I’m starting a little series on some helpful hints/suggestions from my experience about getting through student life in the UK. Thought i would start with one of the most important ones – getting money from home to the UK.
Getting money from home to the UK is probably the most important thing you need to do once you’ve arrived – i was definitely more comfortable after doing it. I just wanted to share a couple of pieces of advice from my experience about how to approach it.
Firstly, do some research before you leave: Find out how much it costs to transfer money from your home country to the UK. For me, it would be a 3% fee on the amount i wanted to send over. Given i was going for a year, it was looking like i would have to pay $3000+ in fees… So i looked a bit deeper. I found that both Citibank and HSBC at the time i was looking, had branches in the UK and in Sydney – both of these banks offer free transfers if you have accounts with the bank in both countries. Not only is it free, the exchange rates are better than what your normal bank at home would offer (In Australia anyway).
Secondly, be prepared to wait a while before your account is available. Setting up an account outside your own country, particularly in the UK, can be tricky. It can be made more complicated if you are using HSBC or Citibank as they need to seek internal approval to verify you are eligible – for me, with Citibank, this took nearly 4 weeks. While its annoying its definitely annoying to wait, its definitely worth it as you will probably save a lot of money! (Unfortunately, Citibank has pulled their branches from London after Brexit – HSBC is still around though)