Opening a bank account
As a new international student, you'll probably want to open a bank account once you arrive ar DMU. You will probably need to transfer money from your home country and this is much easier if you have a UK bank account. You will also find it more convenient when paying your tuition fees.
Please note that you will usually need to have registered onto your course before a bank will allow you to open an account.
Money for your first few weeks
It may take a few weeks to open your bank account and so it's important that you bring sufficient funds with you when you first arrive at DMU. We suggest having access to at least £1,000 when you first arrive.
What kind of bank account can I open?
As an international student you should be able to open a basic bank account, which usually offers internet banking and a combined cashpoint (ATM) and Debit card. Some bank accounts are free to operate, whilst others carry a monthly charge – though you may find that the accounts that appear to be free may charge for other services! We recommend that you shop around online to see which account is right for you.
Some banks have moved more of their application processes online - so if you need to self-isolate you should still be able start the process of opening your bank account, without having to visit the branch (at least initially). Natwest, Santander, Barclays and Lloyds all offer accounts which allow you to at least start your application online; other banks that usually offer accounts for international students include TSB and HSBC. We suggest checking banks' websites for up-to-date information.
What do I need to open a bank account?
Banks have a duty under UK law to prevent accounts being opened under false identities. For this reason, the banks will ask anyone who wants to open an account to provide documents to prove their identity. If you're opening an account online you may need to upload the necessary documents as part of your application.
The documents that you will be asked to provide will depend on the bank you are using. Generally you are likely to be asked for the following:
- Proof of identity – usually this will be your passport with your student visa, or if you are an EU student, an EU/EEA identification card
- Proof of address – usually this will be a DMU bank letter. Please note that you will only be able to access this letter once you have registered onto your course. You can print this letter yourself using the My Documents tile on the MyDMU web portal and app
Other possibilities for managing your money might include app-based online banks such as Monzo or Revolut.
The university does not recommend any particular account or bank. Please make sure the account or app that you use is suitable for your needs and that you're aware of any payments or charges that might apply.
Additional advice and guidance
Guidance for international students is available from the British Bankers Association as well as advice from the UK Council for International Student Affairs.
The Student Finance and Welfare team also offer advice and guidance on budgeting and managing your money.
How much money will I need?
Getting used to a new currency and the cost of living in a new country can seem complicated at first, but it is important that you work out your income and a budget for your expenditure before you come to the UK.
If you are coming to the UK on a Student Visa, as part of your visa application you will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds in place to pay both your course fees and your living costs. The Home Office call this Financial Requirements.
The British Council suggest the cost of living in the UK at a minimum of £800 per month - although the exact amount will of course vary depending on your own lifestyle. This estimate does not include travel to and from your home country, or your fees.
We suggest using the Which? Student Budget Calculator to get an idea of how much you might spend each month at DMU. As not all students have the same lifestyles, these are approximate guidelines only - and you can adjust the different categories in the Budget Calculator if you think you are likely to spend less (or more) on the different types of expenditure (transport, food shopping and so on).
How much money should I bring when I first arrive?
You will usually need to have registered on your course before you can open a bank account and it might take a few weeks before this is ready. So it's important to bring enough money with you for the your first few weeks in the UK.
The amount of money you will need to bring may depend on whether or not you have already paid for your accommodation. If you've already paid for your accommodation, we recommend having access to at least £1,000, to cover food and other initial expenses. If you have not yet paid for your accommodation, then you may need to have access to more money when you arrive.
Important: We don't recommend bringing large amounts of cash with you. Instead, we recommend that you bring money in a secure form, such as a pre-paid credit card. Alternatively, try to open an account with a multi-national bank in your home country before you leave the UK, and check with the bank that you will be able to use ATMs (cashpoints) in the UK. It's also a good idea to check how much money you will be charged each time you use the card.
Help and advice about money
Once at DMU, you may find that you have to organise your money carefully and you might want further guidance on financial issues. Student Finance and Welfare can advise students on money management, budgeting and on fee payment issues.