/ acceptance letter).