When settling in the UK, whether you are in the EU or not, one of the things in your to-do list should be opening a british bank account. Back when I moved to study in England 5 years ago, finding a bank account that was best for me as an international student was a lengthy process. I soon realised that most banks do offer “Student bank Accounts” but that they asked for requirements such as being living in the UK for more than 3 years, which was not suitable for me. Therefore, I am writing this article to show you the best options based on the eligibility to open accounts, transfer and currency conversion fees, and more.
To summarize, the banks I suggest here are the following: Barclays, Santander, Lloyds, Revolut, Bunq, TransferWise and Natwest, but below you can find they’re detailed offers.
- Why Do I need a UK Bank Account?
- What is an Overdraft?
- What is a Multi Currency Card?
- Best International Student Bank Accounts for 2021
- What documentation do I need to open a UK Bank Account?
Why Do I need a UK Bank Account?
The benefits of having a local bank account are the following:
- Saving Money
If you use your bank from back home in the UK, the most likely thing to happen is that you will be paying very expensive foreign transaction & currency conversion fees. Remember that this is something you’ll need to do since the UK currency is in pound sterling.
- Working in the UK
If your visa allows it and if you want to work in the UK to pay for your studies, employees will require that you have a local bank to which they can pay their wages.
- Paying for Accommodation, gym, mobile phone, etc
Most accommodation providers will require that you have a local bank account, and if you want to pay for your gym membership and get a local mobile phone number, having a UK bank account is essential.
- Practicality & Convenience
In the case where you forget your PIN or need support with something money-related, it will be easier to just pop down to a local branch to ask for help than contacting your bank from back home. Also, having a local bank will make it easier to transfer money to your friends!
Before we proceed to the offers, you have to know a few things first in order to understand them:
What is an overdraft?
An overdraft is a loan that can act as a short term safety net. The amount borrowed is agreed with your bank.
What is a Multi Currency Card?
A multi currency card allows you to hold several different currencies and hold a separate balance for each of them.
Best International Student Bank Accounts for 2021
With the advance of technology, banking is being made easier with banks such as Revolut and Bunq, which are great options if you are only planning to stay for a semester, for example. If you are more traditional and don’t mind dealing with the paperwork that “traditional” banks require, there are also options for you below, however banks like Natwest and Barclays only allow you to open an account with them if you are enrolled in a course that lasts at least 2 years.
Now on analysing each individual bank, I looked at the following factors: Outgoing International Transfer Fees from the EU and Internationally, Incoming international transfer fees from the EU and Internationally, Multi Currency card, Currency exchange fees, Monthly Fees, Allows opening an account online, Option of having an overdraft and Freebies.
Click on the links to go directly to the Bank’s website!
What are the requirements to open a bank account?
|Transfer wise||Everyone is eligible if they have an ID Card|
|Bunq||Residents of the EU; +18; -18 need to provide a legal guardian.|
|Natwest International Student Account||
What documentation do I need to open a UK Bank Account?
Usually, you will need to have the following:
- Letter from the University stating that you study there;
- Proof of Address (This can be a utility bill or bank statement);
- Your visa (If it is the case);
Hopefully after reading this you’re a bit less lost and now you have an idea of what bank to go for! Be sure to follow Movido on social media to keep up with the best tips and advice on your move to the UK.