When you arrive in the UK to study with us, you should open a UK bank account for managing your money. You are also able to open an app-based or online UK bank account before you arrive.
Bring some cash or travellers' cheques with you and your bank or credit card from home to start with. Check you can use them in the UK. There will be charges for using them in the UK until you can open a UK bank account.
Be careful not to overspend, especially during the excitement of your first week or two at Nottingham. Use our Welcome Kit for International Students to find out more about the support, advice and welfare services available.
Planning your budget
You need to prepare a budget to make sure that you have enough money before you arrive in the UK.
You need to be able to pay for your:
Your living costs depend on your lifestyle but if you need a student visa, you will have to show evidence that you have least £1,023 per month for living expenses, as well as your tuition fees.
Banking in the UK
- A range of banks operate in the UK and most offer student accounts
- Banks provide you with a debit card and online banking services, so you may not need to visit your bank in person very often
- There are also online banks operating via websites and apps, which some students choose as an alternative to traditional banking
- Cash machines (ATMs) can be found on our campuses, at banks, supermarkets, shopping centres and in many places in the city centre
- ATMs will accept cards from any UK bank and are usually free to use for cash withdrawals – if you are withdrawing from an overseas account or from a credit card, you may be charged for this
The most important thing is to keep your money safe. You should choose reputable and reliable banks to save your money. The second thing is to manage your money properly. To use my money correctly, I usually set a budget. Once I estimate my expected expenditure, it’s easy and clear for me to arrange what’s left.
Opening a bank account
You can open a UK bank account before you arrive with an app-based bank - payments from some app-based banks and finance companies are accepted by the university and many retailers in the UK.
There are many app-based banks and financial companies that you are able to use, please look out for options accredited by the Financial Conduct Authority and/or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme when choosing.
Here is some useful information that you will need in order to open a UK bank account.
- Account terms and fees vary by bank so it is important that you research your options – you can use advice websites like Save the Student or the Money Advice Service
- Banks will ask you to prove that you are a student in order to open a student account – depending on the bank's policy, this usually means that you must complete University registration first
- Student Services can produce an electronic letter for banks confirming your student details – to request this, make sure your details are up to date in your portal and then use our online form
- In some cases, a bank may allow you to open an account before you arrive in the UK – however, most banks will ask you to visit in person to provide proof of your student status and UK address
- If you need to self-isolate (quarantine) on arrival into the UK, you will not be able to visit a bank until you complete your quarantine period
- Once you have set up a bank account, you should inform the University of your bank details via the MyNottingham portal
- Keep your bank details secure – you will sometimes need to provide details like your account number when making or receiving payments
Request a letter for your bank
Looking after your money
The UK is generally safe but be careful. Don’t carry more cash than you need and keep your bank details secure. Don’t share them with strangers.
If your belongings are stolen, report it to the police – especially if this includes items at risk from identity fraud, such as your phone or laptop. It is a good idea to arrange insurance cover to protect your belongings.
See our cyber safety guidance for advice on online security and protecting your devices. Beware of suspicious phone calls, emails and social media messages. International students are sometimes targeted by scammers pretending to be border officials, embassy staff or police, demanding a large payment as a 'fine'. Find out about recognising and avoiding fraud.
Students' Union Advice can help if you are the victim of a crime and need support in reporting it or coping with it.
Our funding and financial support team provide information, advice and confidential support around all aspects of student funding.
Funding and financial support