UCL Students Abroad
London Nightline

Confidential listening, support and practical information for students in London

Telephone: 0207 631 0101

Email: listening@nightline.org.uk

Online: Skype/IM

Money

Please use the links below to access information about managing your money whilst on your year abroad. For information about insurance refunds, please contact the Study Abroad Team.

 Most UK bank cards will allow you to withdraw money from ATM machines abroad, allowing you to continue all your banking arrangements via your bank account at home. Do check on the charges incurred, however, as they can vary from bank to bank and can be considerable if you make a large number of withdrawals.


An alternative to using your credit or debit card to access money abroad is to purchase a pre-paid foreign currency card. This is a chip-and-pin-protected card which you can top up by cash, debit card, credit card or bank transfer, and then use to withdraw money or make purchases overseas. The principal advantage of a pre-paid card over a credit or debit card is that, when withdrawing cash from an ATM overseas, you will typically be charged a fixed withdrawal fee rather than a percentage commission. However, as with credit and debit cards, fees and charges do apply, so investigate the different options carefully to determine which is the most convenient and inexpensive method of accessing your cash while abroad. Providers of pre-paid foreign currency cards include the Post Office (Travel Money Card), FairFX (Euro Currency Card, US Dollar Card and Anywhere Card) and Travelex (Cash Passport).

You may wish to open a local bank account, for example if you are receiving a salary or to receive your CAF in France. If you know you will need an account, think about getting one before you go through your home bank - HSBC for example can offer accounts in 49 different countries. Be aware that if you are only in the country for a short time (5 months for example) then you may have difficulty opening an account.

In general, to open a bank account abroad you will need some or all of the following documents

  • Valid passport
  • Local residency permit*
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of student status
  • A sum of money to deposit

Questionnaires from past study abroad students can provide useful advice on whether opening an account is necessary and, where relevant, which banks are recommended.

 If you find yourself in a position of financial hardship, UCL Student Funding Office can offer you support even if you are overseas. Please see below for contact details:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 0004
Email: studentfunding@ucl.ac.uk

The Student Funding Office is open Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm for telephone and email enquiries

You can also contact the Study Abroad Team to discuss your concerns if you prefer.

Updates regarding your Erasmus grant payments will be emailed to you directly. Please remember that the Erasmus grant should not be relied upon as a source of income and should be looked upon as a supplementary amount. You should therefore make arrangements to have enough funds to cover you for your arrival and first month or so. 

More information about the Erasmus grant can be found in our Erasmus Grant FAQ

Page last modified on 06 sep 13 13:19