British Banks

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The UK's bank activity has had considerable changes during the last decade both in the service delivery and product range. Initially many UK banks were based on the high street where the customers wanted to do a money lending or request direction about products and services.

Now, the UK banking industry is very distinct and acquire some advice about financial products and services. Many banks provide similar quality services and all the main banks provide online banking as a standard to make life easier for clients. Constantly, you should compare rates for the best deal or ask for people´s suggestions about banks.

All the banks open their doors from Monday to Friday from 9:00-9:30 until 15:30 or 16:00 (some of them remain open until 17:30). Many bank operations stay open late once per week (until 17:30 or 18:00) as well as being open on Saturdays (9:00-9:30 until 12:30 or 15:30). The banks in England and Wales stay open over lunch, but many Scotland and Northern Ireland banks close for one-hour at lunch time.

Opening an account

Perhaps, you´ve listened that it's not as easy as one might think to open a bank account in the UK. That is true; if you think in the bank as an organization that keeps your money and administers your money for you offering earnings, you will be a step ahead in comprehending the system, and less bewildered after your UK bank experiences.

Britain demands that you have a bank account for your daily operations; you will probably need one in order to perceive your salary. You will also presumably need to open a bank account in order to rent or buy accommodation, pay for gas and electricity, obtaining a phone line, and many other necessities.

It might be difficult, for a foreigner obtaining a bank account in the United Kingdom. Additionally, even when you obtain an account you may find it complicated to obtain a debit or credit card directly and you have to abide a few months until you have reinforced your account history. If you do not already have a credit history in the UK, banks are often careful when opening accounts. If you have an employment, you will probably see this easier than if you are a student. In whatever case, you will need to demonstrate that you are resident and confirm your address; therefore you will need to show utility bills (gas, telephone, electricity, etc) or a rental contract. If you have an employment, you should request your employer for a letter of recommendation for the bank. Besides, you may find it very useful if you can obtain a letter of recommendation from your current bank (English-written) which states how long you have worked an account with them, your current balance and the average balance during the previous year.

What must you consider before opening a bank account in the UK?

  • Do they offer any incentives to open an account? Do many banks give away free gifts to their new customers?
  • Do they offer an interest free overdraft?
  • Check if the incentives are provided to international students.
  • Would you be able to obtain a cash cash/cheque book/cheque guarantee card?
  • Do they have a special Student Business Officer?
  • How close is the agency to the university/your accommodation?
  • Do they provide Telephone/Internet Banking?
What do you require to open a bank account in the UK?

Note: Most banks demand a proof of accommodation for the International students before opening a bank account.

  • Certification or proof of accommodation/residence in the UK, for example copy of your lease for university accommodation or private accommodation.
  • Passport and Visa.
  • An amount of cash. Usually, at least £25 is required as your first deposit to open an account.
  • Proof that you are a full time student at least for one year, for example: Your Student Matriculation Card.
Note that if you do not have proof of accommodation in the UK the bank is very improbable to accept your application for a bank account.

More Info: Financial institutions and banks

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