Six Best Banks For International Students In The United Kingdom

Six Best Banks For International Students In The United Kingdom

One of the first steps you take as an international student is getting a UK bank account to help you better manage your finances in the new country. While your friends might be advising you to open a bank account with their referral code, it is important to prioritize your needs first. 

Choosing your bank in the United Kingdom is a big step that requires a lot of research. That’s why in this post, we’ve done the research and outlined the top six options - both traditional and fintech banks for international students in the UK.

What Do I Need to Open a Bank Account in the UK?

As an international student, you’ll typically need the following to open a GBP bank account in the United Kingdom;

  • Your passport or valid ID card like your BRP.
  • Recent utility bill or student accommodation confirmation to prove your address.
  • Some might request proof of student status which could be your confirmation of acceptance letter or a student ID card.
  • A valid UK visa, for international students.

Top Six Banks for International Students in the UK.

Here are the top banks you should consider opening as an international student in the United Kingdom;

HSBC International Student Bank Account

Starting with a popular traditional bank, HSBC is a great option because it is present in over 60 countries. However, knowing the high influx of international students in the UK, the bank has a dedicated account type for students. Here, there are no monthly fees so you don’t have to worry about account maintenance charges and also, you get multiple overdraft options. As a student, you can take out overdraft loans to help you manage unexpected expenses. 

The downside of this bank is that there are very few branches available, so it may not be the most accessible bank for you. There’s also a minimum deposit requirement which might not be a challenge if you’ll be converting your local currency after arriving. However, the biggest drawback is that, unlike other banks, there are no cashback or rewards when you spend with this account. As a student, you need all the extra bonuses you can get.

NatWest International Student Account

Another traditional bank we recommend for international students in the UK is NatWest and similar to HSBC, they offer a dedicated student account to international students. A feature we think will be particularly handy is the free student railcard discount that comes with your account. This way, you get discounts on all your future travels in the UK. They also have a very user-friendly mobile app that can help you keep track of your cashback, rewards, and spending.

Unfortunately, while your transactions are initially free, you’ll get a £4 monthly charge for account maintenance after a year. Also, sending money abroad can be quite expensive so if you plan on converting money, it isn’t exactly the best option. NatWest also offers overdraft, however, it is subject to individual assessment.

Want to see how it works yourself? Download the app and create an account for free here.


OhentPay is a UK-based financial services company that offers money transfer services, primarily catering to international students and migrants. Plus, you can currently use OhentPay in over 190 countries to send and receive money at any time. The best part is that for international transfers, OhentPay offers the best rates and low transaction fees when compared to other options listed in this post. Learn more about how it works here.

OhentPay is the best option for international students because it has a fast and easy setup. OhentPay allows you to easily download the app from any mobile store and you can get your account verified in two minutes! Unlike Monzo, you don’t need to fill out endless forms or long documentation when compared to traditional bank accounts. You also enjoy multiple currency options as you can hold and manage funds in 30 different currencies, simplifying receiving money from home and making local payments, especially as a Nigerian.

Lloyds Bank

Lloyds is a very popular bank among students in the UK because of its endless cashback and rewards on your everyday spending. Sometimes, you can get up to 50% cashback on select stores. The account opening process is also quite seamless like many fintech applications. Simply fill out a form online and you’ll get your account details and debit card, posted to your physical address. You can also create a savings and current account to help build your credit over time in the UK.

Unfortunately, while Lloyds Bank is great for everyday spending, international transfers can be very expensive. It also takes quite some time to make these transfers. The user experience on the app isn’t the best as it has very limited app features. 


While it isn’t a traditional bank, Revolut offers international in the UK, free bank accounts with zero account maintenance charges. It's best recommended for international students in the UK because it is also easier to make international transactions with countries like the US, Canada, and Ireland, to mention a few. You can also hold other currencies within a single account. Revolut also has nice features like a disposable virtual card, and budgeting tools to help you set saving goals and track your spending.

Unfortunately, there are top-up fees especially since certain methods of adding money to your account might incur charges. If you also want to send money internationally to countries like Nigeria, you have to make sure you’re transferring to a domiciliary account.


Monzo is a popular fintech app that is a great add-on to traditional banks. It works like Revolut but it has a more rigid acceptance rate. So you have to answer a questionnaire which will determine whether or not you get a bank account. It has an open banking integration which allows you to connect your account to other budgeting apps, so it's great for tracking your spending.

Unfortunately, Monzo doesn’t offer overdrafts to international students and sending money abroad isn’t supported. You also have a limited cash withdrawal of £200 per month and anything outside of this will incur charges.

Want to see how it works yourself? Download the app and create an account for free here.

Wrapping up.

Remember that finding the perfect bank, even as an international student is a personal journey. So we recommend choosing an account that aligns with your needs and spending habits. Overdraft options are also debt so only use them if you absolutely need to. Finally, don’t be afraid to switch banks. Your needs might change over time so keep your options open.

If you’d like to send money anywhere in the world and prefer fast transfers at great rates, we recommend the OhentPay money transfer service. Create an account here to get started.

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