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Bank Accounts in UK for International Students


Are you an international student seeking the ideal "Bank Accounts in the UK for International Students"? Look no further! Our guide is tailored to help you find a banking solution that fits your academic life in the UK perfectly.

A bank account in the UK is more than just a secure place to store your money. It's a gateway to essential financial services like making payments, withdrawing cash, handling overdrafts, and using debit or credit cards. Understanding and accessing these services is crucial for your time in the UK.

We know that starting a new chapter in a foreign country brings its own set of challenges, with managing finances often at the forefront. The right bank can significantly ease this aspect of your life, allowing you to focus on your studies and experiences in the UK.

This blog highlights the process and provides you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about your banking options in the UK.

Why do you Need a UK Bank Account?

Safety and security: It is preferable to deposit money in a bank account to avoid having your cash stolen or misplaced.

For visa purposes: If you need to renew your current visa or apply for a new one, you must provide financial proof that you have enough money to reside in the UK. You can accomplish this more quickly and easily if you have a UK bank account.

For a part-time job: Many companies deposit salary immediately into a bank account. Paying your salary into an offshore account may incur bank fees.

Types of Available Bank Accounts in the UK for International Students

As an international student in the UK, managing your finances is a key part of your study experience. Understanding the types of bank accounts available is crucial in making an informed decision.

This table provides a concise overview of the various bank account types available to international students in the UK, highlighting their main features and benefits. It's designed to help students choose the most suitable account type based on their specific needs and banking preferences.

Account Type


Key Features

Benefits for Students

Current Accounts

Most common, for daily transactions

Debit card, online banking, direct debits

Easy access to funds, ideal for daily expenses

Savings Accounts

For long-term savings, higher interest rates

Restrictions on withdrawals, interest accrual

Save for future expenses, earn interest

Student Accounts

Tailored for student needs

Interest-free overdrafts, student perks

Flexible features, student-specific benefits

International Student Accounts

For international students specifically

Multi-language support, help with transfers

Suited for international student needs

Digital-Only Bank Accounts

Modern, online-only banking

Instant notifications, budgeting tools

Convenient, modern banking solution

Joint Accounts

Shared by multiple individuals

Multiple user management, shared expense tracking

Simplify managing shared expenses

How to Open a New Bank Accounts in the UK?

Opening a bank account in the UK as an international student involves a few straightforward steps. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  • Start by researching different banks in the UK. Consider factors like branch locations, online banking services, and any special offers for students.
  • Select the bank that best suits your needs and preferences.
  • Provide a document that confirms your UK address, such as a utility bill or tenancy agreement. Some banks accept a letter from your university as proof.
  • Your university acceptance letter or student ID card will be necessary.
  • If you're an international student from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), you'll need to provide your valid visa or immigration status documents.
  • Decide whether you want a current account, a savings account, or a student account. Most international students opt for a student account as it's tailored to their needs.
  • Visit the nearest branch of your chosen bank. Schedule an appointment if necessary.
  • The bank will verify your documents and conduct any necessary checks. This process may take a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the bank.
  • Once your account is approved, you'll receive your account details, including your sort code and account number. You'll also get a debit card and possibly a chequebook if applicable.
  • Register for online banking to manage your account efficiently. This usually involves setting up security questions and passwords.
  • You can now deposit funds into your new account either by transferring money from another account or by depositing cash at a branch.

Opening a bank account in the UK is a significant step toward financial independence during your studies. With the right documents and careful consideration of your banking needs, you'll be well on your way to managing your finances effectively in the UK.

What are the Top Bank Accounts for International Students in the UK

For international students who wish to study in the UK, choosing the right bank account is essential for managing finances effectively.

  • HSBC Basic Account 2024
  • Barclays Student Additions Account (International) 2024
  • Natwest International Student Account
  • TSB Cash Account
  • Lloyds Classic Account

This table provides a quick comparison of various bank accounts, highlighting their eligibility criteria, features, and minimum deposit requirements.

Name of Bank Account




International Student Account


International students in the UK

Low transfer fees, theft protection, online banking

Classic Account


Open to all, including students

Mobile banking, cashback on purchases

Bank Account


Open to all, including students

No monthly costs, online and mobile banking

Basic Current Account


Open to all, no credit check required

Cashback at major retailers, paper-free banking

FlexBasic or FlexStudent


Students aged 18 or over

Free transfers in EEA, interest on balances, mobile banking

Select Account

RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland)

Open to all, including students

Free to send money abroad, mobile banking

Select Account


Open to all, including students

Free to send money abroad, mobile banking

Current Account


Open to all, including students

Instant spending notifications, budgeting tools

Student Account


Students aged 17 or over

Interest on balances, overdraft facility

Current Account


Open to all, including students

No daily fee for arranged overdraft, mobile banking

This table aims to assist international students in the UK in finding a bank account that best suits their needs, considering factors like eligibility, features, and financial requirements.

Eligibility Criteria to Open Bank Accounts in the UK for International Students

To open a bank account in the UK as an international student, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria. Here are the key points to consider:

  • Some banks may accept a biometric residence permit.
  • University acceptance letter or a valid student ID.
  • A valid UK student visa or proof of immigration status for students from outside the EEA.
  • Most banks require you to be at least 18 years old. Some offer accounts to younger students with parental consent.
  • Some banks may require an initial deposit to open the account.
  • Not common for student accounts, but some banks may perform a credit check.
  • The course should typically be at least six months long.

Documents Required for Opening a Bank Account in the UK

Be prepared with the following documents:

  • Valid passport and student visa.
  • Proof of UK address (utility bill or tenancy agreement).
  • University acceptance letter.

When opening bank accounts in the UK, international students often wonder about the minimum balance requirements. This is an important factor to consider as it can vary significantly between different banks and account types.

What is the Minimum Balance for an International Bank Account in the UK?

Typical Minimum Balance in UK Banks

  • No Minimum Balance: Many UK banks offer accounts with no minimum balance requirement, especially for students and basic accounts. This is particularly beneficial for students who may not have a steady income.
  • Minimum Balance Accounts: Some banks might offer accounts with added benefits that come with a minimum balance requirement. These are less common for student-specific accounts but can be found in other account types.

Factors Influencing Minimum Balance

  • Account Type: Student and basic accounts usually have lower or no minimum balance requirements compared to premium accounts.
  • Bank Policies: Each bank has its policy regarding minimum balances, so it's essential to check this when choosing a bank.
  • fees: Be aware of any fees or charges that might apply if your account balance falls below the required minimum.

Tips for Managing Minimum Balance

  • Choose the Right Account: Opt for an account that suits your financial situation. If maintaining a minimum balance is challenging, consider accounts with no such requirement.

How to Select the Best Bank in the UK for International Students?

Choosing the right bank in the UK as an international student is essential for managing your finances effectively during your stay.

Here are some key factors to consider when selecting the best bank for your needs:

  • Transfer Costs: Compare international transfer fees and exchange rates for receiving or sending money from abroad. Additionally, check the charges for using your UK debit card overseas.
  • Overdraft Facilities: If you anticipate needing an overdraft, ensure the bank offers this option to international students. Overdrafts can assist with budgeting.
  • Location: Opt for a bank with branches near your home or university. In-person access can be crucial for handling account issues or updates.
  • Student-Specific Benefits: Some banks offer student accounts with perks like interest-free overdrafts, discounts, or freebies. Explore these extras.
  • Interest Rates: If you plan to save, compare interest rates on savings accounts. Higher rates can boost your savings over time.
  • Accessibility for Non-UK Residents: If you lack a UK address or credit history, inquire about services for non-UK residents. Some banks offer tailored solutions.

By checking these factors, you can make an informed decision and select the best UK bank that aligns with your specific needs and financial goals as an international student.

However, with the right information and preparation, you can easily manage your finances and focus on what truly matters - your education and experience in the UK. Remember, choosing the right bank account is the first step towards a hassle-free and rewarding study experience.
If you're an Indian student seeking assistance with bank accounts in the UK, AECC is here to help. Our expert advisors can provide valuable insights, answer your questions, and guide you through the process with ZERO processing fees!

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