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 on the best bank to open an account with.  

You must do your research and make a decision about which bank account will best suit your needs.

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 with opening a UK bank account

Problems producing your bank letter 

Contact for help if:

  • you have problems producing your bank letter
  • you have already produced three bank letters and need another one.

Your name appears incorrectly on the system 

If your name appears incorrectly on the bank letter, 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. 

You must:

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