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UK bank accounts:

It is not compulsory for you to open a UK bank account; however, it is advisable to open one as you may find that you need this for certain purposes. For example, many utility companies will require a standing order from a UK bank account to pay your bills. Also, if you choose to work part time alongside your studies, you may need a UK account as most employers only pay wages into a UK bank account.

Most banks will offer a ‘basic bank account’ which may be available to international students. This is fee-free, allows you to receive and transfer money and make payments, but does not offer an overdraft facility. Some banks may also offer specific accounts for international students, which are similar to basic accounts.


How to open a UK bank account:

There are many banks which offer accounts to international students and the table below gives details on how to open an account with some of the banks with a branch in Durham City. Please note that in most cases it will be easier to open an account online rather than in-branch, and international students may find it easier to open an account with HBSC or Lloyds due to the evidence required. Please note that this information is also subject to change, and students requiring further guidance can contact: should they require further help with opening an account.


HSBC International Student Bank Account

Apply online or in branch you’re your passport and a ‘letter of banking introduction’ from the University – see below.

1 Saddler Street, DH1 3NR


International Student Bank Account - HSBC UK

Lloyds Classic Account

Apply online using BRP. This may should enable you to open account the student to open an account, but you need to ensure that all details are entered accurately and match the details on your BRP.  If you are then unable to open an account this way, call into branch (no appointment required) with your passport and BRP to complete the process.

19 Market Place, DH1 3NL


Classic Account | UK Bank Accounts | Lloyds Bank

Barclays Bank Account

Apply using the app, with your passport and proof of address - Council Tax bill (from Durham County Council, not the exemption letter from the University) or your non-UK bank statement with their UK address updated added on by their bank.

6 Market Place, DH1 3ND


Bank accounts | Open a bank account online | Barclays


Apply online with proof of identity (e.g. passport) and proof of address - HMRC document or Bank statement from an existing bank which is now addressed to your new UK address (this does not need to be from a UK bank).

12 Market Place, DH1 3NG


Current Accounts | £200 Switch Offer | UK Bank Accounts (


You may be asked to provide a ‘letter of banking introduction’ from the University. The letter can be obtained from Banner Self-Service, available once you are enrolled:

Go to the Banner Self-Service login page

You may be prompted to log in and / or approve your login with MFA

If you are asked to log in, enter your Durham University username in the format

You’ll now see the Banner welcome screen

Click on the Faculty Services button at the top of the screen to open your Banner Self Service Menu.

Student Letters > Student Status Letter

Student Letters> Banking Letter

Student Letters> Council Tax Exemption


Making payments in the UK:

You may not need to use much cash in the UK, as most businesses accept card payments – some will only accept card payments. You can pay by ‘contactless’ for purchases of up to £100. However, it is a good idea to have a small amount of cash on you, as some businesses will only accept card payments for purchases over £5.

If you need to withdraw some cash, you can use a cash machine at any bank, not just your own bank, without paying a fee. However, some cash machines which are not affiliated with a specific bank will charge a fee.  They must warn you on the screen that there will be a fee, and you can then cancel the withdrawal. You can also request cashback when making a card payment at a supermarket.