Top 10 Budgeting Tips for International Students

Top 10 Budgeting Tips for International Students

If you’re planning on studying overseas, then it’s worth taking the time to understand the impact of currency costs

Most students are on a tight budget; for international students, there are the added complications of currency conversions and unfamiliar surroundings. Here are some top tips for keeping on top of your money when you’re studying overseas.

1. Make a budget

Calculate all your known costs, such as tuition fees and rent, and research online what you can expect to pay for groceries or utilities.

2. Book your travel as early as possible

You can often get better deals if you’re booking flights and rail travel in advance. Find out your term dates as early as possible to give yourself time to get the best deals.

3. Get a local bank account

Avoid transaction fees at ATMs and when paying by card by opening a local bank account and depositing currency for your living costs.

4. Get a local SIM card

Make sure you don’t get stung with high mobile costs by getting a local SIM card once you arrive to avoid getting a nasty surprise on your next bill.

5. Use online chat services

If you want to catch up with family or friends, use online chat services like Skype or WhatsApp which allow you to talk as much as you want where you have an internet connection.

6. Become a tourist

You’re likely to find a lot to see in your new home, and walking around a city can give you a great perspective and insight into its heritage – and best of all, it’s completely free.

7. Shop around

You may have to speak to some local students to find out where to get the best deals, which may not be at a major supermarket. Some of the best bargains may come from smaller markets selling local produce and delicacies.

8. Pick your luxuries

You can’t do everything on a student budget but you don’t have to miss out on what really matters to you. If your true passion is the theatre, for example, make sure you allow for that in your budget and perhaps cut down in other areas, such as socialising in bars, to afford it.

9. Get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC)

From just AUD30, an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) will give you access to discounts and sometimes even free entry to museums, galleries and attractions all over the world.

10. Work with a foreign exchange specialist

A currency specialist can provide guidance on how you can manage your currency transactions and give you access to a secure online platform so you can keep track of your money and payments.

Thanks to our partners at MoneyCorp for providing this article.

What to consider when making an international payment

What to consider when making an international payment

For many, studying overseas requires a number of international payments throughout the period of study. Whether sending money for tuition, accommodation, living costs or for any other reason, knowing what to consider and be aware of when making an international payment can make a huge difference in value.

This is also true for any friends or family you have that are looking to transfer money for your study abroad, and can help them to get more for their money when making their payment.


Some high-street banks incur large transfer fees for sending money abroad

You may need to send money abroad to your country of study before you arrive. While you might be more familiar doing this from your local bank in your home country, it is very rarely the cheapest way to send money abroad. 

Most high-street banks incur large transfer fees on international payments, which, if you need to make payments on multiple occasions, can end up adding on a huge cost simply for sending money overseas.


A difference in exchange rates can be more significant the more money you send

High-street banks have also developed a reputation for offering poor exchange rates when making an international payment. While the rate may appear only slightly lower than those offered by other foreign exchange providers, this difference in value will become more significant the more money you’re sending, increasing the amount you could lose out on.

That’s why it pays to secure a competitive exchange rate, something that moneycorp, as FX specialists, are able to provide. In addition, moneycorp allow you to lock in a prevailing exchange rate for up to two years of payments. This may require a deposit but ensures you receive the same rate throughout this period, unmoved by any upturns or downturns in the market.


What are your exchange needs and how often you will need to make international payments?

Throughout your studies, there will no doubt be a number of occasions you need to send funds from your home bank account to your foreign account. In addition, any financial support from family will require cross-border payments, which adds to the importance of identifying a quick, easy and cost-effective method to fund your overseas study.

A moneycorp account allows for you to set up regular automated payments to and from recipients around the world, for however much and however often you like. A Regular Payment Plan incurs a fee, but allows you to automate your international payment needs, leaving you free to get on with your studies. 


Get more for your money when you study abroad with an international payments account from moneycorp. Open your free account today or speak to a specialist.

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!