How to open a UK bank Account as an International Student

It’s not always easy to open a UK bank account as an international student. The traditional banks say they welcome overseas students – and many of them near to universities have dedicated international banking desks.

But the process of actually opening a UK bank account for new overseas students can be long and hard. You may be asked to provide lots of proof of your identity or past addresses, your credit rating, your bank details from back home, or just asked to attend meetings week after week without making any progress.

Arro are different. We are not a bank – we don’t have branches or advisors in grey suits. We just have a quick online application form. If you are over 18 and currently live at a UK address, and you pass our Fair Fit test, then we guarantee to accept you.

So why might you choose an Arro Personal Account rather than a traditional UK bank account for international students? Here are some of the problems you might face until you try Arro…

Busy bank branches

Hundreds of thousands of people come to the UK each year to study – not just at university, but also on short-term training courses or as part of workplace placements – and many of those people head to the same few major cities: London, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool, among others.

In these most popular areas, the best UK banks for international students can have hundreds or even thousands of accountholders all in need of advice, especially around the start of a new academic year.

You might find yourself waiting in line for hours just to ask a simple question, or even find that the bank’s international advisor is fully booked and cannot see you at all.

At Arro, international customers are treated exactly the same as everyone else. When you need support, you can contact us and we will deal with your query as soon as we can, just as we would for a permanent UK resident.

Impossible applications

Try to open a UK bank account for an overseas student and you’re likely to face a long and complicated application process – but not at Arro.

You can open an Arro Personal Account without any of the following:

  • Proof of historical UK address.
  • Proof of current financial status.
  • Good credit rating.
  • Proof of current student/employed status.
  • UK-resident guarantor.

All we ask for is your name, date of birth (we can only accept over-18s) and current UK address (you must have arrived in the UK, or definitely know your UK address, before applying).

We also need a few contact details, for example your mobile phone number, so we can send you your MasterCard® debit card details via SMS until the physical card arrives in the post.

In-branch only

For some reason, UK banks love to tie your account to a single physical branch, and any time you need a certain service, they may expect you to travel in person to that branch to speak to an advisor.

This is a problem not just for international students who choose to travel while in the UK, but also for those who study a full-time course and work as well to pay tuition fees and other living costs – leaving little to no time for waiting in line at the bank.

Arro is entirely online. Your account has a sort code, just like a UK bank account, but it doesn’t tie you down to a specific branch anywhere, and we are always available to offer support online when you need help with your account.

Remember, Arro was created after our own experiences of being new UK banking customers, so we know how important it is to have help here when you need it most.

Help from back home

Finally, Arro welcome support from friends and family back home. No need for third-party international money transfer services – with an Arro Personal Account, anyone anywhere can use your UK sort code and account number to pay into your account.

This means money from back home can be paid directly into the same account as your wages from your UK job, if you have one, or from any other source such as online trading activities you carry out, or any UK student loans you might have access to.

We care about making it easy to manage your money in the UK, and with the option to withdraw cash and make card payments with your MasterCard® debit card, as well as Direct Debit (not currently available, but it’s coming soon!) and Faster Payments, the Arro Personal Account keeps all of your money in one place and avoid fees for paying in a foreign currency.