Questions about Banks?

How to choose a bank?

The four major ('High Street') banks in Britain are: Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and National Westminster. All of these banks have branches within five minutes walk of the main campus. Santander have a branch inside the Students Union.

Can I open a bank account before I have formally registered with the University?

No, all banks require that you are a fully registered student with the University.

I am an International Student - how do I open a bank account?

International Students do not always find it straight forward to open a bank account in the UK as different banks have different policies and apply different conditions. You will need to collect a Certificate of Student Status (Bank Letter) from SSiD.

I am an International Student - Do I need to show my BRP (Biometric residence permit) to open a bank account?

You will need to have collected your BRP in order to register with the University and you will not be able to obtain a bank letter (see below) until you have registered. Once you have obtained your bank letter this should be sufficient, in conjunction with your passport/visa or national ID card.

What type of bank account should I chose?

You should open a current account as soon as possible after arrival in Sheffield. A current account enables immediate cash withdrawals.

What documents do I need to open a student bank account?

All banks require proof of identification, which is usually in the form of a passport or national ID card with visa if you are required to have one. They will also need to see proof that you are a registered student, evidence of your home address and the address you will be living at when you are in Sheffield. This information is included in a bank letter which you can ask for at SSiD, Level 3 Students’ Union, once you are registered.

What should I consider when opening a bank account?

Practical consideration when opening a bank account include:

  • Can you reach the bank easily at lunch times or between lectures?
  • Will the bank let you open a current account – preferably a student account?

As an international student, am I likely to be refused a UK bank account?

All banks locally have given assurances that they do not reject students because of their nationality, but may do on grounds of residency.

Why do some banks insist that the bank letter states that the University has assisted the student in finding accommodation?

This is one way of ensuring that it is a valid address. Another way of doing this is to ask you to show a utility bill (such as gas or electricity) which has your name and address on it. However, most banks will accept the bank letter as evidence that you are living at a valid address.

Does my name need to be exactly the same on my bank letter as on my passport?

Yes, this is a requirement under UK law.

Which bank would you recommend?

The University cannot recommend a particular bank, as this would be unfair to other institutions.

I am studying at the English Language Teaching Centre for a few weeks over the summer – can I still open a bank account?

Different banks have different policies on this. If you are in this situation, it should be one of the first questions you ask the bank.

I am an Erasmus/Study Abroad student only here for a single semester/one year. Can I open a bank account?

Most banks will allow you to apply for an account if you are here for a minimum of a year but they have different policies regarding students who are here for only a single semester. Again, make sure that this is one of the first questions you ask the bank staff.

Do all banks charge opening fees and monthly maintenance fees?

Many banks offer free account opening and monthly banking. However, most make charges for particular one-off services so make sure you read their information carefully. Similarly, banks that do charge a monthly fee may be offering an enhanced service in return.

Can I open an account on the same day that I apply?

Some banks will let you open an account straight away but with others it might take up to a week. Ask any banks you are interested in opening an account with how long it will take before you will be able to use your account facilities.

Can I open an account online?

Some banks will allow you to fill in the application forms online and then you will just need to visit the branch to show your ID. Check details for individual banks online.

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