New Students

Open a UK Bank Account

In this section, you will find useful information on opening your first student bank account in the UK.

Why would I need to open a UK bank account?

A UK bank account is needed to pay any kind of Direct Debit mandate. This is a type of repeated payment used to pay for expenses such as accommodation fees, tuition fees and utility bills. Most jobs in the UK will also require you to have a UK bank account in order to facilitate payment of wages, and a UK bank account will also likely be necessary to receive payment of any UK-based loan, grant or bursary.

Click below for further information on Direct Debit and Direct Debit mandates on the University Finance Office website: 

What is Direct Debit? - University Finance Office website

What kind of UK bank account can I get? 

  • New students who are already resident in the UK are eligible to open student bank accounts, which can come with a number of different perks.

  • New students who are not already resident in the UK will have fewer options as to the range of UK bank accounts they can open, but they should nevertheless open an account as soon as possible to facilitate payment of accommodation fees, tuition fees, and everyday expenses.

  • International visiting and exchange students will have limited bank account options depending on the duration of their stay in the UK.

See the relevant pages below for further information about your options. Please note not all bank accounts are suitable for direct debit payments - check with your bank first.

Bank comparison information

The University of Edinburgh are working with the banks listed below, which includes digital and traditional banks. 

Further bank comparison information will be released at the end of July.

Digital Banks/ Cards

  • Curve
  • Monzo
  • N26
  • Revolut

Traditional Banks

  • Bank of China

  • Bank of Scotland

  • Barclays

  • Clydesdale

  • HSBC

  • Royal Bank of Scotland

  • Santander

  • TSB

General points to remember when opening a new bank account

  • Although there is generally a set time between starting your bank account and receiving your bank card, it is important to plan your finances in case there is a delay in accessing your new bank account.

  • Setting up online banking on your new account can similarly take longer than expected, as you will likely have to wait to receive an activation code through the post. 

  • You will probably receive a lot of paperwork documenting the terms and conditions of your new account - don't be afraid to ask a staff member in the bank to go through these with you, especially if English is not your first language.

  • There may be some small charges on transactions like international bank transfers that could become expensive over time. 

  • If you set up a new bank account and find that you are not happy with it, don't be afraid to switch to a different type of account or a different bank - y​​​​​​You will spend a reasonable amount of time over the course of your studies using your bank account (likely almost every day), so it's important to find one you are happy with. 

  • The bank branches near the University are very used to dealing with students, so these are probably a good place to start looking for where to set up your new account. 

  • Be careful with where you submit your bank account details, particularly online - check for a padlock icon beside the URL in your browser, or an icon saying 'Secure.' See the Banking Safety page below for further information. 

Students who are already residents in the UK

In this section, you will find useful information for UK-resident students on setting up a student bank account.

Students from the EU

In this section, you will find information for EU students about setting up a UK bank account.

Students from outside the EU

In this section, you will find useful information for international students setting up a UK bank account.

Banking safety

In this section, you will find useful advice for students about keeping your bank account details secure.

Banking Terminology

Glossary of banking terminology.