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Guide to Your 1st Bank Account as a UK Student!

Guide to Your 1st Bank Account as a UK Student!

You left your home and have arrived to this new British land. Now, apart from trying to see and experience as many new things as you can throughout your journey, you want to keep your money safe.

 

WHY DO I NEED A BANK ACCOUNT IN THE UK?

You need a UK bank account not only to keep your money safe somewhere, but a debit card issued by the bank will also be very handy throughout your studies in the UK. This is what a debit card can do for you:

  • Pay accommodation fees, rent, and student fees (anything involving a bigger amount of money)
  • Cash-free shopping (for your clothes or groceries, or when you dine out)
  • Book tickets online (for transportation, concerts and events)
  • Arrange direct debit (for periodic payment such as your mobile phone bill, internet bill, etc.)
  • Easier cash transfer between your family and friends (even from overseas)

It is true that a normal credit card from your home country can do most payments for you, but very often the currency exchange rate and the service fee are fairly high.

Also, you can ask your bank to give you a printed out bank statement as proof of address when a document from your university or school is not accepted.

 

WHICH BANK SHOULD I CHOOSE?

There is a great number of banks with local branches in the UK, and the best bank for you will depend on your specific needs.

Usually people just choose the bank with a local branch near to where you live or study. Alternatively, you can refer to this list made by SaveTheStudent.org for 2015/2016. The best way to know more is to speak with other students who are already at your school or to speak directly with the banks. 


If you choose to go for a bank that allows you to use an overdraft, make sure you understand the rate and method of repaying before you get into a huge debt. Otherwise, a normal savings account can do the job for you.

 

WHAT DO I NEED TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT?

Only a few documents are needed to set up a bank account:

  1. Photo ID: This can be your passport, driving licence or identity card from your home country.
  2. Valid UK visa: This should be within your current passport, but if it is not, then bring it with you.
  3. Proof of student status: Documents to prove you are currently (or about to become) a student in the UK. This can be the letter of acceptance from your university department or a UCAS offer letter.
  4. Proof of address: This can be utility bills or previous bank statement addressed to the applicant. If you are new to the country, you can ask the accommodation office of your school or university for further assistance.

It can take up to a week or two before you receive your personal bank account. Make sure you get this done before you run out of money for your living costs.

 

HOW CAN MY PARENTS SEND ME MONEY?

Transferring money is easy to do electronically. In order to do this, you normally need to give these details to your parents.

The easiest way to transfer money is by electronic transfer. In order to do this, you normally need:

·         UK bank’s name and full address
·         Full name as registered with the account
·         Bank account number
·         Sort code
·         SWIFT code or IBAN number

Staff from the bank counters are able to provide you with such information.

 

If you want some more advice from previous international students, tweet us @UVICedu on Twitter or leave a post on UVIC’s Facebook page (facebook.com/uvicfanpage), and we will answer your questions 1-to-1. 

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