How to choose the right UK account for students from Japan

When you’re studying away from home, it’s important to feel comfortable in the place where you have chosen to learn – not only so that you are happier during your studies, but also because it can have an effect on your final grade at the end of your course.

The UK is a popular choice for international students from Japan, but how well does it meet their needs? As well as feeling welcome on your course, there are certain services – such as banking – that are crucial to let you live the way you want to, whether you are here for one semester or for an entire degree programme.

Although it may not be easy to get a UK bank account for students from Japan, there are ways you can make the process faster – and there are alternatives to UK banking that might be the better option for your particular circumstances.

A popular place to learn

The UK isn’t just a popular place for Japanese international students to study – it’s one they would recommend to the people they know back home, too.

In 2014 the UK’s National Union of Students carried out a survey to find out how international students from all over the world felt about studying in the UK, and Japan was one of the countries with enough students to be listed in its own right.

Other than the EU, Japan had the lowest proportion of international students who would not recommend the UK as a place to study – just 9.7%, meaning over nine in ten Japanese international students in the UK would recommend the UK to their friends and family, or felt neutral on the question.

Opening a UK bank account

Part of feeling welcome in the UK is being able to live the way you want to, and that means being able to spend money on the things you want, in the ways you want, and when you want.

In order to be able to do this, you can benefit from having a UK account in your name, with the balance in pounds sterling – so that when you spend from your current account, you do not have to pay foreign exchange fees, and you know exactly how much in pounds is left in your account.

But opening a bank account in the UK for Japanese students can be difficult, as you may be asked to provide lots of ID documents, proof of address and income, and proof of how long you will be in the UK for your studies.

The banks will also often ask you to attend meetings in person with their international banking advisor, which might not be practical at a very busy time when you have just arrived in the UK, and might still be arranging your accommodation, looking for part-time work, or just getting started on your studies.

An easy instant account

If you don’t have time to meet advisors in person – or you just want an account you can start using the same day – consider the Arro Personal Account.

We only ask for the same basic information whether you are from the UK, Japan, or any other country – and although you must already be in the UK to apply, the whole process can take just three minutes.

All we need is your name, UK address and date of birth (you must be over 18), along with some contact details so we can send you your account number and virtual MasterCard® debit card information.

We can check your ID against online databases for 160 countries automatically – and we never need to access your credit file – so even if you are new to the UK, we should be able to give you an account.

What are the benefits?

With an Arro Personal Account, you can benefit from:

  • Immediate approval – from signup to an open account in three minutes.
  • Access to the Arro Money online money management dashboard.
  • An account with a UK sort code and account number, in pounds sterling.
  • A MasterCard® debit card for ATM withdrawals and card purchases.
  • Zero transaction fees on deposits into your account and new Direct Debits (not currently available, but it’s coming soon!).

Transaction fees on other uses of your account are low, and with careful usage you can minimise the fees you pay to bank your way – making the Arro Personal Account a flexible way to fund your lifestyle in the UK.