Open a bank account in the UK

To open a UK bank account you need to choose which bank is right for you.

To open a bank account as an international student you need to be fully registered at the University. You can show the bank that you are fully registered using a bank letter. 

You can produce your bank letter yourself.

It can sometimes take two weeks or more to open a bank account. Plan your finances to take this into account.  

Benefits of having a UK bank account

  • If you receive a University of Bristol scholarship to help with your living costs, you need a UK bank account for it to be paid into.  
  • It will make accessing money easier and safer. 
  • You will not be charged transaction fees when withdrawing cash. 
  • It may be easier to pay for some UK-based services, such as mobile phone contracts. 
  • It is more secure to withdraw small amounts of cash than to bring a large sum and keep it in your accommodation. We strongly advise against this. 
  • Using a bank card to make purchases is the most common way to make payments in the University and the UK. Some retailers and outlets do not accept payment in cash. 

Decide which bank to open an account with

Banks have different processes for opening an account. They may require different documents and have different eligibility rules.  

The University is impartial and cannot advise students which is the best bank to open an account with.  

It is important that you do your research and make a decision which bank account will best suit your needs.  

Use the comparison table for more information on some of the banks and accounts that international students have used in the past.‌

Bank comparison table (PDF, 200kB)

Banks on campus

To make the process of opening an account easier, two banks will have staff on campus to support you.

If you would like to open an account with either of these banks, you can apply online and then if you have any issues or questions, bank representatives will be able to help you. The bank comparison table includes links to fill in the bank account application form for your chosen bank.

Friday 15 September, Global Lounge, 1 pm to 4 pm, Lloyds Bank and HSBC

Monday 18 September, Global Lounge, 1 pm to 4 pm, Lloyds Bank and HSBC

Tuesday 19 September, Wednesday 20 September, Thursday 21 September, Destination Bristol, Royal Fort Gardens opposite Senate House, 9:30 am to 11 am (accessible time), 11 am to 4 pm (everyone welcome), Lloyds Bank and HSBC  

Monday 25 September, Global Lounge, 1 pm to 4 pm, Lloyds Bank

Tuesday 26 September, Global Lounge, 1 pm to 4 pm, Lloyds Bank and HSBC

Thursday 28 September, Global Lounge, 1 pm to 4 pm, Lloyds Bank and HSBC

Friday 29 September, Global Lounge, 1 pm to 4 pm, Lloyds Bank and HSBC

If you arrive in Bristol before these dates, and you need support to open a bank account, please contact the Global Lounge.  

Before you can produce a bank letter

To open an account, most banks require a bank letter from the University to prove you are a student with us. 

In order to produce your own bank letter online, you must complete the following steps:

Complete registration

Only registered students can produce a bank letter. You must be fully registered before you can produce a bank letter.

Update your home and Bristol address details online

Your letter will take your home and Bristol address details directly from StudentInfo. 

Please double check that your Home address (in your home country) is updated. You can check and update your details online.

Check your name appears correctly 

As part of the registration process, you must check that your name appears correctly on your student record. You can also log into StudentInfo to check how your name is recorded. 

If you need to make changes to your name, contact your Faculty.

Decide which bank you would like to open an account with

You will need to choose a bank and branch when producing your letter, so you need to decide which bank you want to open an account with.  

How to produce your bank letter

Once you have fully registered and your details are correct, you can produce your bank letter. You can produce a maximum of three copies of your bank letter. 

Produce your bank letter

If there is incorrect information displayed on your bank letter, or some information is missing, you should check that your personal details have been updated on StudentInfo.

Your letter is a PDF document which can be downloaded. Your chosen bank will let you know if they can accept an electronic version, or if you need to print out a copy of the PDF.

When you apply for a UK bank account

Most banks will ask you to fill out an online application form to open a bank account. Make sure that the address visible on your bank letter, and address you input as part of your bank account application appear in the same format.  

Example of formatting:

[Flat number, Room number] 

[Building name] 

[Building number, Street] 

[Town or City] 


Get help if you have questions or problems when opening a UK bank account

Questions about opening an account 

The Global Lounge team can give you general advice about opening UK bank accounts. The Global Lounge is situated on First Floor of Senate House. The opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, however sometimes the Global Lounge might be closed for an event. You can check the event schedule, and avoid coming for bank letter advice whilst events are running.  

You can also email the team your bank letter related questions at

Problems producing your bank letter 

If you have problems producing your bank letter, or you have already produced three bank letters and need another one, contact for help.  

Your name appears incorrectly on the system 

If your name appears incorrectly on the bank letter, you will need do contact your Faculty Office

Your chosen bank or branch is not on the list 

If the bank you have chosen or your chosen branch is not on the list to produce a bank letter, contact for help. 

Please state which bank you would like the letter addressed to, and provide full address of the branch you need the letter to be addressed to.

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