How to open a student bank account in the UK

student bank account in the UK

Written by Sarah Mukaddam

An engineer turned content writer, Sarah is a self-proclaimed bookworm. Armed with a keen sense of story and the gift of the gab, she works as a content writer at UniAcco.

Last updated Jun 16, 2020

student bank account in the uk

As a student, you need easy access to funds, irrespective of whether you are an EU student or not. Having a student bank account in the UK is essential for ease of trades and to avoid extravagant charges on your transactions, whether it be on cash withdrawals or card payments. If you are a student who plans on working while studying an account with the local bank will be very useful. Selecting the best student bank account in the UK might be a little confusing, so here a few tips to help you through.

What is a student bank account?

Everybody is eligible to open a bank account. The main difference between a student account and a current account is the overdraft facility. The overdraft facility is where a student can withdraw money up to a specific amount interest-free without having a cent in their accounts. Most banks offer “up to” £3000 as their overdraft limit, up to because the limit depends on your credit score. Overdraft limit is not free money, it has to be paid back after a certain period once you have graduated. The account gets converted to a graduate account once a students education is complete. Withdrawing over the draft limit may result in a student being fined and a negative impact on their credit scores. 

If you have opened a student account at the start of your course, it will turn into a graduate bank account after your graduation. Consider these when looking for the right bank account for your requirements:

  • Overdraft limit.
  • Go for the most extended 0% interest overdraft.
  • Check the associated perks of opening with a particular bank.
  • Check your credit rating before applying.
  • Budget to clear off your overdraft as soon as possible

Appurtenances

Due to the stiff ongoing competition when it comes to students, a lot of appurtenances are offered to make a student choose a particular bank. A 4 year 16-25 railcard is generally offered which can help you get a third off on your travel, but bear in mind you are anyways eligible for it as a student. Some banks also offer amazon gift cards or TOTUM cards. One should choose a bank solely based on the bank’s financial services provided and must read the documents carefully. Documents required for a foreign student bank account in the UK:

  • Current passport
  • A valid visa
  • Home bank statement 
  • Proof of address in the UK
  • Student ID or acceptance letter from the university.

Documents required for home/EU students for a bank account:

  • One or two forms of photo ID
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of student status

Opening a student bank account online in the UK

If you wish to have an account before landing in the UK, then you can open an account online. Majority of the banks support the online procedure, but be careful of the type of account you are opening an international bank account or a foreign student bank account. There is a possibility that it may require more documents. Checking whether your existing bank has links to the UK will always be a good start. Student bank account in the UK comparison.

From Slite.com

Image credit – Savethestudent.org

URL – https://www.savethestudent.org/money/student-banking/student-bank-accounts.html#open

International student bank account in the UK comparison

From Slite.com

Image Credit – Savethestudent.org

Image URL – https://www.savethestudent.org/international-students/top-international-bank-accounts-uk.html

The Major Banks in the UK You Should Consider

The UK has a competitive banking industry. You would get a profitable deal from among the following banks who have individual bank accounts in the UK for global students;

  1. Barclays – it is the oldest bank in the UK with more than 1500 branches. Their foreign student account is free and offers cashback from various shops. You can also upgrade your primary bank account with student additions including a free overdraft of up to £ 3,000 for three years and a contactless debit card.
  2. Lloyds – Lloyds has about 1300 branches throughout the UK. They have an account specifically for students. This has a free overdraft of up to £1,500 for three years and an optional credit card with a minimum limit of £500.
  3. HSBC – HSBC has more than 1100 branches in the UK. HSBC operates in more than 80 countries, if you already have a bank account with HSBC in your home country, then you can easily set up a student account in the UK before you land.
  4. NatWest – Natwest has 1,400 branches spread all over the UK. NatWest has a great student account facilities where you will get a free overdraft of up to £2,000 for three years. Also, enjoy a 33% discount on coach travel with National Express.

Please Note: In the UK withdrawing money from your bank’s ATM is free. However, some ATM machines are not free and may charge £1.50 and £3 per transaction. Usually, the ATM machine will warn you of charges before you complete the purchase.

References:

  • https://www.savethestudent.org/money/student-banking/student-bank-accounts.html#open
  • https://www.savethestudent.org/international-students/top-international-bank-accounts-uk.html
  • https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/student-and-graduate-bank-accounts
  • https://www.extravelmoney.com/blog/how-to-open-a-bank-account-in-uk/
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