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Best Bank in UK for International Students in 2023 | Updated List

UK Bank Accounts

“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it” British-American comedian Bob Hope had said about banks. Financial institutions like banks often get a bad rap because of their massive profit margins, mediocre customer service and most importantly, not trusting us with their pens (why can’t they trust us with their pens? We trust with our money for God’s sake!). Despite these petty shortcomings, banks are of immense importance, especially to international students. Either ways, these are some of the best UK Banks for international students which we have highlighted in this blog:

  •  HSBC Basic Account
  •  Barclays Student Additions Account (International)
  • Natwest International Student Account
  • Santander Basic Current Account
  • TSB Cash Account
  • Lloyds Classic Account
  •  Al Rayan Current Account

Before we read more about these banks and why they happen to be the most preferred by international students. Take a look at the other aspects of an UK bank.

How Do International Bank Accounts Work In The UK?

International Bank Accounts in the United Kingdom function in the following way: They are financial organisations that offer different types of financial accounts to customers who are not citizens of the country where the accounts are based. These institutions, also known as offshore banks, mainly offer banking and investing services to individuals, although some banks of this nature specialise in providing commercial or business accounts to eligible businesses. 

Why Should You Open A UK Bank Account?

As an international student, you will need a UK bank account to pay your bills, buy your books and to make cash withdrawals from ATMs. You might have heard that opening a international bank account in UK can be tricky but it’s not as hard as you think. In fact, it is easier when compared to managing your finances from your bank account at your home country which will eventually be quite expensive. Here are some of the reasons why you should open a UK bank account as an international student:

  1. Opening a UK bank account helps you save on additional currency conversion fees which would otherwise be charged if you choose to use your home country’s bank account each time you use your debit card or withdraw cash from the ATM.
  2. Employers in the UK prefer to recruit students with a UK bank account for part-time jobs for easy transfer of money.
  3. Accommodation providers also prefer tenants with a UK bank account for smooth rent payments.
  4. Setting up regular payments (Direct Debits and standing orders) will be difficult or impossible without a UK bank account. These are required to pay for mobile phone contracts, gym memberships, and monthly rent.
  5. In some countries, banks require you to give them handwritten letters in order to set up Direct Debits to overseas accounts. They’ll also charge you a fee for the transfer if you don’t own a British bank account.

How To Open A UK Bank Account? 

You can open a UK bank account even if you aren’t a UK citizen. There are no restrictions or rules that restrict you from creating a bank account in the UK.  To open an international student bank account, you will need the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • A qualified visa
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • A statement from your primary financial institution (past three months)
  • Address verification in the UK or abroad
  • A student ID or a letter of acceptance from your university

After completing the visa checkpoint at the University, you will receive a ‘bank letter’ issued by the Registry, not your academic department. 

How Long Will Opening An Account Take?

Opening an account at many banks can be a time-consuming process due to their stringent security measures, which may take up to four or five weeks. It is crucial to ensure you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses during this duration. Estimating the exact amount needed can be challenging as each student has unique requirements, but we recommend having £1,000 (in addition to tuition and accommodation fees) for a single student residing in University accommodation. 

What Is The Minimum Balance In A UK Bank Account? 

Minimum deposits are typically required for both individual and corporate accounts to begin accruing interest. It is important to maintain these minimum balances in order to continue earning interest. Some accounts may allow initial deposits below the required minimum, but interest will not be earned until the account balance meets or exceeds the minimum requirement. It is advisable to carefully review how interest is calculated and whether higher balances result in increased interest rates, particularly when utilising these accounts for retirement savings purposes.

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Best Bank in UK for International Students

How To Select The Best Banks In The UK for International Students

Some banks may enable you to open a bank account online, but others may require you to visit a branch. Students should check with their lenders to determine whether they have any ties to banks in the United Kingdom. Here are the top UK banks for international students –

1. HSBC Basic Account

Although not designed specifically for international students, an HSBC Basic Account can be opened by anyone with an EU address. This means you can even set it up while at home if you’re from Europe!  It makes opening a bank account for international students in the UK easy. Holders can send money to other HSBC accounts free of charge and also when sending money to non-HSBC accounts in euros. There is no overdraft with this bank account, so be sure to stick within your financial limits! You need to be over 16 years old in the EU and have no existing accounts with other UK to be eligible for an HSBC Basic Account. This is one of the top UK bank accounts for international students.

Know More: student loan UK

2. Barclays Student Additions Account (International)

Barclays Student Additions Account (International) is the best international student bank account UK for sending and receiving money from abroad. It also possibly has some of the best UK bank current account schemes. To be eligible for this bank account, you need to be over 18 years of age and studying a two-year undergraduate or one-year postgraduate course in the UK. The sending and receiving fees for this account are among the best on this list. The only drawback is that sending/receiving money outside of Europe or it’s over the £100 limit, there’s a charge per transaction of £6. To be fair, this is still pretty low!

3. Natwest International Student Account

The Natwest International Student Account is one of the few bank accounts in the UK that is exclusively available online. It is the second-best international student bank account in the UK .As the name suggests, this account is primarily open to international students in the UK. This bank account allows you to send money internationally free of cost. What’s more, you can choose 1 out of 3 offers. These are either a year of Amazon Prime student membership, a 4 year national express card for 1/3 off all coach travel or a 4 year free tastecard which gets you 50% off food in restaurants around the UK. All of these are incredible offers to get you through your university years! To be eligible for this bank account, you need to be 17 years of age or more and have lived in the UK for less than 3 years. The Natwest International Student Account is one of the top UK bank accounts for international students.

4. Santander Basic Current Account

This is yet another great UK student bank account for international students. It is open to UK and EU residents so, if you’re currently living in the EU, you could actually open this one before you even arrive. Sending and receiving money from abroad in Euros is free. However, sending and receiving any other type of currency incurs a £25 fee. To be eligible for a Santander Basic Current Account, you only need to be over 16 years old and live in the UK. This is on the list of best bank for students UK.

5. TSB Cash Account

If you are looking to open an account under the category of “bank account for international students in the UK”, the TSB Cash Account has a feature that lets you save money! It rounds up purchases to the nearest pound and puts the rest into savings. If you’re interested in saving money this could really help you out! Moreover, sending and receiving money in Euros is absolutely free! To create a TSB Cash Account, you need to be over 18 with no previous UK bank accounts. Do note that if you are receiving in other currencies, it will attract a fee. This is £2 to receive under £100 and £7 if you’re receiving over. This is undoubtedly one of the top UK bank accounts for international students.

Top UK Bank Accounts For International Students
Lloyds Classic Account

6. Lloyds Classic Account

If you are looking for an overdraft bank account for students in the UK, look no further than the Lloyds Classic Account. The overdraft facility is free to set up, but it does come with a daily fee if and when you use it. Like many top UK bank accounts for international students, it is free to send and receive money in Euros. To be eligible to operate this bank account, you need to be over 18, have a UK address and have the right place to stay in the UK for at least one year.

7. Al Rayan Current Account

Al Rayan Current Account is the best UK bank current account for international students in the UK for those looking for a Sharia-compliant current account. This account requires some financial investment. You must commit to paying your salary into this account (which as a student you probably don’t have yet) or make an initial deposit of £500. You must transfer at least £100 to gain access to Al Rayan’s international money transfer services. The great part about this bank account is that receiving money from abroad in euros is free and also receiving money from abroad in all other currencies is free. To be eligible for an Al Rayan Current Account you must be 16 or older. 


1.What is the best bank in the UK for international students?

Bank of America, HSBC USA, U.S. Bank and TD Bank are some of the best banks in the UK for international students.

2.Can international students get a student bank account in the UK?

When studying in the UK, most overseas students would only need to open a current account. A savings account is a place to save money over time. If as a student you are working or want to save money for other things or emergencies, some students may consider setting up one of these.

3.Which bank offers the best account for international students in the UK?

HSBC Basic Account 2021, Barclays Student Addictions Account (International) 2021, NatWest International Student Account, Santander Bank Student Account and TSB Cash Account offer some of the best accounts for international students in the UK.

4.Can I have two bank accounts as an international student in the UK?

No, as an international student, you will not be able to open more than two accounts in the UK. This is because they will require that your student loan be paid into your account.

5.Which are affordable banks in the UK for international students for transactions in the UK and international bank transfers?

RBS Bank, Santander Bank, TSB Bank, Barclays Bank and Metro Bank are some of the affordable banks in the UK for international students to make transactions.

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog on The Top UK Bank Accounts For International Students 2023. If you wish to read similar blogs, here are some links that you could check out –

If you’re someone who wants to share your valuable experiences through a blog, we’re more than happy to collaborate. Write to us at contact@unicreds.com to know more about our guest-post submission process. If you need any assistance with student accommodation or scholarships, head over to UniAcco and UniScholarz respectively. 

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UK Bank Accounts

Best Bank in UK for International Students in 2023 | Updated List

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