Setting up a Bank Account

What you need to know

Before asking for a bank letter you MUST update your address details in LSE for You

Opening a bank account can take time and some banks will only open an account for you after you are a registered student.  

It is important that you bring enough funds to cover your expenses, especially if you plan to move to London before your designated Registration date. LSE is unable to register you early.

All of this information is subject to change and does not constitute a recommendation. Document requirements can vary between branches. Always contact your chosen bank branch directly to confirm details prior to setting up an account to make sure you have everything you need.

1) Update your addresses in LSE for You as soon as possible

Some banks require documentation from LSE confirming your registration status. Check in the Local bank branch requirements tab to confirm what you will need.

The bank will reject this documentation if it does not include your up-to-date contact and home addresses.  Update your address in LSE for You as soon as you have an address in London.   Be careful to list the address you live during term-time (usually in London) as your Contact Address and your address at home (or international address) as the Permanent Address, or the bank will reject your documentation.  

Also, keep in mind that banks require that your room number be included if you are living in halls of residence.  

2) Research the best bank account for you

It is highly recommended that you select a bank before you arrive in London to save time.  

Although LSE is unable to recommend a bank, we have included a list of local bank branches and their websites below to help you get started.  

Check in advance to see if your bank at home has a branch near LSE, or if they have a special relationship with a bank in London. If you plan to transfer money into your new account, remember that transferring funds will depend on your home bank's procedures.  This can take more time than you expect.  Discuss this with your home bank before you leave and remember to bring sufficient funds, such as cash, travellers' cheques or credit cards to cover any delays.  To ensure your safety always avoid travelling with large amounts of cash.

You may want to consider how easy it is to open an account when making a decision about which bank is right for you.  For example, consider whether the bank will allow you to pre-book an appointment, and/or look for a bank that will accept your LSE offer letter as proof that you are a student when opening an account.  

3) Know what documents you need to open an account

This is the most important step!  Each bank branch requires different documentation to open accounts, and branches are very specific about the format of the documentation they will accept.

The information provided in the Local bank branch requirements below,  lists the names, addresses, and requirements of the major bank branches nearest LSE.  Please note that this list is not exhaustive and does not constitute a recommendation, as the School is not permitted to advise on the best bank and/or account for your needs.  Keep in mind that bank requirements change very frequently, so always confirm what you will need directly with the bank branch where you plan to open your account.

4) Request a bank letter from LSE (if needed)

Taught undergraduate and postgraduate students may be eligible to request a letter confirming that they are expected to register (prior to registration) or have registered (post registration). MPhil/PhD students are only eligible to request a letter after your designated registration date.

Some banks may not accept a letter until after you register.  Check with the branch first to ensure you have what you need to avoid delays in opening your account.

Here's how to get the letter:

  • This letter is available from September for taught Masters, Undergraduate/ General Course students. MPhil/PhD students are only able to request a letter after their designated registration date.  
  • You must be an unconditional offer holder or a registered student.  This document is not available to those with conditional offers.  Please note that some branches of Barclays will not accept this letter until after you register. 
  • Log in to LSE for You and ensure that your Contact and Home addresses are up to date.  If you skip this step, your letter will be rejected by the bank. Be careful to list the address where you live during term-time (usually in London) as your Contact Address and your address at home (or international address) as the Permanent Address, or the bank will reject your documentation.  .  
  • Wait ONE HOUR after updating your addresses for the details to be updated in our database before requesting a letter of introduction.   
  • Visit the Student Services Centre with your passport, national ID or student ID card, and the bank's address.  Ask for a Barclays bank letter, which will be printed immediately for you. PhD/MPhil students should instead contact the PhD Academy. Please note our opening hours.  

5) Make an appointment

You may be required to book an appointment in advance to open a bank account at your chosen branch.

Please note that this may also be time consuming because many students will also be setting up accounts at the same time and appointments near LSE fill up quickly.  However registering online in this way can save you time.

Some banks may allow you to book an appointment before you arrive in London, which can save you a great deal of time.  If you book an appointment in advance, you may want to book your appointment at least a day or two after your registration date, or you may not have access to all the necessary documents to open an account.  Also, be sure that your bank appointment does not clash with compulsory events, lectures or seminars/classes.

Always give yourself enough time to obtain the documentation you will need.

TOP TIP: You may find that it is easier to book an appointment at a bank branch further away from LSE or halls of residence. Once your account is set up, you can usually do business with any branch of your bank.

Additional tips for international students

  • International students may also find the information on UKCISA's tips for opening a bank account in the UK websites to be useful.
  • Ask your bank to send you printed monthly bank statements as these can be helpful if you need to make an application to extend your student visa. UKVI will not accept electronic bank statements.
  • Some banks may charge international students an initial or monthly fee.  The additional services provided will vary between each bank. Some banks will also offer a free, but more basic account.
  • If you are expecting to receive money from overseas, you should ask what charges may apply and how long it will take to make the money available in your account.
  • If you will be cashing cheques issued in other countries into your UK account (for example, US Loan Cheques), then be sure to check that this will not trigger your bank's anti-fraud procedures, which can result in your account being frozen for extended periods during an investigation.
  • if you plan on using a credit or bank card from your home country while you are in the UK, check before you leave home that your card is compatible with UK bank machines, or if there will be any additional charges.
  • Overseas students must typically be on a programme of study which runs a minimum of six months duration in order to qualify for an account.

Local Bank Branch Requirements

Different branches of the same bank may process account opening differently.  Please click on the bank below for information.

Barclays

Local branch details

Barclays Bank

366 The Strand
London
WC2R 0JF
Tel:  0345 734 5345

Website: www.barclays.co.uk

Top tips for opening a Barclays account

  • Submit your application for a Student Additions Account online then book an appointment to present your documents in branch.
  • Some branches of Barclays will not accept a letter from LSE to prove your student status until after you have registered on your designated registration date, particularly if you are an international student.  Be sure to check in advance to see when you can open an account and what documents are required.
  • Some Barclays branches ask for a letter from LSE using a specific template. LSE can provide a letter which contains most of the information required, but please note that we cannot use the exact formatting they have requested and we cannot make amendments/additions to our version of the letter.
  • If you are having difficulty booking an appointment to present your documents, you may consider visiting a different branch. You can still do business with a local branch once your account is established.  

Required documents 

1.  Proof of student status.

One of the following:

  • Original offer letter (a UCAS letter for undergraduate offer holders) which includes a UK address. This must be less than 12 months old.   
  • A letter from LSE on headed paper and addressed directly to Barclays Bank which states that you are an expected or registered student.

2.  Proof of identification.

One of the following:

  •  Passport (and Visa if applicable)
  •  National identity card (Greek or Romanian cards are not accepted)
  • Full UK or foreign photocard driving licence
  •  UK Armed Forces ID card

3.  Proof of address

One of the following:

  • Letter from LSE addressed directly to Barclays Bank (see number four above)
  • Original LSE Offer letter
  • UCAS AS12 letter with your full name and address   

Bank of China

Local branch details

Bank of China

107 Shaftesbury Avenue
London
W1D 5DA
Tel: +44 (0) 2031928470 

www.bankofchina.com/uk/

Student bank accounts can be opened before leaving China. 

Details of the account opening process are on their webpages.

Co-operative Bank

Local branch details

Co-operative Bank

80 Cornhill
London
EC3V 3NJ
Tel: +44 (0) 3457 212 212
www.co-operativebank.co.uk

The Co-operative bank do not offer a specific student account.

Genral aank accounts can be opened online.

Halifax

Local branch details

Halifax Bank

51-55 The Strand
London
WC2N 5LS
Tel:  0207 441 9334

www.halifax.co.uk/

Opening a Halifax account

To open a student account, you must have lived in the UK for the last 3 years. 

You can apply online and will then need to visit a branch with your documents.

Required documents 

1.  Proof of student status

One of the following:

  • Original offer letter which includes a UK address      
  • UCAS AS12 (original or a print out)
  • A letter from LSE on headed paper and addressed directly to Halifax Bank which states that you are an expected or registered student (see point 4 above).

2.  Proof of identification

One of the following:

  • Passport and visa (or EU ID card).
  • Current UK photo Driving Licence

3.  Proof of address

One of the following:

  • Letter from LSE addressed directly to Halifax bank (see number four above).
  • Utility bill, dated within the last 6 months.

Other acceptable forms of ID and proof of address can be found at proving your identity.

HSBC

Local branch details

HSBC Bank

High Holborn Branch,
210 High Holborn,
London,
WC1V 7HD
Tel: 03456 040 626
Website: www.hsbc.co.uk

Top tips for opening an HSBC account

  • To open a student account, you must have lived in the UK for the last 3 years. You can apply online or make an appointment online to open your account in a branch. You’ll need to bring identification, proof of your address and a recent bank statement (please see below).
  • EU students can apply for a basic HSBC Bank Account online.
  • If you require any help with opening an account, please call: 03456 040626

Required documents

1.  Proof of student status 

One of the following:

  • LSE Offer letter sent to permanent (overseas) address 
  • UCAS AS12 sent to permanent (overseas) address
  • A letter from LSE on headed paper and addressed directly to HSBC which states that you are an expected or registered student. Please see point four above.

2.  Proof of identification

One of the following:

  • Your Passport
  • National Identity Card
  • Current full UK photocard driving licence

Other acceptable forms of ID and Proof of address can be found online at help us identify you

3.  Proof of address (UK and overseas)

One of the following:

  • A letter from LSE confirming your student status (see point four above).
  • UK students may use alternative documents such as a utility bill, council tax bill or tenancy agreement.

Lloyds

Local branch details

Lloyds Bank

Villiers House
48-49 Strand
London
WC2N 5LL
Tel: 03453 000 000

Website: www.lloydstsb.com

If you live in Bankside House or Sidney Webb House you may wish to open an account at the London Bridge branch, which is located nearest you:

Lloyds
London Bridge Branch
69-73 Borough High Street
London Bridge
SE1 1NQ

Tel: 03453 000 000

Top tips for opening a Lloyds account 

  • To be eligible for a student bank account you will need to have lived in the UK for at least three years, be over 17 and enrolled on a degree course of at least 2 years (1 year if full time postgraduate). 
  • You can apply online, or make an appointment to apply in branch by calling 0345 300 0000 (+44 1733 347007 from outside the UK).
  • International students may be eligible for their classic account after arriving in the UK. You can apply online.
  • If you don't pre-book an appointment, it is recommended that you visit the bank first thing in the morning when they open, as this is the quietest time of the day and it can be easier to get an appointment.
  • If you are having difficulty booking a bank appointment at this local branch, you may consider visiting a different branch to set up your account - you can still do business with a local branch once your account is established.

Required documents

1.  Proof of student status  

One of the following:

  • Original offer letter (UCAS or LSE)
  • A letter of introduction from LSE (see point four above).

2.  Proof of identification

One of the following:

  • Current photo driving license
  • UK passport

3.  Proof of UK and overseas (as applicable) address

One of the following:

  • You may use your offer letter, the LSE Certificate of Registration or a letter from LSE to prove your UK address (see number one above)
  • UK students may use alternative documents, such as a utility bill, council tax letter or tenancy agreement.

You can find other acceptable forms of identification and proof of address online at proof of identity.

Metro Bank

Local branch details

Metro Bank

One Southampton Row
London
WC1B 5HA
Tel: 0345 0808 500

Website: www.metrobankonline.co.uk

Top tips for opening an Metro Bank account

  • Metro Bank does not offer student specific accounts.
  • UK students can open a current acco online.
  • Non-UK, EU, EEA or Swiss nationals can only apply in-branch. In-branch appointments cannot be booked, customers will be served on a first come first served basis. However you can ring the store in advance to check how busy it is.
  • Online banking and Debit cards are available immediately if you apply in-branch.

Required documents

1.  Proof of student status

One of the following:

  • A letter of acceptance to LSE
  • A letter from LSE on headed paper and addressed directly to Metro Bank which states that you are an expected or registered student.  

2.  Proof of identification

One of the following:

  • Passport and Visa or Biometric Residence Permit
  • EU national identity card
  • Full UK Driving Licence

3.  Proof of address (UK and overseas)

One of the following:

  • Please see number four above for the letter LSE can provide
  • UK students may use alternative documents such as a utility bill, council tax bill or tenancy agreement.

 Further Information on other acceptable Proof of address can be found at what i need to open a personal account

Nationwide

Local branch details

Nationwide Bank

289 High Holborn
Chancery Lane
WC1V 7HZ
Tel: 0800 554 0230

Top tips for opening a Nationwide account

  • Nationwide have a student current account for UK students who have been accepted onto a full time programme. You can find out more and apply online. You need to apply within 5 months before your course starts and within 2 months after your course starts if you have an unconditional offer.  If you have a conditional offer, you will need to wait until your place is confirmed before applying

  • EU/EEA students may be able to apply for a FlexBasic account.

  • Overseas students are likely to need to book an appointment in advance to set up a new account.  Contact the branch directly for further details. If you are having difficulty booking a bank appointment, you may consider visiting a different branch to set up your account, (you can still do business with a local branch once your account is established).Required documents

 

Required documents

1.  Proof of student status

One of the following:

  • Original offer letter        
  • UCAS AS12 letter
  • A letter from LSE on headed paper and addressed directly to Natwest which states your registration status.

    PLEASE NOTE:  Although LSE may be able to provide a bank letter to unconditional offer holders or registered students, some branches of Nationwide may only accept this letter if it has been printed after you register at LSE.  Check with the bank branch to confirm their requirements.

2.  Proof of UK address

One of the following:

  • See the proof of student status documents above for examples of the types of documents that are acceptable for proof of your UK address
  • UK students can use alternate documents, such as a utility bill/bank/council tax statement listing UK address

3.  Proof of identification

  • Passport or EU identity card

For further information about acceptable proof of identity and address please visit proving your identity.

NatWest

Local branch details

NatWest Bank

Po Box 158
214 High Holborn
London
WC1V 7BF
UK tel: 03457 888 444
International tel: +44 (0) 1163 489 0876

 

Top tips for opening a NatWest account

  • UK students can only apply for the Student Bank Account online. You must be aged 17+ and living in the UK to open a Student Bank Account. You must either be a full time undergraduate student on at least a 2 year course at a UK University/College or you must be completing a full time postgraduate course lasting a year or more. You need to be 18 or over and have lived in the UK for 3+ years to apply for an Overdraft.
  • International students can only apply for an International Student Account online. There is a £10 monthly fee for this account. You must be 17+ living in the UK and have lived in the UK for less than 3 years.  You must either be a full time undergraduate student on at least a 2 year course at a UK University/College or you must be completing a full time postgraduate course lasting a year or more.  You can apply for a basic account if you want to avoid the monthly fee.

Required documents

1.  Proof of student status

One of the following:

  • Original offer letter        
  • UCAS AS12 letter
  • UCAS student code
  • Student visa or Biometric Residence Permit
  • A letter from LSE on headed paper and addressed directly to Natwest which states your registration status (see point 4 above).

    NB: Although LSE may be able to provide a bank letter to unconditional offer holders or registered students, Natwest may only accept this letter if it has been printed after you register at LSE

2.  Proof of UK address

One of the following:

  • See the proof of student status documents above for examples of the types of documents that are acceptable for proof of your UK address
  • UK students can use alternate documents, such as a utility bill/bank/council tax statement listing UK address

3.  Proof of identification

  • Passport or EU identity card

For other acceptable forms of ID and proof of address please see what do you need to open a current account.

Santander

Local branch details

Santander Bank

29 - 31 Portugal Street
London
WC2A 2HF

Tel: 0800 0304321
Website: www.santander.co.uk

Making an appointment

The Santander Branch on Campus (29 - 31 Portugal Street, next to the George IV pub) is currently closed for the summer. Visit the Santander Branch Locator for opening hours.

Top Tips for opening a Santander Bank Account

  • UK students can apply online or in branch for a Student Current Account
  • EU students can apply for a Basic Current Account online.

Required documents

1. Proof of student status

One of the following:

  • LSE offer letter certificate with an accurate address 
  • UCAS AS12 letter
  • LSE Student ID card (only applicable to non-UK nationals).  You will receive your LSE Student ID card at your Programme Registration.       
  • A letter from LSE addressed directly to Santander: 

2. Proof of identity 

One of the following:

  • Passport (with a valid visa if required)
  • An EEA ID card
  • A UK driving license

TSB

 

Local branch details

TSB Bank

120 High Holborn
London
WC1V 6RD

Tel: 020 7404 8940

 

 Top tips for opening an TSB Bank account

 

  • Information about TSB student bank accounts are available online. Student bank accounts can be opened in branch if you are 17 or over, have been a resident in the UK for at least three years and are studying for a full time course that lasts for a minimum of two years. 
  • Appointments for the branch cannot be booked, customers will be served on a first come first served basis.
  • If you haven't been living in the UK for at least 3 years you will need to open a classic account. You need to be aged 18 years or over, a UK resident and either an EU national or have permisson to stay in the UK for at least 12 months.

 

Required documents

1.  Proof of student status

One of the following:

  • A printed copy of your UCAS confirmation letter
  • A letter from LSE on headed paper and addressed directly to TSB Bank which states that you are an expected or registered student.  See point four above.

2.  Proof of identification

One of the following:

  • Passport (with visa if applicable)
  • National Identity Card (TSB don't accept ID cards from Romania)
  • Full Driving Licence, UK or overseas (must show your address, signature and photograph)

3.  Proof of address (UK and overseas)

One of the following:

  • Please see number one above for examples of acceptable proof of address.
  • UK students may use alternative documents such as a utility bill, council tax bill or tenancy agreement.

For other acceptable forms of ID and proof of address please visit FAQs Identity.

 

 

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