It is very useful to open a bank account once you arrive in Edinburgh.

This process is not normally available prior to arrival in Edinburgh unless your branch at home has a relationship with a UK bank.

This process can only take place once you have moved into your accommodation.

Why open an account?

You may need to pay for accommodation by direct debit or you may need to provide bank statements as evidence of your funding for immigration purposes.

Direct debits may also be used to pay tuition fees, but not all bank accounts are suitable for direct debit payments - check with your bank first.

There is more information about direct debits on the Finance Office website.

If you are a student for a year or longer then most banks will permit you to open an account.

If you are here for less than a year then your choice may be more limited.

We are not able to recommend specific banks to students but it is a good idea to use a bank with a branch near the university.

These branches are generally more used to dealing with students and understand their problems and needs.

We have negotiated with some banks (see the list below) for them to accept the University's bank introduction letter which will make it easier for you to open an account.

You must also take the appropriate documentation. These documents are listed on the bank introduction letter.

Bank introduction letter for international students in private accommodation

To assist you to open an account, by providing proof of your private accommodation in Edinburgh, the University can provide you with a bank introduction letter.

You can order this document online from the Student Administration Department (Registry)

Bank introduction letter for international students in University accommodation

After you have fully checked in to your University accommodation you can download and print a copy of the letter from MyEd. Look in MyEd for the ‘Print Bank Letter’ facility.

Once you have a copy of the letter you can take it to one of the bank branches listed on the letter with the additional documentation requested. Only certain banks and branches have agreed to accept this letter so you must open the account at one of these branches.

Choosing a bank

It is up to you to do some research, work out which account suits you best and find out what the banks are charging for their various services.

Banking comparison table

Use our bank comparison chart to help you research which bank and account suits you best. The chart includes the documents and identification each bank requires to set up a new account.

How long will it take?

Some accounts can be opened during an appointment in the bank branch, others take longer.

The time it takes varies from bank to bank and depends on the type of account you open.

Banks are now obliged to carry out very strict checks and abide by banking regulations to prevent money laundering etc. This means that the whole process may take longer than you would wish.

Be prepared for the process to take up to 2 weeks but remember to ask when speaking with each bank how long it normally takes.

Banks near the University

There are a large number of banks with offices in and around Edinburgh and you can select any bank that you wish.

While the University does not endorse any particular bank we do suggest that banks in the vicinity of the University are more used to dealing with students.

The University of Edinburgh has negotiated for its standard letter of introduction to be accepted by the following banks:

  • Bank of Scotland
  • University Student Centre
  • 4 Bristo Square
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AL
  • Bank of Scotland
  • Lawnmarket Branch
  • 300 Lawnmarket
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2PH
  • Bank of Scotland
  • Holyrood Branch
  • 91 Holyrood Road
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AU
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Forrest Road Branch
  • 61 Forrest Road
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2QP
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Nicholson Street Branch
  • 30 Nicholson Street
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9DL
  • Barclays
  • St Andrew's Square
  • 1 St Andrews Square
  • Edinburgh
  • EH2 2BD
  • Work: +44 (0)845 755 5555
  • HSBC
  • 118 Princes Street
  • Edinburgh
  • EH2 4AA
  • Work: +44 (0)845 604 0626
  • TSB
  • 9-11 Clerk Street
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JH
  • Work: +44 (0)845 303 0109
  • Santander
  • University Branch
  • Potterrow
  • 5/2 Bristo Square
  • EH8 9AL
  • Bank of China
  • 450 Sauchiehall Street
  • Glasgow
  • G2 3JD
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