Banks in the UK are subject to Government regulations, you cannot simply walk into a bank and open an account. There are requirements that must be fulfilled. You cannot start to open an account until you are in London. UK students are attractive customers and most UK Banks offer competitive deals. Students should compare them for the best deals on gifts, benefits, facilities, overdrafts and rates of interest.
Opening a UK bank account
You cannot start to do anything about opening an account until you have arrived in London and have all the required documents. Because banks have to make a variety of checks on your identity, address, credit record, and then print/produce card and/or cheque book, it may take 3 weeks or more to open an account after you have presented all the required documents.
For further information please visit the following webpage Setting up a bank account in the UK
There is a branch of Citibank close to LSE which has a special arrangement with LSE. In the USA, Citibank is a normal 'high street' bank, but in the UK it is what Americans call a 'private bank'. It offers restricted facilities to LSE students but with dual currency account to enable easy transfers of currencies and a 'spot' exchange rate in 'real time'. Citibank will open an account in about a week and for American students, Citibank will also 'specially' clear the first US student loan cheque in a few days to help you get started. Other nationalities needing a dual currency account may also be interested. You cannot simply go to Citibank, you need a letter of introduction from the Fees Office.
UK banking and Citibank
Non UK students are generally not profitable to banks, being usually only in the UK for a limited period, and may be a 'high risk' for debt on return to their home countries. Consequently you may be offered limited facilities, and should look around and compare the charges and benefits the banks will offer you.
You cannot start the process until you are actually in London with proof that you are living at that London address which is not a hotel. You also have to be a registered student and carrying your LSE student card and carrying your passport. The process takes about 10 days including checks on individuals and on addresses for the detection of fraud and to prevent the movement of money for illegal activities including terrorism. LSE will not tell you which bank to use.
Because Citibank is familiar to most American students, LSE has grown a special relationship with one local branch of Citibank. In the USA, Citibank is a normal 'high street' bank, but in the UK it is what Americans would call a 'private bank' dealing exclusively with high earning clients (and certainly not students!). You cannot walk into Citibank to open an account, you need a Letter of Introduction only available from the Fees Staff . They can open an account within a few days and offer dual currency accounts, sterling and dollars, with the ability to convert $ and £ in 'real time' which can be very useful if you have commitments, or expect to receive funds, in $US.
Your options are:-
Open and use an account with any UK bank
You need to download a certificate from LSE for YOU after you have your London address fixed and entered on the student record system. When the account is open you can bank the cheque, 3 days later you can start to use the money.
Open and Use a Citibank Account in UK
The Fees Office staff can provide you with an introductory letter as soon as you have your London address fixed and entered on the student record system. When the account is open you can bank the cheque. You will have no access to your funds until it 'clears' which is three full days after banking. A Citibank account costs about £8 per month. More details will be available at the Fees counter in Students Service Centre during registration
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