Friday, 2 August 2013

glasgow guide: getting a bank account.

Hello, friends!
It might be Friday, but dissertation writing is not a 9-5 job. Too bad for me.

I just had a lovely 30 minute conversation with my bank's hold ringtone. So I thought I'd kick off my new moving-to-Glasgow series with a guide to getting a Scottish bank account (for students). I found that as an international postgrad, I was a bit more on my own with figuring out this sort of thing than I might have been as an undergrad. Add to that the fact that I didn't have any flatmates or friends for the first few days to ask for advice, and you get a confused and lost American girl. 

sorry for the blurriness, but it's my first picture with Sam :)

Though other students may have kept their home bank accounts and not opened one here, I found that having a UK debit card makes life a lot simpler. Swipe cards are not popular here, and most card machines use the chip and pin system, more like an American debit card. It was also important to have a UK account because my student accommodation required me to either pay in full (yikes) or to set up direct debit, which means they take the money out of your account automatically. 

Once I got the gist of what getting a bank account would take, it was pretty easy. 

What you'll need:
-your passport
-proof of address
-letter of introduction (from your school)

The first item you should have. Make sure you don't lose it! If you live in student accommodation, like I did, you'll need to check with the desk at your residence and have them sign a form. Mine had it in the office. And for the letter of introduction, or a "bank letter," this is just proof from the school that you're an enrolled student, and gives the bank the dates you'll be studying. For Glasgow Uni, you'll need to fill out an online form and pick it up in the Fraser building. Some banks won't let you open an account if you're going to be in the country for less than a year. 

Armed with these documents, you'll need to go into the branch of the bank of your choosing. I bank with Lloyd's TSB, mostly because they had no minimum amount and had internet banking. Some banks don't have internet banking, so make sure to check before you decide. I made an appointment for a couple days after my initial visit. 
It was a very simple process. I handed over my documents, created a password, and filled out some paperwork. My debit card and pin arrived (separately) in the mail 3-4 days later. 

The nice thing about cards here is that taking money out of another bank's ATM doesn't cost you anything. Crazy, right? I always had to make a run to my bank in college before going anywhere on the weekend, just to avoid fees. 
I hope this is useful to you students who might be moving here. Let me know if you have any questions--I'm happy to help! And stay tuned for more moving-to-Glasgow posts.

Have a lovely weekend!

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All materials on this blog belong to me, unless stated otherwise. I try to give credit where it is due, but the internet is a vast wasteland of images separated from their creators. If you own something I post that is not attributed to you, please contact me and I will fix it stat. STAT. Like a doctor running down the hallways of the hospital to restart someone's heart. Exactly like that.