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Banking and your money

It is important that you make the appropriate preparations regarding banking and finances before your arrival in the UK.

Opening a bank account

Opening a bank account can take time and patience, as different banks have slightly different procedures and require for certain types of documentation.

Having a bank account is important because it:

  • allows you to keep your money in a safe and secure place – it is not a good idea to carry a lot of cash with you;
  • enables you to pay your tuition and accommodation fees;
  • assists you in the registration process – unless you have a banker’s draft for the full fee amount, you must open a bank account in order to register, and this process can take around two weeks;
  • provides relevant documentation if you need to extend your visa in the UK.

As international students are temporary residents in the UK, banking facilities are provided on a restricted basis. Due to tight security measures it can sometimes take a few weeks to open a bank account. In order to make this period less stressful for you, make sure you have enough money to cover your first two weeks in Manchester.

Try to avoid carrying cash; use travellers’ cheques or a credit card instead.

Before coming to the UK

It will help you when you arrive if you do the following in advance:

  • make an early payment of your tuition or accommodation fees by bank-to-bank transfer;
  • speak to your bank in your home country to see if they can advise you regarding opening a bank account in the UK - does the bank in your home country have any special relationship with a bank in the UK that could make it easier to open an account?
  • find out if you can use a cash card from your home country bank in UK ATM bank machines;
  • try to open an online account with a multinational bank in your home country before coming to the UK. If you are arriving from China, the Bank of China has a Student Prime account (PDF document, 1.2MB) that you can open before departing for the UK. This means you will be able to access and deposit money as soon as you arrive in the UK;
  • read the banking advice on our Student Support website for more information on opening a bank account in the UK.

Please note that you will need the following documents when you open a bank account in the UK:

  • your passport, to prove your identity;
  • your offer letter addressed to your overseas address (not a PO box number);
  • your University accommodation contract (if you will be living in University accommodation).

Don't worry if you don’t have these: if required, the University can issue a document confirming your details to your chosen bank.