Tips with money for international students

The way that people use money – cash, credit and debit cards, online banking and payments – in the UK may differ from what you're used to.

We've pulled together some tips to help you when you first arrive in Manchester. 

Please note, The University of Manchester does not accept cash payments for tuition and accommodation fees.

We don't use much cash

The UK is rapidly becoming a more cash-less society. This means that we very rarely pay with cash when we buy something, preferring contactless payment by card, phone, or using an app – so make sure you have a payment card or app that works in the UK. 

We often don’t pay cash even when the amount is small  less than £5  so you don't need to carry much cash with you when you're out. 

UKCISA has more information on bringing cash to the UK, and you may also find the BBC article on the decline of cash in the UK helpful.

Setting up a bank account

Opening a bank account isn't hard, as long as you're well prepared, and there are both online and high street banks available.

Banks and building societies must make a status check on all new applicants for a current account. They mustn't open a current account for a person who requires immigration permission to be in the UK but who doesn't have it (that means, someone who is in the UK as an overstayer). If they do, the penalties for them can be severe so this means that you will have a more limited choice of accounts than a UK student. You will also have to provide documentation to prove that you have the right permission to be here.

Opening an account in the UK can take up to 14 days to complete, so you will need to factor in this time to your calculations.

Find out more about opening a bank account.

For more information visit UKCISA website on opening a bank account.

Be aware of fraud and scams

Fraud is a worldwide problem, but as an international student there are certain kinds of scams that you're especially vulnerable to. We therefore want you to be well-informed and as prepared as you can be to keep yourself and your money safe.

The UK Police, the Home Office, your bank, your Embassy, BorderForce or any other official organisation will never ask, demand or require you to move your money into another account or give your personal bank details over the phone, by email or online.

If someone is claiming to be from one of these organisations and telling you to do one of these things, don't be afraid to hang up or not reply.

Another way of spotting a fraud is when the other person tries to hurry, pressure or threaten you, or asks you to keep the contact secret. No legitimate organisation or business will do that so again, hang up, block the number or the email address. If they tell you to remain on the call or online, you should still end the call.

Visit our Student Support page to find out more about how to protect yourself against the different types of scams targeting students, and who to contact to report suspicious activity or your concerns about a call, text message or email you’ve received.