It is very likely that you will need to open a UK bank account during the course of your employment. For example, you may need to pay rent by direct debit or you may need bank statements to provide evidence of your funding for immigration purposes etc.
When you relocate to the UK, or if you visit for more than six months, one basic thing you will need to set up is a bank account. Recurring payments for services are often organised as direct debits taken monthly from your bank account, so it is very important to have an account as early as possible if your stay is for over six months. There is no limit to the amount of money you can take into the U.K, but your own country may operate exchange controls. If this is the case, you must start making arrangements for transferring money several months before you arrive in the U.K.
Opening a bank account in the U.K.
Most banks will require a proof of address and a proof of ID to let you open an account. Depending on the bank, you may or may not need to deposit money into the account in order to open it. Many banks do not open accounts for stays of less than six months. If you are visiting the UK for less than six months, you probably can get by using a foreign account to pay for most goods and services you will need.
We cannot recommend any one particular bank, however, we have collated information about the local banks, their services and different types of account they offer and hope that this is useful to you in choosing the bank most appropriate for you. To open an account, you will need your passport or ID card and evidence of your current course of study and address. Depending on the bank you choose, you may be asked for other documentation. The British Bankers' Association (BBA) provide a useful leaflet on international student banking which you can find at www.bba.org.uk/international-students and you can also find useful information on the UKCISA website.
For visits of less than 6 months: If you are visiting the U.K. for less than 6 months it is uncommon to be able to open a bank account as you are only staying a short time in the UK. However, there are alternative ways to accessing, spending and safely storing your money during your stay in the UK:
- PayPal and PayPal's debit card: this card is linked in to your PayPal account and allows you to withdraw money from your PayPal balance. It can be used at ATMs and everywhere that accepts Mastercard. Please see the PayPal website for further details.
- Post Office Money Card: this is a pre-payment debit card that can be used at ATMs and everywhere that accepts Mastercard. It works like a gift card; you add money to the card at the Post Office and can spend using the card until the money runs out. More details can be found on the Post Office webpages.
- Mastercard also has a website showing all the types of pre-payment card they offer with various providers. There is a short online quiz thats asks you how you will use the card which helps determine which type of pre-payment debit card would be right for you. Please go to the Mastercard website for further information.
Local bank branches
Bank of Scotland
174 Byres Road
196 Byres Road
Clydesdale Bank plc
326 Byres Road
Bank of India
1 Somerset Place
Bank Of China
450 Sauchiehall Street
2 Buchanan Street
271-273 Byres Rd
Royal Bank of Scotland; 339 Byres Road