Update your addresses in LSE for You as soon as possible
Some banks require documentation from LSE confirming your registration status (check in the Local bank branch requirements tab to confirm what you will need) The bank will reject this documentation if it does not include your up-to-date contact and home addresses. Update your address in LSE for You as soon as you have an address in London. Be careful to list the address you live during term-time (usually in London) as your Contact Address and your address at home (or international address) as the Permanent Address, or the bank will reject your documentation. Also, keep in mind that banks require that your room number be included if you are living in halls of residence.
Research the best bank account for you
It is highly recommended that you select a bank before you arrive in London to save time. Although LSE is unable to recommend a bank, we have included a list of local bank branches and their websites in the next tab to help you get started.
Check in advance to see if your bank at home has a branch near LSE, or if they have a special relationship with a bank in London. If you plan to transfer money into your new account, remember that transferring funds will depend on your home bank's procedures. This can take more time than you expect. Discuss this with your home bank before you leave and remember to bring sufficient funds, such as cash, travellers' cheques or credit cards to cover any delays. Always avoid travelling with large amounts of cash.
You may want to consider how easy it is to open an account when making a decision about which bank is right for you. For example, consider whether the bank will allow you to pre-book an appointment, and/or look for a bank that will accept your LSE offer letter as proof that you are a student when opening an account.
Know what documents you need to open an account
This is the most important step! Each bank branch requires different documentation to open accounts, and branches are very specific about the format of the documentation they will accept. The information provided in the Local bank branch requirements tab lists the names, addresses, and requirements of the major bank branches nearest LSE. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and does not constitute a recommendation, as the School is not permitted to advise on the best bank and/or account for your needs. Keep in mind that bank requirements change very frequently, so always confirm what you will need directly with the bank branch where you plan to open your account.
If you are an unconditional offer holder, please note that LSE may be able to provide you with a letter of introduction for UK banking facilities before you are a registered student. (The exception to this is PhD students, who are only able to request a letter after registration.) These letters are available from September for those who are eligible. However, not every bank will accept this letter before you register, so check with your bank of choice first to ensure you have what you need. See below, and the Local bank branch requirements tab to find out if you need this letter and how to request it.
Make an appointment
You may be required to book an appointment in advance to open a bank account at your chosen branch. Please note that this may also be time consuming because many students will also be setting up accounts at the same time and appointments near LSE fill up quickly. Some banks may allow you to book an appointment before you arrive in London, which can save you a great deal of time. If you book an appointment in advance, you may want to book your appointment at least a day or two after your registration date, or you may not have access to all the necessary documents to open an account. Also, be sure that your bank appointment does not clash with mandatory Orientation events, lectures or seminars/classes. Always give yourself enough time to obtain the documentation you will need.
TOP TIP: You may find that it is easier to book an appointment at a bank branch further away from LSE or halls of residence. Once your account is set up, you can usually do business with any branch of your bank.
Additional tips for international students
International students may also find the information on the Monetos and/or UKCISA's tips for opening a bank account in the UK websites to be useful.
Ask your bank to send you printed monthly bank statements as these can be helpful if you need to make an application to extend your student visa. The UKBA will not accept electronic bank statements.
Some banks may charge international students an initial or monthly fee. The additional services provided will vary between each bank. Some banks will also offer a free, but more basic account.
If you are expecting to receive money from overseas, you should ask what charges may apply and how long it will take to make the money available in your account.
If you will be cashing cheques issued in other countries into your UK account (for example, US Loan Cheques), then be sure to check that this will not trigger your bank's anti-fraud procedures, which can result in your account being frozen for extended periods during an investigation.
if you plan on using a credit or bank card from your home country while you are in the UK, check before you leave home that your card is compatible with UK bank machines, or if there will be any additional charges.
Overseas students must typically be on a programme of study which runs a minimum of six months duration in order to qualify for an account.