How to open a UK bank account

Opening a bank account is one of the first things you'll do as an international student arriving here. You'll find advice on this page about the documents you need, how to choose an account and the contact details of some local banks.

Getting advice

Opening a UK bank account is something we recommend for all students who plan to be in the UK for six months or more.

If you're going to arrange an instalment agreement to pay the rest of your fees when you enrol at the University, you'll be expected to have a UK bank account.

Here's what we recommend you do:

  • first, compare the accounts that the local banks offer to students
  • when you know which bank you are going to open an account with, visit your Academic School Office and request a letter to take with you to the bank. This letter confirms your address and course details and is called 'letter of introduction for UK banking facilities'.

If you have any questions or need any help with opening a bank account please contact our international student support team and we'll be more than happy to help you.

Having a bank account here will enable you to manage your money more easily. It is necessary for paying your rent and bills, transferring money from overseas, and if you decide to work part-time while in the UK it is likely that your employer will pay your wages into your bank account.

If you need more information, please visit the UKCISA website.

Frequently asked questions

  • Can I open a bank account in the UK?

    In most cases international students will only be able to open an account that offers basic banking facilities.

    The type of documentation you will need to provide to open an account varies from bank to bank; you will therefore need to take this into consideration when choosing a bank.

    You can compare the services of many banks in the table at the bottom of this page.

  • How do I choose which bank is best for me?

    Before deciding which bank you want to use, you should compare what services they can offer you and what charges they will apply.

    You could also ask your bank at home if they have a special agreement with a bank in the UK.

  • What should I ask the bank?

    Here are some of the questions you may want to ask the bank when you enquire about their accounts:

    • Which documents do I need to open an account?
    • Will the bank charge me a monthly fee for the account?
    • Do I need to deposit a specific amount of money when I open the account?
    • What sort of card will I get – cash card or debit card?
    • What services does the account offer? (direct debits, standing orders, cheque book, etc)
    • How long does it take to open the account?
    • Do you send bank statements every month?
    • Does the account comply with Shariah Law? (only if you wish to opt for an account which complies with these Muslim principles).

  • What do I need to open an account?

    Requirements may vary from bank to bank, so check with the bank what they will need from you. As a general guide, this is what you will be required to provide:

    • Your passport with your valid student visa or valid biometric ID card (banks are required to check that you have a valid visa for the UK).
    • EU students will need to check if a national photo ID card will be sufficient.
    • A letter from NTU confirming your course details and UK and overseas addresses, this is called 'letter of introduction for UK banking facilities'. You will need to request this letter from your School Office when you have decided which bank you will use.

  • What else do I need to know about bank accounts?

    IMPORTANT – BANK STATEMENTS

    Most banks will send you a bank statement document by post every month. It includes details of all the transactions for your account.

    They are important and you should keep them as they will be required for visa applications or as proof of address. Online statements may not be accepted for visa applications, so it is better not to choose this option if offered.

    Most banks can send you duplicates, but it can take several weeks to receive them and you may be charged for them. International students are advised to ensure their bank can send regular bank statements.

    Once you have opened your account, remember the following:

    • tell the bank if you change your address.
    • It is important to keep your bank statements. You will need these if you have to extend your visa. Your bank may charge you for duplicate statements and it may take several weeks for you to receive them.
    • Keep your personal details and account details somewhere safe, to prevent someone else using your account or stealing your identity.

Compare local bank accounts

Name of bank Accounts available Cost of account Account facilities Cost of money transfers abroad Address of local branches
Halifax Basic Account No monthly fee

Visa debit card

Online, mobile and telephone banking and free mobile text alerts

Contactless Visa debit card

£9.50 per transfer 7 - 11 Milton Street, Nottingham NG1 3EP
Halifax Student Current Account No monthly fee

Visa debit card

Online, mobile and telephone banking and mobile text alerts

Credit interest and interest-free planned overdraft

£9.50 per transfer 1 St Peter's Gate, Nottingham NG1 2NW
HSBC Basic Bank Account No monthly fee

Visa debit card

Telephone, mobile, branch and internet banking

£4 - £9

26 Clumber Street, Nottingham, NG1 3GA

Lloyds Classic Account No monthly fee

Visa debit card

Online, mobile and telephone banking

£10 - £30 per transfer 12-16 Lower Parliament Street, Nottingham, NG1 3DA
Natwest

Select AccountInternational Student Account

No monthly fee

Cash card and top up

Visa debit card

Online, mobile and telephone banking

No recurring transactions

£10 - £30 depending on country and speed of transfer

16 South Parade, Nottingham NG1 2JX

Natwest

International Student Account

£10 per month

Cash card and top up

Visa debit card

Online, mobile and telephone banking

No recurring transactions

£10 - £40 depending on country and speed of transfer

Unit 27, Victoria Shopping Centre, Nottingham NG1 2JX

Santander Basic Account No monthly fee

Cash card and top up

Visa debit card

Online, mobile and telephone banking

No recurring transactions

£25 per transfer NTU, Student Services Centre, Newton Building, Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4BU
Santander Essentials Current Account (for new to UK students and workers)£1 per month

Contactless debit card and payments via mobile

Online, mobile and telephone banking

£25 per transfer NTU, Student Services Centre, Newton Building, Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4BU
TSB Cash Account No monthly fee

Visa debit card

Online, mobile and telephone banking

£10 - £30 11 Low Parliament, Nottingham, NG1 7DQ
TSB Classic Account No monthly fee

Visa debit card

Online, mobile and telephone banking

£10 - £20 46 Southchurch Drive, Clifton, Nottingham
Barclays Student Additions Account No monthly fee Contactless debit card

Online, telephone and mobile banking
£15 - £40 2 High Street, Nottingham NG1 2EN

Still need help?

International Student Support Service
+44 (0)115 848 2631