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 so we want you to be well-informed and as prepared as you can be to keep you and your money safe.

The most important piece of information you need is that 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 them 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 then you can hang up or not reply because it must be a fraud.

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.

If you're worried about a call, text message, or email you've received, you can always talk to us and we can advise you. You can speak to your ResLife team if you are in University accommodation or to your student support officer.

You can also prepare yourself by reading about the issue online before you come and here are some good sources to help:

If you have made a money transfer to the person who contacted you, or as the result of a scam, contact the fraud unit at your bank immediately.

The important thing to remember if you do lose money in a scam is that it's not your fault and you didn’t do anything wrong. These criminals make a good living out of what they do and they are good at it. Please come and talk to us and we can make sure you get access to the support you need. You can also contact Victim Support by calling 0161 200 1950 or emailing

With your permission and never using your name, we can also make sure that other students are aware of the fraud and so can be more prepared. You can use the same contacts as above  ResLife and your student support officer, as well as Action Fraud.