Navigation

Image description

Bank accounts

Student page

Most banks have student bank accounts that come with free perks and useful things for managing your money

International student accounts

UK bank accounts

The safest and most effective way of controlling your money is to open a UK bank account as soon as you possibly can once arriving to the United Kingdom. It is worth being aware that the process requires some planning and documents but Goldsmiths is here to offer you a guide to get you started.

A UK bank account is the best way to pay bills, manage money as well as keep it safe and avoid unnecessary exchange rate charges.

When can I get one?

After you have completed personal enrolment and can now obtain a statement of student status and proof of address.

Certain banks will allow you to begin the process of opening a bank account before you arrive in the UK, we advise that you look into the possibilities of this. If not, there are a number of documents you need to obtain to ensure that a bank will approve your application.

Where can you get one from?

The UK has many banks that offer competitive rates to international students, however you should make sure you shop around and get the best deal for you.

Here are links to some accounts:

How do I open one?

Each UK bank will have its own identity/credit check system so please check what is needed from them. To be safe, we advise that you make sure you have ready access to the following:

  • Statement of student status/proof of enrolment can be printed from MyGoldsmiths after you enrol
  • Visa
  • I.D./Passport
  • Proof of UK address, the contract for your accommodation or a utility bill with your current UK address.
  • Proof of former address

You may have to open your bank account in person, which means going in branch and filling out paper documentation.

What benefits to look for

There are numerous benefits to having a specific student bank account, make sure you shop for the right deal for you:

  • Favourable overdraft rates, 0% interest.
  • Access to discounts such as a 16-25 railcard.

When you arrive in the UK

As shown, opening a bank account in the UK can take some time so it is best to have some plan in place while you wait to set one up.

You should have at least £500 to cover your initial expenses.

You can bring this in UK stirling cash.  Also look at pre-paid cash cards, Caxton and Travelex are examples of this. These cards can be loaded with money before you arrive and operate much in the same way as a normal debit card (PIN number, Visa/Mastercard, etc.)

Local banks to Goldsmiths

Seeing as you may need to visit in person, it may be worth considering using a local branch of one of the main banks in the UK.

  • Santander, on campus in the Richard Hoggart Building
  • Barclays, Deptford High Street (10min walk)
  • Other banks are in Lewisham and Peckham (15min bus ride)

UK student UG bank accounts

Student bank accounts are much like standard checking accounts however they can offer an interest-free overdraft which is well worth capitalising upon. If you already have a bank account it may automatically convert into a Student account, however, it is still worth shopping around for the best deal for you.

Why have one

Student bank accounts can be offered with tantalising freebies however it is best to concern yourself with the rates they offer and how that will affect your money.

The key feature of a student bank account – far outweighing gift incentives – will be the interest-free overdraft. Things to look for are the limit, costs for exceeding that limit and how you will have to pay that off once you graduate.

What is needed to open an account

Each bank will have its own standards and processes before you are able to open a student account there are some documents we recommend you getting ready:

  • Identification (passport, driving license, etc.)
  • Proof of address (Letter from university, utility bill, etc.)
  • Proof of study: UCAS confirmation of unconditional offer, if your offer was conditional then you will have to wait until your results meet the offer or some may need a letter from Goldsmiths.

What banks are offering

We have compiled a list below of banks and what overdrafts they are offering to students*

  • Bank of Scotland - Up to £1,500 in years 1-3 then up to £2,000
  • Barclays - Up to £1,500 in year 1 then up to £3,000
  • Co-Operative Bank - £1,400 in year 1, up to £1,700 in year 2 then up to £2,000
  • Halifax - Up to £3,000
  • HSBC - Up to £3,000
  • Lloyds - Up to £1,500 in years 1-3 then up to £2,000
  • Nationwide - £1,000 in year 1, up to £2,000 in year 2 then up to £3,000
  • Natwest - Up to £2,000
  • RBS - Up to £2,000
  • Santander - £1,500 in years 1-3 then £1,800 in year 4 and £2,000 in year 5
  • TSB - Up to £1,500

*Information correct as June 2017

Money Saving Expert keeps an up to date list of accounts and has more recommendations.

Important things to consider with an overdraft

  • If you stop being a student the banks will withdraw an overdraft or change its terms meaning you may be charged and need to pay it back
  • Is the overdraft Interest-free? A interest free overdraft means you will not have to pay charges if you are overdrawn, acting as a safety net if you should so need it
  • What is the limit? When looking for a 0% overdraft you should check the limit and how long they offer it for
  • How long for? It is important to remember you will need to pay your overdrawn figure back; check how long your overdraft stays interest-free for
  • Don’t go over the limit! Whilst you are within the limit of your interest-free overdraft you will not be charged but be careful, once the limit is exceeded the charges can be costly.

If you are in need of money advice, big or small, the Goldsmiths Student Centre is here to provide guidance and support so that you can better understand your finances.

Local banks to Goldsmiths

Seeing as you may need to visit in person, it may be worth considering using a local branch of one of the main banks in the UK.

  • Santander, on campus in the Richard Hoggart Building
  • Barclays, Deptford High Street (10min walk)
  • Other banks are in Lewisham and Peckham (15min bus ride)

UK PG students

As postgraduate students you may not have access to the same student bank accounts undergraduates do.

However, many banks offer a postgraduate bank account that also offer interest-free overdrafts.

Savvy Woman's guide to the best PG bank accounts

Read next:

Mobile phones and calling home

Was this page helpful?