It is advisable to open a UK bank account as many student loans or Access bursaries are paid by electronic transfer.
If you do not already have a bank or building society account you are strongly encouraged to set one up before you start your university programme, as any student loan or Access Bursary payments are now paid via the Bankers' Automated Clearing Services (BACS) straight into your bank account.
BACS is a UK scheme for the electronic processing of financial transactions and both Direct Debits and BACS Direct Credits are made using the BACS system. BACS payments usually take three working days to clear.
The most common type of bank account is a ‘current account’ which allows immediate access to your account in contrast to an ‘interest-bearing deposit account’ which normally requires you to provide the bank with some notice before you can withdraw any funds. Most banks offer preferential terms to UK undergraduate students and it is advisable to particularly take advantage of any interest-free overdraft facility if offered.
The city of Edinburgh has a number of banks and you will need to decide which one is best for you.
While the University does not endorse any particular bank we do suggest that banks in the vicinity of the University which are more used to dealing with students might be easier rather than city centre branches. Banks local to the University include:
To open a bank account, you will need to bring the following identification:
If you are an international or EU student then you will not normally be allowed to open a bank account until you arrive in the UK.
Unlike UK students, your account will not offer an overdraft facility.
In order to ensure that you have sufficient funds available for the first five weeks after arriving in the UK, it is sensible to bring some travellers’ cheques with you which you can easily cash in at any bank.
You will be required to provide the same sort of verification as indicated above but may be asked for proof of both your home address and the address at which you will be staying in Edinburgh.
You may also be required to provide a reference letter from your bank in your home country, written in English, providing details on your credit status. On arrival you can obtain a letter of introduction which will be sent to you at the Edinburgh address you have provided.
As banks differ in what they require from EU and international students, it is advisable before leaving your home country to look at the websites of some of the main banks to see what documentation they require.
Due to strict UK government regulations to counter money laundering it can sometimes be difficult and time-consuming for students from outside the EU to open a bank account.
Please ensure that you have all the required proof of identification as indicated above before visiting the bank.
This article was published on Oct 4, 2013