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Opening a bank account 

One of the most important things for you to do once you arrive in the UK is to set up a bank account.  

  • University bank letter to confirm your UK address (obtainable once you have fully enrolled)
  • Most properties in England will be required to pay council tax. This is an annual fee which goes towards local services such as policing, fire services, support for the elderly, parks maintenance, rubbish collections and street cleaning. 
  • Students are usually exempt from paying council tax if everybody who rents is classed as a full-time student (this includes students on placement but NOT in SEGS/IGS/HSMP) or if you’re a student and your husband/wife/child who lives with you has a dependant visa. 
  • If you require evidence that you are a full-time student, you can download a letter from your e:vision portal when you are fully enrolled. You must send this letter to the local council so that you are not charged any council tax.

Which bank?

There are many different banks in the area and it's entirely up to you which bank you choose. Do some research into which bank is the best for you. Most banks have branches in Hanley, the city centre, which is about a 20-minute walk from the University.  

Bank statements 

Remember to keep your bank statements. If you need to apply for further leave to remain or to travel to another country, you’ll need to show the latest three months of bank statements. You can choose to set up your bank statements online from most banks. 

Lost or stolen bank cards  

If you lose your bank card or it is stolen, it's very important that you inform your bank immediately. Banks usually have a 24-hr service for this. You’ll be asked the last time that you had your card. The bank will stop your card which means it cannot be used in shops or cash machines and you’ll be sent a new card and usually a new PIN.  

Banking terms 

Banks tend to talk in their own language – don’t be put off or confused! 

Here are some banking and financial definitions to help you.

Understanding British currency 

It’s important to understand British currency, also known as sterling or GBP, so you’ll understand the costs and value of things. See this online guide about British money. 

Managing money 

Managing your money is a big task, but an important one. There are lots of resources available to help you manage your money. 

1. Money Saving Expert Student Budgeting Planner

2. Study International – 5 must-have budgeting apps for students.  

3. Visit a Money Doctor at Staffordshire University Students' Union to help plan your finances or get help when times are tough. 

4. For information on campus about managing money and where to access help, you can visit our Money Matter pages.  

If you’re experiencing financial problems then it's important to seek help immediately. It’s an uncomfortable situation but please don’t ignore it. It’s very important that you don't fall into debt. University policy states that tuition fee debtors cannot have their results, which can prevent you from progressing to the next year or may stop you graduating. 

If you have financial problems because of political situations in your home country, then you should contact your Embassy or High Commission for their advice. 

Your identity - be vigilant! 

Your identity and personal information are valuable. If criminals find out your personal details, they can use them to open bank accounts and get credit cards, loans, state benefits and documents such as passports and driving licenses in your name. 

The BBC Watchdog and Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee have information and advice on how to protect yourself, what to do if it happens to you, and where to get further help.