Banks and banking

Information about banking and how to open a bank account when you arrive in the UK.


Bank accounts

Your salary will be paid monthly in arrears on the last working day of the month so you will need to open a UK bank account for it to be paid into. 

Some international banks may have the facility to set up a UK bank account before you leave for the UK, for example, linked to your account in your home country or an international account.  Requirements can vary from country to country so please check with your bank to see if this is possible.

Opening a bank account

There are a variety of different banks available in the UK.  Consider whether you need a traditional bank or whether a digital bank is suitable for your needs.  

To open a bank account you will likely need to show the following documents at the bank to confirm your identity and address:

  • photo ID (passport/national ID card and visa/biometric residence permit if applicable)
  • evidence of your UK address (tenancy agreement, or most recent council tax bill or utility bill showing your name and address)
  • proof of employment (contract).  If you require an additional letter for proof of employment please contact your Faculty HR team
  • evidence of your address overseas 

Your chosen bank will let you know which documents you need to provide to them to open your account.  

Types of UK bank accounts/credit cards

Current account

Current accounts are usually used for managing your day-to-day money.  You can receive regular payments into your account and can set up payments to come out of your account.  This type of account usually offers a debit or cash card and overdraft, direct debit and standing order facilities.  Some of these accounts charge a fee, for which you get benefits in return, like cash back on your spending.

Basic banking account

This is a type of current account that only offers the basics.  It can be used to receive money and pay bills, but doesn't offer an overdraft facility.  

Savings account

There are different types of savings accounts, including regular savings accounts, ISAs (where interest earned is protected from tax).

Credit cards

You will need to apply for a credit card separately.  Credit limits vary depending on your income.  If your salary is paid into your bank account each month you may be able to set up a credit card account in as little as 2-3 weeks. However, some banks will require you to have a credit history for at least 3 months.  You can start a credit history in the UK by taking out a mobile phone contract rather than pay-as-you-go mobile phone, since the mobile phone operator will register your contract with the three main credit reference agencies in the UK.

The MoneyHelper website provides lots of independent advice about banking, borrowing and managing your money.

A remarkable place to work

We're one of the UK's best not-for-profit places to work, according to the Sunday Times' ranking of Britain’s happiest and most motivated workforces.

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.