Banking in U.K. for Student

Aug 29th, 2007, 05:37 PM
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Banking in U.K. for Student

Well my daughter is just about ready to head off to school in Lancaster for a year. I have a question about banking. Could someone recommend the best way to do banking in the U.K.? For instance, I would advise any student coming to Canada to sign up with President's Choice Banking. It is an internet bank with no fees but because it is associated with one of our major banks, there are bank machines on almost every corner to withdraw cash without any fees. Does anyone have a recommendation?

I was thinking that we would get her an international money order to deposit in an account in the U.K. Any idea if this is the best approach?
dana48 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 09:43 PM
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There's not a lot of difference between standard current accounts at banks here really. She just needs to look for a student account that gives her a good 'freebie' or deal to go with it. Some offer pretty pathetic stuff but others are useful - there is one that gives you a free student rail card when you open your account.

Few current accounts charge any fees and all of our cash machines (apart from small private ones you find inside shops and bars) are free to use and part of a large network, so you can use any bank's machines free. You'll find them absolutely everywhere, at supermarkets and petrol stations as well as outside banks.
nona1 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 10:20 PM
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To open an account in the UK she'll need proof of ID (eg passport) and proof of address in the UK (eg lease agreement).

She should find that there are on-campus banks at Lancaster who will be able to open an account for her.

I'd contact the university to confirm this can be done and to find the best way of getting initial funds into that account from Canada as it's probably something they've done before

As for getting money to her during the year - have you considered opening an account in Canada which has low foreign currency fees and give her the ATM card to use in the UK - it gives a quick means to top up her funds (and monitor her usage)

alanRow is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 11:28 PM
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Opening a bank account isn't straightforward for overseas students.

Anti-money laundering rules mean an applicant needs to show ID (easy) and verifiable proof of UK address (close to impossible for a foreign student on their first day).

This makes remote setting up of an internet account tricky, if not impossible. The likelihood is that Lancaster will (though I'd have thought they'd have done so already) explain the options (and banks) available. The alternative is to explore whether your or your daughter's bank has a UK operation with which you can open an account.

Getting £50 from her Canadian account through an ATM to open the account is painless. I'd imagine the fees for an international money order would be crippling: my bank charges about £10 to wire transfer substantial amounts to major countries. Once your daughter's emailed you her account details, wiring large amounts of cash to her is unlikely to cost you much.

Other posters may have other ways of moving largeish amounts around the world. But start off by asking your bank for their money transfer fees.
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 12:29 AM
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Read the comprehensive (190 pages) British Council guide to studying and living in UK (2007-8) at Banking matters on pages 78ff.
Most UK banks will open an account for overseas students provided they take with them:
a) Passport
b) Letter of enrolment from uni/college
c) Letter of acceptance for a room in hall of residence or letting (rental)agreement from a landlord
d) Preferably a letter of introduction from existing account-holding bank abroad.
If your daughter encounters any difficulty, she should go to the International Student Office (every uni/college has one).
Alec is online now  
Aug 30th, 2007, 03:25 AM
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I'm surprised your daughter's university hasn't already advised on this. From what I recall of the days when I collected that sort of information for just this sort of situation, it might help to ask the bank she's already with if they have an arrangement with one in the UK.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 03:29 AM
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Hi d,

Will DD have to write large checks, or will she just need walking around money?

If the latter, open a Canadian account, give her a CC and an ATM card. UK banks don't charge for using their ATMs.

ira is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 03:37 AM
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I agree with Ira. My daughter studied in London three years ago and did not open a UK account. One of the local banks here is free for students and does not charge even for ATM withdrawals over there. Will she have an income over there? When my daughter was in Paris the year before she did have to open a French bank account but that was because she needed to deposit money, in London she was a student/unpaid internship so had nothing to deposit. The year in Paris she said the biggest headache was banking.
isabel is online now  
Aug 30th, 2007, 04:48 AM
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I have a cousin who spent the last spring semester in London and she also managed without a UK bank account. If your student isn't getting paid in the UK, and won't need to write checks, then an ATM and credit card will do the trick.
twk is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 05:58 AM
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The easiest way for her to get money and you to keep track of it is for you to have a joint account with her in whatever Canadian bank charges the lowest ATM fees.

You can deposit money in the account in Canada, and she can withdraw it remotely anywhere. The Lancaster bank that has no ATM fees is a good place to start looking, but your bank is likely to have a counterpart in the UK (e.g., Bank of America and Barclays).

If your mailing address is on the account, you will receive the statements.

Ackislander is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 05:32 PM
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Wow... thanks for all the information. This is great. It never occurred to me that there would be Banks on campus (I went to school a long time ago) but once you mentioned it, I checked the website and you are right. There are two Banks on campus: Barclays and NatWest. Glad to hear no fees for using ATMs. Canadian Banks charge a percentage fee plus a transaction fee for every ATM withdrawal done in Europe. That will add up over the year. DD is hoping to get a part-time job if she can manage it. She had one last year and paid most of her own way. A money order doesn't seem that expensive, (much cheaper than wiring funds) but I was told the Bank would hold the funds for some time even though it's a money order drawn on a Canadian Bank. I don't really understand that, but she will have her Canadian debit card to use until it clears.
dana48 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 05:53 PM
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Special thanks to Alec for that Living in the UK guide... it's great!
dana48 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 02:41 AM
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If she is going to be working she will need a UK account for her money to be paid into.

A lot of banks ask for a letter from the uni confirming she is a student. This is because enrolment form can be forged.

Student accounts give away freebies such as MP3 players or rail cards and a free overdraft BUT it is unlikely she will be able to open one of these as an international student.

One way to send money easily is using paypal - i sent money to a friend who was travelling around the world last year.

Oh and he got a 'travellers' account from citibank - you might find there is a similar scheme with a Canadian bank.

Oh and DD probably knows this but a student visa will only allow her to work 20 hours a week in term time. The government are really cracking down on people entering the country on student visas and then working. I work at an international college and some of our students have been given 7 days to leave the country for working too many hours.
sashh is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 07:07 PM
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Thanks for the reply Sashh. I've used PayPal for buying stuff from eBay, but not sure how to use it to transfer funds. Could you explain a bit more? What fees are charged? I'll definitely consider it, especially since I found out that using a Canadian debit card in Europe will cost $5 per transaction plus 2.5% over the regular exchange rate!
dana48 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 11:23 PM
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Pay Pal is easy you just both need an account and you transfer money as you would buying something.

On the tabs at the top there is a "send money" tab - click on that - add you daughter's email and send money.

I can't remember the fees but it wasn't much.

I think the person you are sending money to must have an e-mail registered in the country you are sending to - but check with paypal.
sashh is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 12:49 AM
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Pay Pal typically charges the recipient 3.5% of the amount sent. If you use your credit card to send money this way, it'll be treated as a cash advance from the moment you authorise the transmission.

Last time I looked, the recipient needed a bank account to be paid into.

Our experience is that PayPal converts about 2% (or a bit more) less advantageously to us as recipients than the midmarket rate reported by Oanda. So, more or less, does every other option for sending money round the world.

If you're looking at sending substantial amounts to a foreign bank account, companies like Tranzfers or 1st Contact claim to undercut banks (which Paypal absolutely doesn't). There've been some posts about them here, but I can't find them
flanneruk is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 04:47 AM
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Scotiabank in Canada is part of a banking alliance with Barclay's , there are no fees for withdrawing money from Barclay's ATMs
jody is offline  
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