The information below explains how to open a bank account in the UK, getting a bank letter, and offers links to further information about choosing a bank account that is right for you.


It is very likely that you will need to open a UK bank account during the course of your studies. For example, you may need to pay your rent by direct debit or you may need bank statements to provide evidence of your finances for immigration purposes.

The bank you choose can advise you on the different types of accounts it can offer, direct debits, how long it takes to transfer money to other bank accounts (inside or outside the UK) and more.  Please see below for information on what you will need to prepare and do to get your bank account set up.

Please note: International Student Support cannot recommend a particular bank. There are a number of banks located around the university on Byres Road and Dumbarton Road as well as in Glasgow city centre that you may wish to consider.

How to open a bank account

To open an account, you will need:

  • Your passport or National ID card
  • Your visa (if applicable) and
  • Depending on the bank you choose, you may be asked for other documentation such as a bank letter, addressed to the bank to which you will apply, containing evidence of your current course of study and UK term-time address.

Depending on the bank you choose, you may be asked for other documentation.

Bank letters

Before producing or applying to request a bank letter, please ensure that your UK term-time address is up-to-date.  It is advisable to check with your chosen bank whether they will accept an unstamped bank letter from University of Glasgow.

To obtain a bank letter, students can:

Find out more

Students on courses of less than 6 months

If you are studying on a course of less than 6 months you may not be able to open a bank account with a "high street bank" as you are only staying a short time in the UK. However, there are alternative ways to accessing, spending and safely storing your money while you study in the UK and we have some suggestions below.

PayPal and PayPal's debit card:

This debit card is linked in to your PayPal account and allows you to withdraw money from your PayPal balance. It can be used at ATMs and everywhere that accepts Mastercard.

View further details on PayPal Debit MasterCard


MasterCard offers information pre-paid Mastercards on their webpages.

View further details on pre-paid cards

For Standard Visitor Visa holders (in the UK for study):

You may wish to consider trying an online bank account, for example Monzo or Revolut. Remember to check if there are fees applicable to holding this type of bank account or for particular services.

*These types of bank accounts are not usually suitable for Tier 4 or Student visa holders, as it can be very difficult to get bank statements from online bank accounts that meet the UKVI requirements for financial documents when applying for a Student visa extension.