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Old 24.06.2011, 16:24
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Opening Student Bank Account in UK

My son is about to go back 'home' to uni, after living abroad for 12 years. All the UK banks say he must have been resident there for the last three years before he can open a student account. Any advice on how to get around this? Does anyone know a bank that doesn't have this restriction?
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Old 24.06.2011, 16:29
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Re: Opening Student Bank Account in UK

If you have an account then I believe you can stand as reference (at least that is how we opened my daughters account when she was little). failing that the university should be able to advise which branches allow foreign students to open student accounts as they will not have a verifiable UK address either.
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Old 24.06.2011, 17:03
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Re: Opening Student Bank Account in UK

Most of the UK banks have these restrictions because they don't want to issue credit to someone who might leave the country without paying off the debt, such as a student overdraft. The banks have been burned many times in the past (I certainly know a few 'overseas' students who left the UK without paying off their overdrafts and with no intention of paying them off).

Having said that, your son should be able to open a student account targetted at international students studying in the UK. These are typically similar to normal student accounts (low/no fees, debit card, offers & discounts) but lack the credit facilities of the full-fledged student accounts (so no credit cards or overdrafts). Most of the big banks offer them, for example:

Natwest International Student Account

Santander International Student Account

Barclays International Student Account

Unless you have immediate needs to begin funding, you might suggest your son waits until he arrives in the UK to open an account. During freshers week, all of the banks are tripping over themselves to offer accounts and goodies for opening accounts -- he just needs to explore those accounts targetted at 'overseas' students. He may also find that, when face-to-face with a bank manager (and as a UK citizen), a local bank may be willing to make an exception and open a normal student account instead of an international one, a case-by-case exception that a branch manager might make but that a call centre won't.
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