Essential financial information, including how to open a bank account and pay your fees
How do I pay my tuition fees?
Students starting in October:
- In full by the first day of term 1 (October)
- In 2 equal instalments due on the first day of term 1 (October) and the first day of term 2 (January)
Students with non-standard start dates:
- Within 15 days of the invoice date
- In 2 equal instalments, which can be viewed from the Payment Portal facility, as soon as an invoice has been issued
Payments can be made:
- Online by debit or credit card via the Payment Portal.
If you do not have an invoice you can pay in advance by selecting ‘Add Other Payments’.
- Bank Transfer:
Bank Name: Barclays Bank
Account Name: Lancaster University
Account No: 40981516
Sort Code: 20-55-34
IBAN: GB 74 BARC 2055 3440 9815 16
BIC/Swift: BARC GB 22
Bank Address: Barclays Business Centre, Manchester City Office, PO Box 357, 51 Mosley Street, Manchester, M60 2AU
Please quote student/applicant ID and invoice number (if known) as your Reference
- International Bank Transfer/Payment via Western Union
Lancaster University has partnered with Western Union to allow students, their families or their sponsors the opportunity to securely pay tuition and/or accommodation fees in their local currency.
To obtain a quote and payment instructions please go to the University’s Payment Portal and select International & Other Payment Methods.
- Over the Phone
Card payments can be taken by calling the Cashiers Office on +44 1524 593316 or 592048
- Bankers Drafts or Cheques
Payable to Lancaster University should be sent to the Cashiers Office, A Floor, University House, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, United Kingdom.
Please quote student/applicant ID and invoice number (if known) with all payments
Students can also view their online fees statement, which will show any issued tuition fee invoices and payments, via the Student Portal.
What documents will I need to open a bank account?
Documents needed for a UK bank account
How long will it take?
It could take 4 weeks or more to open a UK bank account in Term 1. Don’t rely on cash for your first few weeks. Before leaving your home country, open a bank account which you can use for your first weeks.
Different banks will accept different types of documents, so it is important that you check the documents required for your chosen bank account. These are the most commonly required documents to open a UK student bank account.
Proof of identity (ID)
E.g. a passport, UK drivers licence, National ID card, Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Card. The ID document usually needs to contain your photo, and most banks will also want to see your BRP card (if you have one) as proof of your immigration permission in the UK. If you're booking an appointment with the bank, it is a good idea to allow yourself enough time to collect your BRP card once you have arrived in the UK, so that you can attend your appointment with your BRP card.
Proof of (UK) address
Many banks will ask for proof of a UK address in order to open a UK bank account. E.g. a recent utility bill; bank statement; UK driver's licence (if this was not already used as your proof of identity). Some banks will accept a student status letter (confirmation of registration) as proof of your UK address; whereas others may not. Some banks will accept a recent signed tenancy agreement as proof of address, whereas others may not. It is important to check with the bank's e.g. on their web pages to make sure you collect the correct documents.
Proof of student status (if you are applying for a student account)
If you are applying for a Student Account, you may need to request a Confirmation of Registration document shortly after enrolment (instructions on how to order this can be found here. Alternatively, some banks may accept a Student ID card offered by the University, or a confirmed conditional or unconditional offer letter, or UCAS confirmation of your offer for your course.
The accepted documents vary between banks, so please check the required documents carefully.
If in doubt, take as many different types of proof as possible, and check with your chosen bank if they will accept your documents.
How do I open an account?
COVID Update: It is more important than ever to open a bank account before you arrive in the UK.
Before leaving your home country, you should arrange an international bank account or bank card with which you will be able to make card or online payments for basic necessities once you arrive in the UK. (e.g. University fees; rent; food or groceries and other living essentials).
This would make it easier for you to buy food and other essentials in case you have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, as many places will likely rely on online ordering and payment. Avoid bringing large amounts of cash to the UK - it is not a safe way to store your funds, and a number of places may not accept cash payments in light of the pandemic.
The UK government's list of countries from which passengers need to self-isolate upon arrival could change shortly before your planned arrival date. We strongly recommend that you arrange an international account or bank card to facilitate a 14 day self-isolation period upon arrival, even if you currently are not required to do so. A bank account or bank card should usually also be a safer way of storing your funds than carrying a lot of cash in to the UK.
Many UK banks have introduced 'digital first' account opening processes, meaning that you would apply online and they will try to verify your documents electronically if possible. If they are unable to do so, you may need to go into a branch to show them your documents or provide further information to the bank - your chosen bank will give you instructions to follow.
The University does not recommend one bank or another to you. However, you may find some of these external comparison sites useful:
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and we always recommend that you do your own research too.
Here are some important questions to consider, in order to help you make your decision:
- Will it allow me to set up a direct debit; or recurring payments e.g. for subscriptions?
- Can I use this account to make payments in shops or online?
- Is there a cost of receiving money from; or paying money to an overseas bank account?
- Are there any fees for opening the account? If there is a fee for opening the account, are there any extra benefits (e.g. interest rates; or lower fees for overseas payments?)
- When can I open the account? If you are applying for a student bank account, you may (depending on the bank's requirements) need to wait until you have fully enrolled on your course at University before you can open the bank account. Similarly for a UK bank account, you may need to wait until you can show proof of a UK address before the account can be fully used.
- Is there a minimum course length requirement? (some bank accounts require you to be on a course which will last at least 12 months in order to be eligible for the account)
- Will I be able to have an overdraft? Will it be a credit or a debit account?
- Will I be provided with regular bank statements, which meet the Home Office requirements for a visa application? (This will be important in case you ever need to apply to extend your visa from inside the UK.
- What other benefits can I get with this bank account? Some banks offer additional benefits for opening an account with them. Carefully consider whether the additional benefits are useful for you and your circumstances.
- How far away is the local branch? – consider how important this is for you, since many transactions can now be done via online or telephone banking.
Digital or international banking solutions
In recent years, many digital banking solutions have become available, which allow you to have an online banking solution from abroad, before arriving in the UK.
Even if this is not a good solution for you in the long term, we recommend arranging a temporary account for you to use in your first few weeks, to avoid carrying a lot of cash (thefts of cash can, and do happen, even to Lancaster students!) and also because many places in the UK now only accept card payments.
Remember that these tend to be online or telephone services only, so you wouldn't have a local branch to go to in case of difficulty.
As this is often not the same as opening a UK bank account, you may need to check with your provider if you will be able to set up Direct Debits to a UK account, and whether the bank card can be used to make payments in local shops or online.
If you are planning to use Union Pay, please be aware that many retailers in the UK do not accept this as a means of payment, including several large supermarkets. Please make sure that you therefore bring another means of paying for items online (such as a Visa or Mastercard card) whilst you are waiting for your UK bank account to open.
Below are some links to such providers - please remember to check their terms and conditions carefully, to make sure that these banking solutions can meet your needs, and that they are regulated by a recognised financial regulatory body (e.g. the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
The University does not recommend any one account to you.
You may be able to arrange a digital banking solution from abroad. Examples are listed below, but there are many options available.
Please be aware that some of these may not be available if you live outside the EU or EEA.
Some global banks also offer an international bank account. Examples of banks which offer such services include:
Alternatively, try speaking to your bank in your home country to see if they offer an account which could meet your needs.
Remember, other banks are available, and the University does not recommend any particular bank or bank account to you.
Can my spouse or partner open a bank account?
If your spouse or partner is coming to the UK and is planning to work, it should be possible for him/her to open a bank account. They will need to show their passport, a contract of employment and proof of address in the UK.
Will I receive financial assistance in the UK?
We advise you not to assume that you will be able to receive any financial help from the University or that you will be able to earn money by working. The University awards are very limited and highly competitive. You should also note that you will have to show evidence of adequate funds when applying for your visa. For more information about funding awards, please visit the Student Funding Service website.
If you are in receipt of a scholarship from your home country, the British Council or any other organisational source, you should check that you will receive enough money to cover all expenses and that you obtain written confirmation of your award.
What expenses should I expect?
Students report spending about £300 on settling-in, which would include buying warm clothes, bedding, kitchen and cooking equipment, the cost of joining societies and buying bus/train travel passes. To help you budget, please see the International Student Calculator. Here are some expenses to consider:
You may want to consider purchasing additional insurance for valuable items, and/or medical insurance to protect yourself. Both can be provided by Endsleigh.
You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it is being broadcast (including via devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder). It costs £147 for a television licence.
This is a UK Government tax on property. Full-time students are not required to pay this tax, whether living on or off-campus. However, if a student is living in a property with a non-student spouse (ie husband or wife), the spouse will be liable to pay Council Tax unless he or she is subject to immigration control, in which case, they will be exempt from payment.
Generally, the UK benefits from a climate which is comfortable – not too cold in the winter and not too hot in the summer. Nevertheless, some students find they need to buy extra warm, waterproof clothing for the British weather. If you come from a hot climate it might be cheaper to buy warm clothes once you arrive in the UK.
The standard electricity supply in Britain is 220/240 volts, 50 cycles AC and the standard outlet is a 13 amp square pin plug. If you are intending to bring any items of electrical equipment such as hairdryers, make sure they can operate on the British system and bring any voltage or plug adaptors with you as they are difficult to buy in Britain. Many items of electrical equipment may be purchased inexpensively in the UK.
Food and Drink
There are various food outlets on campus. If you eat all your meals at the University outlets this will cost you approximately £90 per week. Your costs will be much lower if you cook your own food. There are two small supermarkets on campus, with larger stores like Sainsbury in Lancaster. Halal meat can be obtained in the town and many students prefer to make an occasional trip to Manchester for further variety.
Most shops will open at 9am and close again at 5.30pm, though supermarkets have longer hours. Some shops don’t open on Sundays. You can order groceries online for home delivery from the larger local supermarkets (Sainsbury, ASDA, Tesco) and the surrounding district also has plenty of typical English pubs ie public houses and inns. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are served and many provide food, either snacks or full meals.
The water is safe to drink from the taps – you do not need to buy bottled water.
The Spar (the supermarket on campus) sells some basic items of cookware and you may also want to consider catching the bus to Lancaster City centre where there are numerous shops selling cooking equipment, bedding, towels etc. Try Lancaster Market, Wilkinson’s, Argos or any of the independent shops in town. Alternatively, see the independent website of the company Click2 which sells useful kitchen and other items. You can order these in advance of arrival for delivery direct to your Lancaster accommodation.