The unit of currency in the UK is the pound sterling (£). There are 100 pence in a pound. The coins that are in use are:

1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2

The notes in use are:

£5, £10, £20, £50


You can exchange foreign bank notes for pounds at a post office or foreign exchange shops such as Sainsbury and Asda in Canterbury.

It may take you a while to get used to the exchange rate from your country. The following website will help you calculate exchange rates

If you are staying for a long period of time in the UK and you wish to open a bank account here, be aware that this can be a complicated process, especially if you come from outside the EU!

A “basic bank account” is the type of account most readily set up by international students.  The process of opening a UK bank account can take around two weeks.

Save the Student can provide you with some useful tips and guides to opening an account.

Money Transfers

You can transfer money via the Western Union service.

You can also withdraw money from ATMs using your credit or debit card.

Bank Accounts

Setting up a bank account is not very easy in the Uk.

We can suggest the following:



These are online accounts that can be set up in minutes with much loser requirements than our high street banks.

Tax-free shopping

You can sometimes get VAT refunds on goods bought in the UK if you:

  • visit the UK but live outside the EU and are going back home
  • are an EU resident leaving the EU for 12 months or more?
  • are a non-EU resident but work or study in the UK and are leaving the EU for 12 months or more?

Not all retailers offer tax-free shopping, and you can only get VAT refunds for goods bought within the last 3 months.

How to get a VAT refund

  1. Get a VAT 407 form from the retailer – they might ask for proof that you are eligible, e.g. your passport.
  2. Show the goods, the completed form, and your receipts to customs at the point when you leave the EU (this might not be in the UK).
  3. Customs will approve your form if everything is in order. You then take the approved form to get paid.

If you are changing planes in an EU country and checking your goods with your luggage, you must do step 2 in the UK when you check in.

If you want to know more check out this website

Do you have questions? Do you need more information?

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