Get a credit card for an overseas student in the UK

A lot of people in the UK use cards for shopping, online purchases and cash machine withdrawals, so it’s sensible to be interested in credit cards for international students in UK universities and colleges.

But if you can’t get a credit card because you don’t have a credit history in the UK, or you just don’t want to borrow money every month, what are the alternatives?

One option in the UK is to get a debit card instead – in fact with a lot of bank accounts and online money accounts, a debit card is the first choice.

With a debit card, you can spend money directly from your account on anything you might normally buy on a credit card, as well as using the card at cash machines to withdraw from your account.

And because a debit card takes the money directly out of your account, instead of a bill you pay off later, there’s no credit arrangement – so no need for a good credit score in the UK or back home.

Get a bank account and card with no credit score

Even if you have a good credit rating back home, when you’re new to the UK the banks might not be as confident in approving you for a bank account with an overdraft and a credit card.

This combined with your lack of long-term address history in the UK can make you seem like more of a risk for the banks, so you might be offered a lower credit limit, or rejected outright.

An Arro Personal Account is one alternative. Although Arro is not a bank, the Arro Personal Account is similar to a bank account in a lot of ways.

It has a sort code and account number, so people can transfer funds to you from their bank account in the UK and overseas.

It also comes with access to transfer money via Faster Payments, Direct Debit and other commonly used methods like standing orders.

And you get a MasterCard® debit card to use for online shopping, cash machine withdrawals, and card payments by contactless or chip and pin.

Remember – there’s no credit on the account. No overdraft, and no credit card. Because of this we can offer guaranteed approval for all eligible applicants, subject to our simple Fair Fit test, and regardless of your credit rating.

Debit cards vs. credit cards

What’s the difference between a debit card and a credit card? As mentioned above, the main difference is that a debit card spends your own funds from your account, whereas a credit card is a form of lending – you get a bill at the end of the month for anything you spend on it.

There are a few other important differences too though. For example when you buy something expensive on a credit card, if the supplier goes out of business before you get what you ordered, you can claim the money back.

Debit cards don’t offer this protection – but they can sometimes be better value when it comes to buying low-priced items like your everyday food shopping and paying for nights out.

That’s because debit cards are designed to give you access to your money, including withdrawing it as cash from an ATM without some of the high fees you might be charged when ‘borrowing’ cash by making a credit card withdrawal.

Arro Personal Account debit card fees

On the Arro Personal Account there are a few small transaction fees depending on how you use the MasterCard® debit card that comes with your account.

We always publish these in full upfront – so you can always check if you will be charged a fee – and you may get a certain number of fee-free cash withdrawals each month too, depending on your chosen account tariff.

Either way, we have designed the Arro Personal Account to be a competitive and affordable way to manage your money when you are new to the UK – and it is very likely to prove good value compared to using a credit card for your everyday spending and cash withdrawals.

The application process takes just three minutes and you do not need a good credit rating or proof of address in the UK, as we can usually verify your identity online using databases for 160 different countries.

Your application will not show on your credit record at all, and we guarantee to accept everyone we can. You just need to be over 18, you must have already arrived in the UK before you apply, and you must be a good match for the account under our simple Fair Fit criteria.