New Students

Open a UK bank account

All students who are studying at the University for one year or longer are eligible to open a UK bank account. For shorter visits the choice is more limited, and we recommend that you seek more information from banks directly. This process may take up to two weeks if you have all the required documentation ready to go beforehand.

Many aspects of opening a student bank account will vary from bank to bank. These aspects include details such as:

  • the type of bank account available to you in terms of an overdraft, fees, charges and additional perks
  • the type of documentation required to present in the branch (for example, passport, letter of study offer from the University, proof of address)
  • the length of time expected to get the bank account fully set up
  • the minimum expected length of stay in the UK

Many UK websites compare different student bank accounts, including:

Best Bank Accounts 2023 (Save the Student)

Student bank Accounts (Money Saving Expert)

Why should I open a UK bank account?

Whether you are looking at digital-only banking account or a traditional bank account (with the option to bank digitally and go into a bank) opening a UK bank account has several benefits, including:

  • fraud protection
  • safety and security of your money 
  • you can use it to pay your rent
  • you can use it to manage and pay your tuition fees (Pay your fees)
  • you can use it to manage other daily expenses without incurring any extra charges 

What will I need to open a UK bank account?

Many banks require you to complete an online application form to open a UK bank account. To open a UK bank account you will need:

  • a local semester address recorded on your student record
  • your passport - banks will not accept your University card as proof of identification
  • a University Bank Introduction Letter - this will be accepted by a selection of local banks as proof of student status and proof of semester-time address 
  • Student Visa students only: your Biometric Residence permit (BRP)

Where to get a Bank Introduction Letter 


Overdrafts are only really applicable to UK resident students.

The main difference between student accounts and normal or, 'current' accounts is the overdraft facility. An overdraft works like a 0% interest loan and allows you to withdraw more money from your bank account than you actually have, without being charged (interest) for doing so.

An overdraft can be useful for when finances might be tight between payments (whether payments from a loan, grant or wages).  Most banks will offer overdrafts with a pre-agreed limit. Some student bank accounts offer tiered overdraft amounts, which increase with each year of study, so you could end up with a bigger overdraft limit after your first year.[MK1] 

Important points to remember

  • An overdraft is not free money: once you graduate or otherwise stop being a student, the overdraft facility will stop and you will have to repay any negative balance on your account.
  • If you go over your agreed overdraft you will be charged a fee. The resulting charges can build up very quickly - avoid this at all costs.
  • If you find yourself in financial difficulty, do not hesitate to seek help as soon as you can.

Contact the Advice Place

Contact the Scholarships and Student Funding team

Watch our short 'How to...' video on opening a bank account in the UK

This short video will cover the benefits of opening a UK bank account, what you’ll need in order to open an account and the types of bank account that may be available to you.

Video: How to... Open a bank account in the UK (UG/PGT/PGR)
This short video will cover what types of UK bank accounts are available to students, the benefits of opening a UK bank account, common issues and how the Advice Place can help. This video is part of the 'How to...' 2023 series.

Relevant Links 

Additional information about safe banking

Moneyhelper website

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