It is highly advisable to have a bank account under your own name especially if you have claimed student funding or even for paying bills in general (e.g rent, utilities, etc.). Opening a bank account usually takes time and consideration.
What type of account?
Many students opt for a Student Bank Account from a high street bank although there are a number of internet bank accounts tailored to students. Students are often interested in getting a Student Bank Account because it comes with an overdraft and may have other rewards. A Student Bank Account is a 'current account'.
Many students choose to have a savings account as well as their current account so that they can allocate a monthly budget to their current account which covers all their costs. This helps to reduce the temptation to spend all your funding at once.
If you are not interested in having an overdraft or other financial products a Basic Bank Account may be all you need. The Money Advice Service has a really useful comparison table which can help you to decide which bank to open an account with. Please note overseas students probably won't be able to open accounts packaged as 'student accounts' and should look for basic accounts instead.
Many high street banks market student bank account packages to home students - they want to draw you in at the beginning of your studies in the hope that you will remain loyal to them when you graduate.
Some banks offer freebies, discounts, cash back and special terms on their overdrafts - always shop around for what suits your 'needs' and do not be drawn in by a flashy gimic. The Money Saving Expert does an annual review of what the banks have to offer, this might be a good place to start your search.
International and EU student
Proving your identity
Documents you need to open a bank account
Since 1994, when the government introduced the Money Laundering Regulations, financial services firms have been required to have procedures in place to prevent money laundering.
The British Banking Association (BBA) have produced a guide which explains the law surrounding proof of identity and details what you are reasonably expected to show in order to open an account in the UK.
In order for you to open a UK student bank account there are certain documents that are usually asked for:
1. Proof of Identity - Passport, birth certificate, etc.
2. Proof of current UK address - Utility bill, council tax, etc.
3. Confirmation of study letter - can be obtained from the Student Services desk in the libraries, or downloaded online from Student Records.
For other specifications, please refer to the individual website of each bank you are opening an account with.
Complaints and Disputes
Financial customers have certain rights relating to financial products and how the bank deals with their personal information - these are outlined in the British Banking Code.
If you have made a complaint to your bank, insurance company or finance firm and you are not satisfied with their response you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.
How to open a bank account?
Go to blackbullion.com (code: MONEYSMARTER) and start their FREE "Starting University" online course and watch their useful video on "How to open a bank account".