How to Set Up a Bank Account in the UK

How to Set Up a Bank Account in the UK

If you’ve made the decision to study in the study in the UK you’re in great company because over 500,000 international students study here every year. I’ve chatted extensively with overseas students about their experiences of setting up their new life when they first arrive, and one difficulty that crops up in conversation a lot is how to set up a bank account in the UK. Read on to find out why this is and how to avoid having the same problem yourself.

Most of the big UK banks offer accounts for students and international students. However, the UK has extremely tight regulations around setting up a new bank account. The main part that newly arrived students struggle with is providing the required proof of address documents. There’s a set list of acceptable documents including things like a utility bill (gas/electricity etc.) or a council tax bill. It can be extremely difficult for a student who’s newly arrived as they may be renting a room in a house, or staying with family or friends, but have no bills or documents in their name at that address. Also, it’s worth knowing that banks don’t usually accept mobile phone bills as proof of address. Many said they felt like they were going around in circles as it’s hard to set up bills without a UK bank account, and starting on the job hunt becomes difficult because most employers want to pay into a UK account. Click here to see the sort of documents you’ll need to provide to open student accounts with Natwest and Barclays.

What if I Don’t Have the Required Documents?

What can you do if you don’t have the required documents to set up an account with a traditional UK bank? Don’t despair! Here come app-based banks to the rescue. These banks operate completely online and you manage your account on an app on your smartphone. Some popular ones in the UK are Monzo, Starling and N26. I have personally used Monzo, so I’ll explain more about the set-up process. Opening the account is done in minutes on their website and your identity is verified with your date of birth rather than proof of address. You take a picture of your ID (passport, driver’s license etc.) and a short video of yourself so you can be matched to your ID. Once you’ve been approved, you can start using your account straight away on the app.

You can use Apple Pay or Google Pay on your phone to pay for things using contactless. If you want a physical card for your account, simply get it sent to a UK address of your choice and it will arrive in a few working days. Additionally, Monzo has some great features like real-time spending notifications, spending alerts and savings ‘pots’. They’ve also teamed up with TransferWise to provide international money transfers from within the Monzo app, which makes it quick and easy if you need to move money over from your account at home.

So if you find yourself pulling out your hair with the question of how to set up a bank account in the UK, it’s definitely worth considering going app-based. Happy banking!

Study in California

Study in California

California attracts people from all over the world, which makes California a very easy place for international students to feel at home.  In this article we look at some of the most common reasons why you might choose to study in California.

California is home to four of the world’s top 20 universities: Stanford, California Institute of California Institute of Technology, Berkeley and UCLA. In addition, California has dozens of other excellent universities, large and small. Whatever study abroad experience you are looking for, there is a school in California to fit your need.

Key Facts about Study in California

California is in the United States, so see our Studying in the U.S page for general U.S. facts.

But what makes California different from other U.S. destinations?

  • Californians are a very diverse people who come from all over the world, particularly Asia and Latin America. In big cities like Los Angeles, more than half of the people speak a language other than English at home.
  • As home to Silicon Valley and Hollywood, California is the world leader in technology and filmmaking. California universities are on the leading edge of business, technology, and the visual arts.
  • It’s worth mentioning the California sunshine. It’s never too hot, too cold, or too humid, which allows international students to go outside and really experience America all year round.

The downside of studying in California is that it is generally more expensive than other places in the United States. The cost of living in San Francisco or Los Angeles is comparable to other major world cities like London, Tokyo, or New York. If you are concerned about cost, find the location of your desired university and look for nearby apartments using a web tool like Trulia that shows you photos and prices of apartments and their exact locations in the city.

College Life in California

Everything that attracts international students to study in California is also attractive to Americans from the other 49 states. California universities, large and small, have many students who are not from the local area. They live in local apartments or dormitories with other students. This is nice for international students, as student social groups are more open and it is easy to make friends.

California universities are also very welcoming to international students. They all have centers to offer support to international students with finding housing, academic support, and any difficulties students may have. At some universities like the University of Southern California, more than one out of every four students is international.

California – North and South

If you have decided that you want to study in California, you should know the difference between north and south.

Southern California is where you find the iconic Southern California beach and movie culture. Universities like Pepperdine, UC Santa UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego are all just minutes away from fun and beautiful beaches. UCLA and USC are deeply connected to the movie industry, and have buildings named after George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Arnold Schwarzenegger is even part of the faculty at USC!