Banking & Mobile


Opening an account with any of the banks in Leeds requires a bank letter from the University of Leeds. However, before requesting a bank letter from the University during registration, you will need to choose one of the banks listed below.

Do note that there are three banks with offices on campus: Santander (in the Students’ Union), HSBC and Barclays (opposite the Parkinson Building). The list of banks available in Leeds, to name a few, are as follows:

Once you have made your choice, approach the relevant counter at the Student Services Centre in the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building. The staff will then address the letter to the bank of your choice. Do ensure that your name, as printed on the bank letter, is identical to that printed in your passport – this is important, as some banks may reject the bank letter issued by the University if your name is printed in the wrong order.

Next, proceed to your chosen Bank with the following items:

    • Valid Passport and Biometric Residence Permit or visa
    • Bank Letter from the University of Leeds
    • A letter with your local address.
        • For international students, some banks do not require this.
    • Minimum deposits and fees (Check for the requirements prior to opening an account)
        • Some banks require a minimum deposit to open certain accounts and also charge a monthly fee.
        • Certain bank accounts will also have a required minimum balance to be maintained in your account.

The duration taken to open an account varies from less than 48 hours to a week. However, do note that the busiest periods for the banks are in September, so if you are arriving in Leeds early, register with the University as soon as possible to receive the bank letter and head to the bank right away!

For more information with regards to opening a UK bank account, please visit the Banking Guide by the International Student Office here.

*It is possible to open a HSBC (UK) Current Savings Account in Singapore, and we actually recommend doing so as the process in UK can be very time-consuming, as the bank is usually swamped during Freshers’ Week.


There are a number of mobile phone operators in the UK, which operate similar plans as that in Singapore. There are post-paid plans (“contract schemes”) and pre-paid plans (“pay-as-you-go schemes”).

Most Singaporeans studying abroad opt for the “pay-as-you-go” scheme, as it is relatively fuss-free, since you can cancel/stop the service as and when you want to. We also tend to use either GiffGaff, which allows free calls between GiffGaff numbers, or Three, which has a strong reputation.

Unless you go for a contract, most “pay-as-you-go” phone operators will only provide SIM cards, which can be ordered online and delivered free in the mail. You will also be able to pick up a SIM card from any convenience store or supermarket in Leeds.

Mobile Phone Operators in UK:

* Leeds Singaporean Society will be giving out Giffgaff SIM Cards to freshers entering Leeds this fall during our meet and greet. 

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