Coming from outside UK and paying for halls Watch

heidigirl
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I've just got my residence offer and this is the bit that has me a) confused and b) frustrated.

It says if you're coming from overseas and don't have a UK bank account, you can choose 'Installments by direct debit (no UK bank account yet)' but then it says you have to complete a direct debit mandate by the first of October after later saying down the page it can take up to two weeks to open a bank account. :rolleyes:

I won't be arriving until the Saturday before enrolement week (which is what, the 25th?). No chance whatsoever of arriving before then. So what's the likelihood I can really get a bank account opened and have all the details, and direct debit set up in 6 days? Especially when I imagine there's a hundred other things I'll have to do that week and one of those days is a Sunday. Will there be banks open on a Saturday afternoon? Maybe if I arrive, leave my stuff and go straight to the bank to open an account it might just be possible if I get it sorted on the spot?

Or I can pick the 'someone else is paying' option and set up a direct debit to my sister's account and change it when I have my own bank account set up so I'm not running around like a headless chicken for the first day or two. Maybe that's more realistic (even thought it involves further hassles of cancelling that one and setting up another etc-or my sis just paying and me paying her back)?

The only other option is paying upfront by credit or debit card...yeah, not many people have a spare £3000 lying around, so essentially not an option.

Anywho 1) anyone have any idea how long it's really going to take to open a bank account?
2) does anyone else coming from abroad know what they're doing about it?
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FieldLeftBlank
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Payment Dates
The provisional payment dates for the 2010/2011 session are:

Wednesday 27 October 2010
Wednesday 26 January 2011
Wednesday 11 May 2011

In order to keep residences fees as low as possible, we require students to pay such fees promptly. Late payment will mean that you lose your entitlement to pay the fees at the rate quoted on your Residences Agreement and incur an initial 5% charge. If the payment remains outstanding after 15 days, you will incur a further 5% charge on the balance outstanding.
Are you sure? I mean, I haven't got my residence offer yet but that ^ kept me from worrying. Damn it.
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RightSaidJames
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I'd go for the "someone else is paying" option now then change it as soon as you've opened an account. As for opening a bank account in the first place, I know that the Student Union does Bank Letters for overseas students on demand (you just have to queue up), so I can't imagine it would take that long to open an account.
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heidigirl
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(Original post by FieldLeftBlank)
Are you sure? I mean, I haven't got my residence offer yet but that ^ kept me from worrying. Damn it.
Yeah, I know that's when the payment dates are, and I also assumed it would be fine so long as you get it sorted before then but the stuff with my residence agreement definitely says you have to send them a direct debit mandate by 1st Oct.

I know they probably have things they need to sort out at their end to make sure everyone's got their payments set up, but it seems a bit silly to on the one hand give you an option of 'I don't have a UK bank account yet' because they know lots of people won't, and yet expect you to have it all sorted barely days after you arrive while warning you it can take up to a fortnight to get a bank account sorted. I don't think they've thought the practicalities through. :rolleyes:

I think I'll probably just set up a direct debit from my sister's account and sort it out later.

I guess obviously you can't do that, but maybe email them and ask? They must have some sort of contingency plans where they give you a few more days if you haven't managed to get an account sorted, I guess... :dontknow:
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RightSaidJames
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Don't worry about the 1st October deadline, they probably won't notice and if they do you can just explain the circumstances to them. The Finance department are fairly flexible as long as you demonstrate that you intend to pay them.
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thesisomer
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(Original post by RightSaidJames)
Don't worry about the 1st October deadline, they probably won't notice and if they do you can just explain the circumstances to them. The Finance department are fairly flexible as long as you demonstrate that you intend to pay them.
The finance department at Cardiff hate me.

I've been concerned about this too. Apparently there is no way to get your bank letter before a certain date (otherwise I'd do it sometime when I'm in the country earlier in the month).

I'm too scared to ask the finance people about it, since they've been treating me so ridiculously lately. :/
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FieldLeftBlank
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Does anyone know if they charge an additional fee if you pay in full with credit/debit card? I mean like the 10-15 £ when you pay for plane tickets for instance but er... more significant?
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heidigirl
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(Original post by thesisomer)
The finance department at Cardiff hate me.

I've been concerned about this too. Apparently there is no way to get your bank letter before a certain date (otherwise I'd do it sometime when I'm in the country earlier in the month).

I'm too scared to ask the finance people about it, since they've been treating me so ridiculously lately. :/
I ended up just clicking 'I don't have a bank account yet'. I figure I'll get my bank account sorted asap when I arrive and then send them an email saying 'my bank account's being sorted out, I'll return the direct debit by x date'. Don't think they can really argue with that if they know they can expect you to return it as soon as you can and you make sure you let them know what's going on, even if it is a couple of days after their deadline. After all, you can't be expected to do the impossible.

And I figure you've already moved into halls, so the most they'll do if you don't hand in the direct debit on time is what, send you an email or a letter reminding you?
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c2uk
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(Original post by heidigirl)
And I figure you've already moved into halls, so the most they'll do if you don't hand in the direct debit on time is what, send you an email or a letter reminding you?
if you'll get thrown out (which I think is unlikely), I'm sure you'll find a place to stay easily. If all else fails, let me know, we've got a "guest" room, though you'd have to share it with the toys of my one-year old daughter

With regards to opening a bank account - not sure how it is nowadays, but back when I moved over here in 2003, it was a pain in the ass. HSBC told me straight in the face they couldn't open one since I could be a terrorist without the proper documentation, passports/IDs didn't matter to them, they needed a proof of residence/address - we had our IDs with us, the contract and letter from employer, even a letter from our German bank testifying our credibility, no use unless we showed them some form of proof of residence, but that wasn't possible for us since we lived in a hotel the first couple of weeks.

In the end, we ended up paying our first rent plus deposit (we didn't come as students but for a new job) with actual cash, was funny to pay £1500 with £20 notes, so that we could get the proof of address needed.

We then went with Natwest, since they were the most helpful and friendly, and if I remember it correctly, they could then set it up instantly.

tldr, take all the documents you have with you when opening a bank account.
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RightSaidJames
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(Original post by FieldLeftBlank)
Does anyone know if they charge an additional fee if you pay in full with credit/debit card? I mean like the 10-15 £ when you pay for plane tickets for instance but er... more significant?
Not as far as I know. They're not setting out to make a profit from you so it would be highly unlikely that they'd impose those kinds of charges.

(Original post by c2uk)
if you'll get thrown out (which I think is unlikely)
They're in a position of care so aren't allowed to do that just because a payment is overdue.

The overlying message is not to worry; the uni understands that international students will have these kinds of difficulties, and as long as you keep them up to date (preferably in person) there shouldn't be a problem. They're not going to send threatening letters or chuck you out, the only thing they will do is charge interest if you're late paying them, but that shouldn't be an issue as long as you get your bank organised as soon as possible.
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