Search site

Useful links

Link to Leeds Global Community

International Student Office

UK Bank Account

UK Bank Account

During your time in Leeds, you will need to have access to your money. The easiest way is to open a UK bank account.

Can I open a bank account?

If you can show that you will be in the UK as a student for one year, you should be able to open a student bank account.  If you will be in the UK for less than one year, you might not be able to open a student bank account, but you will be able to open an ordinary cash account at some banks. 

What do I need to open a bank account?

What you require to open a bank account will depend on which bank and which bank account you choose.  You may find the following information helpful as general guidance about what you may need to open a UK bank account:

  • Proof of your identity:
  • This could be your passport or EU national identity card
  • Proof of your status as a student (if you are opening a student account):
  • This could be your offer letter or a bank letter from the University
  • Proof of address:
  • Some banks will require proof of your UK address and/or your home/overseas residential address.  Different banks accept different documents as proof of address.
  • Minimum deposits and fees:
  • Some banks require a minimum deposit to open certain accounts and charge a monthly fee.  (Some bank accounts also require you to maintain a minimum balance in your account.)

Where can I get the bank letter from the University?

Student Services Centre Counter, Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building. You can ask for a bank letter when you are registering with the University. You need to decide which bank account you wish to open before you get your bank letter as Student Services will address your letter to the bank of your choice.

How do I decide which bank to choose?

There are three banks on campus: Santander (in the Students’ Union building) and HSBC and Barclays (opposite the Parkinson Building). There are other banks nearby in the city centre. The nearest Bank of China branch is in Manchester, but they run account opening sessions on campus in September and it is also possible for students coming from China to open an account with them before coming to Leeds.

There are some differences in the type of services and the opening requirements for different bank accounts. Some students open more than one bank account and use one for day-to-day expenses while keeping the majority of their money in a higher interest savings account. Make sure that you think about how you need to use your bank account before deciding to open an account. For example, do you need to make or receive international money transfers? Do you want to pay bills by direct debit? Have a look at our Banking Leaflet for some of the features of bank accounts offered by banks near to campus.

The International Student Office has contacts in all the above banks and can provide support if you have any difficulty opening an account. If you chose an alternative bank, we may not be able to offer the same level of support. Speak to a Welcome Assistant if you are arriving in September, or come to the International Student Office if you arrive after September.

How long does it take to open an account?

Some accounts can be opened quickly (less than 48 hours) – others may take longer, particularly during the busiest periods, such as September.  If you pay your University tuition fees in installments you will need your bank account to be open before you can complete your University registration. However, if your bank account takes time to open, this is not a problem. Once you have paid the first installment of your tuition fees you can receive a temporary registration card to use until your bank account is open and you can complete your University registration. A temporary registration card enables you to use the computer and library facilities.

Important information about bank accounts

  • Keep your bank statements. You will need these original statements if you have to extend your visa/leave to stay in the UK.  Most banks charge for duplicate statements and it may take them several weeks to produce the documents.
  • Only use a bank account for which you are a named holder.
  • You should not allow others to use your account to do their banking.
  • Keep your personal details and account details secret to prevent someone stealing your identity.
  • If you pay bills by direct debit you must have the money in your account the day before the direct debit is due to go out of your account. If not, you will be charged penalty fees by the bank and often also by the organisation that is expecting to receive the direct debit payment.
  • Do not go into debt on your account unless you have a pre-agreed overdraft facility with the bank.

Banks advertising Sharia-compliant services

It is possible to open bank accounts in the UK which are Sharia-compliant. For further information, please contact the banks directly or visit their website.

Where can I ask for help if I have questions or problems?

Please visit the International Student Office if you need further information and advice on opening a UK bank account.