How to open a UK bank account

You may find it useful to open a UK bank account as it can be easier to manage your finances and it could save you money.

Choosing a bank

The main banks in the UK are HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Bank, Santander, Nationwide, NatWest, TSB, Halifax and RBS. Each will offer different interest rates and services so it’s important to do your research.

Things to consider:

  • Does your current bank operate in the UK? If so it could be easier to open an account and stay with the same bank
  • Is there a branch on-campus or near to the university? You don't want to choose a bank that's miles away from your university. Having a branch of your bank on-campus is very convenient if you need to speak to a member of staff or you are making regular transactions.
  • Cost of international transfers . Will your bank charge you to send and receive money from home?

Before you start

Please contact your bank of choice first as you may need to make an appointment in advance. 

If you do decide to open a UK bank account we recommend bringing enough funds in UK currency traveller's cheques to cover your expenses for the first few weeks, in case of delays in opening your new  account.

If you are studying at Canterbury

There are branches of the main national banks in Canterbury city centre (Barclays, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, RBS, Santander and TSB). 

In order to open a bank account (except in the case of Santander, see below) you will need the following documentation:

  • Passport (and visa if required) or EU identity card
  • Original letter of acceptance to the University
  • Evidence of programme of study and length of programme
  • Your room agreement which has been officially stamped upon your arrival*
  • Status Letter (generated by the University; see below).

*NatWest bank accounts

  • Room agreements that have been officially stamped are only required if you are opening a bank account with NatWest
  • You do NOT need to provide a Status Letter if you provide your stamped room agreement and the other documentation listed above.

Santander bank accounts

In the case of Santander they offer accounts for both UK and International students. In order to open an account all you need to bring to the branch is:

UK students (except those from Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man):

  • a valid UK passport or UK photo card driving licence
  • proof of home address and student status. For the majority of students a UCAS AS12 letter will be sufficient to confirm your address and student status. Alternatively, Santander will accept a University Status Letter or valid Student ID Card with proof of address (i.e. bank statement)
  • for any students who do not have a physical copy of the UCAS AS12 letter in the Santander campus branch, they will be able to use a computer in the branch to print a copy from the UCAS website.

International students:

  • a valid EU Identity Card or Passport (Showing applicable Visa Page/Stamp or Biometric Residence Permit)
  • a valid Student ID card or a university Status Letter (Students aged under 18 can only use a University Status Letter).

Status Letter

Once you are fully registered and have your KentOne card (student ID), the University will produce a Status Letter for you to take to the bank when you open your account. In order to request your Status Letter, you should send an email to statusletters@kent.ac.uk with the following information:

  • your 8 digit student ID number
  • your FULL legal name
  • your date of birth
  • your University of Kent email address
  • your current term time address (please check this is correct on the Student Data System before requesting your Status letter)
  • your programme of study
  • the name of the bank where you want to open the account.

Status letters will be issued electronically and sent to your email address. If a hardcopy is required, please specify this in your request.

If you are studying at Medway

There are branches of the main national banks in Chatham and Gillingham (Barclays, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, RBS, and Santander).

In order to open a bank account you will need the following documentation:

  • passport or EU identity card
  • original letter of acceptance to the University
  • evidence of programme of study and length of programme
  • your room agreement which has been officially stamped upon your arrival*
  • Status Letter (generated by the University; see below).

*NatWest bank accounts

  • Room agreements that have been officially stamped are only required if you are opening a bank account with NatWest
  • You do NOT need to provide a Status Letter if you provide your stamped room agreement and the other documentation listed above.

Santander bank accounts

In the case of Santander they offer accounts for both UK and International students. In order to open an account all you need to bring to the branch is:

UK students (except those from Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man):

  • a valid UK passport or UK photo card driving licence
  • proof of home address and student status. For the majority of students a UCAS AS12 letter will be sufficient to confirm your address and student status. Alternatively, Santander will accept a University Status Letter or valid Student ID Card with proof of address (i.e. bank statement).

International students:

  • a valid EU Identity Card or Passport (Showing applicable Visa Page/Stamp or Biometric Residence Permit)
  • a valid Student ID card or a university Status Letter (Students aged under 18 can only use a University Status Letter).

Status Letter

Please complete the online form to request a Status Letter. 

Last updated