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Bank accounts

Student page

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

International student accounts

UK bank accounts

A UK bank account is the best way to pay your bills, manage your money and keep it safe. It can also help you avoid unnecessary exchange rate charges.

When can I get one?

Before you can open a UK bank account you will need to formally enrol as a Goldsmiths student. After you’ve completed personal enrolment you will be able to request a statement of student status – a mandatory requirement for UK bank accounts.

Where can I get one?

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 just some of the UK banks that offer student bank accounts:

How do I get 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 the following ready for when you apply:

  • Statement of student status/proof of enrolment, which 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 addressProof of former address

You may have to open your bank account in person, which means going into a 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. Benefits include:

  • Favourable overdraft rates (e.g. 0% interest)
  • Access to discounts such as a 16-25 Railcard

When you arrive in the UK

Opening a bank account in the UK can take some time so it is best to have a plan in place while you wait to set one up. We recommend that you bring at least £500 in UK currency (British pounds) to cover your initial expenses. It might be safer to bring this on a prepaid credit card from your home country which enables you convert any funds to British pounds (GBP).

Banks close to Goldsmiths

As you may need to visit in person, it is 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 (10 minute walk)
  • Other banks in Lewisham and Peckham (15 minute bus ride)

UK student UG bank accounts

Student bank accounts are much like standard bank accounts, however many offer an interest-free overdraft. If you already have a bank account you might be able to switch to a student account, however it is still worth shopping around for the best deal for you.

Why have one

Student bank accounts offer some great freebies, however it is best to consider the rates they offer and how that will affect your money.

The main benefit of a student bank account is an interest-free overdraft. Things to look for are the limit, costs for exceeding that limit and how you will have to pay off your overdraft after 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. We recommend that you have the following ready before you apply:

  • 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 you will have to wait until your results meet the offer, and some banks may need a letter from Goldsmiths

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 will 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 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 overdraft 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 need money advice, the Goldsmiths Student Centre is here to provide guidance and support so you can better understand your finances.

Local banks to Goldsmiths

Seeing as you may need to visit in person, it is 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 (10 minute walk)
  • Other banks in Lewisham and Peckham (15 minute bus ride)

UK PG students

Postgraduate students may not have access to the same student bank accounts undergraduates do.

However, many banks do offer a postgraduate bank account that comes with an interest-free overdraft, so we advise that you shop around.

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