The brief guide below will hopefully give you an outline of what the most pertinent questions are for international students opening accounts. I highly recommend however that you go to each bank for more detailed information, each of the major banks are conveniently located on roads parallel to SOAS itself, check the route from googlemaps below, its worth a day of walking and talking to see which bank caters to your specific needs.
a. Type of account for international students offered (this will give you information more on the Basic Accounts though as often they will offer another account which charges you a fee)
b. Fees, charges and requirements
c. Savings accounts offered and extras
d. Cost of transfers IN and OUT as well as the timeframe for processing
e. Using the card abroad: transaction and conversion fees
f. Allowances for overdrafts
(on the corner of Russell Street, en route to Russell Square tube station and Brunswick Centre)
Camden Town, Greater London WC1H 0
a. VISA Debit Account; there is also a student graduate package for any international students who have resided in the UK for 3yrs or more, you will have to make an appointment or check online for more details as this is a separate package.
b. The basic account is free, otherwise they have another package where they charge 8 pounds per month for a 12 month contract.
You need to bring a passport photocopy as well as the original, a headed letter from university and a proof of residence.
c. Savings account offered with 0.05% interest although other accounts with better rates are fully accessible upon request
d. Cost of recieving transfers is NONE and the cost of sending money out varies according to the quantity; If the payment is for under £2,000 and in local currency to a Worldpay country (Australia Austria Belgium Canada Cyprus Denmark Finland France Germany Hong Kong Ireland italy Netherlands New Zealand Poland Portugal South Africa Spain Sweden Switzerland and USA) or in Euros to a Eurozone country then the charge will be £9. All other payments will be charged at £17. The exchange rate used will be floating and indicated upon doing the transfer
e. Withdrawal fees are said to be waived on the website although there is a conversion cost of 2.75% on the foreign currency exchange rate – students with this account will thus have to pay 1.5% as well as a minimum withdrawal fee of 1.75 pounds when abroad.
f. No allowances for overdrafts
Down the road from HSBC on Russell Square, on your left hand side
73 Russell Square, City of London WC1B 5BG
a. VISA Debit or the iBank Student Account
b. The standard VISA Debit or Cash Card Account is free, the iBank Student Account costs 7.50 pounds per month. There is a specific form which must be collected in person and filled out, passport, and a proof of residency.
c. Can apply for various savings accounts, the recommended account was the non-taxable (Cash-Individual Savings Account). The Cash-ISA gives a 2.02% interest rate.
d. Cost of transfers IN is 6 pounds flat-rate
Cost of transfers OUT varies according to amount
e. When using the card within EU and EEA countries the standing exchange rate is used. There is a 2% transaction charge and a 2.99% foreign exchange charge as well as a 7;5
f. Also no allowance for overdrafts
Tottenham Court Road, walk towards Warren Street station on the left hand side of the road
88 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 4TH
a. VISA Debit
b. No fee. All you need is a proof of residency, headed letter from university and passport.
c. The standard savings account gives interest rate of 1.6%
d. Cost of transfers IN is free although there is a 2.99 charge to exchange from foreign currency which also varies according to the amount.
Cost of transfers OUT is a 7 pound flatrate, up till 10K pounds
e. There is a 2 pound transaction fee as well as a 2.99 conversion charge, the maximum is 4.55 pounds.
f. No allowance on overdrafts
Tottenham Court Road, just after Marks and Spencers and The Rising Sun pub.
45 Tottenham Court Road, Marylebone, London W1T 2ED
- Basic Student Account which is free, or you can opt for the SelectSilver Account.
- Basic Account is free, the Select Silver Account charges 8 pounds. In order to apply for either you need to bring your passport as well as a letter of introduction from SOAS to confirm your UK address (you can also bring your Letter of Acceptance which should be on headed paper which confirms the dates of your course and it must match the address on the application form)
- Savings account are available on demand, it depends on what kind you’re looking for but the most basic account gives a savings rate of 2%
- Cost of transfers IN for payments up to 100 pounds or currency equivalent are charged 1 pound. For payments over 100 pounds or currency equivalent, there is a 7 pound charge each. Transfers are free however when another bank receives cash in sterling from overseas and transfers the money to the customer via the UK clearing system.
Cost of transfers OUT varies, NatWest offers a wide range of options depending on the amount being transferred, the currency and the urgency of the transfer so its best to check this breakdown http://www.natwest.com/personal/travel-international/g2/international-payments/send-money-abroad.ashx
- With cash withdrawals there’s a 2% charge (minimum 2 pounds, maximum 5 pounds), with sale transactions there is a 1.25 pound charge per transaction. There is also an exchange rate transaction fee of 2.75% at the prevailing exchange rate.
- With the Student Account, NatWest allows you to apply for an interest-free overdraft of up to 1,000 in your first year; you must however use this account as your main account and deposit at least 750 every 6 months, making at least 3 debit transactions each month.