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If you will be new to the UK, it is a good idea to open a bank account as soon as possible, as it can take some time for cards, PINs, cheque books etc to come through. Quite often, the freebies that banks offer to tempt new students are actually only available to first-year undergraduates, so check through any offers carefully. You may also want to check which branches have student advisers - not all of the banks have their student advisers working in branches in the city centre, and you may have to go to see these people before you can get an overdraft. Some banks are more willing to open accounts for, and are more generous with the facilities they provide to, overseas students than others, so it is worth checking out what each bank can offer. International students may find it more difficult to obtain an overdraft, debit card and cheque book than UK students, will sometimes be required to present more documents when opening the account - remember to take along the following when opening your new account:

  • Passport
  • University registration letters
  • Accommodation letter from your College, or a tenancy agreement if you are in private-sector accommodation, stating your residential address. (However, it is often advisable to have all your correspondence sent to the College Porters' Lodge rather than your residential address for security reasons.)
  • Confirmation letter about the sources of funding (e.g. letter from your sponsor, award, etc) / Bank Draft.
  • A recent bank statement or utilities bill confirming your previous address.

University and college letters should be printed on paper with the official letterhead. Some of the banks and building societies with branches in Cambridge are listed below.

  • Barclays (35 Sidney Street, 9-11 St Andrews Street)
  • Cooperative Bank (75 Burleigh Street)
  • Halifax (32/33 Petty Cury)
  • HSBC (63-64 St Andrews Street, 62 Hills Road, 58 Chesterton Road)
  • Lloyds TSB (3 Sidney Street, 95-97 Regent Street, 90a Mill Road, 78-80 Cherry Hinton Road)
  • Nationwide (26-27 Petty Cury)
  • NatWest (23 Market Street, 56 St Andrews Street, 36 Fitzroy Street)
  • Royal Bank of Scotland (28 Trinity Street, 82/88 Hills Road)
  • Santander (60 St Andrews Street, 49 Sidney Street)

Given the amount of time that a lot of students spend at their computers, many find online banking to be convenient. Most high street banks have online facilities.