E-current account provider Unizest has launched in the UK with support from Mastercard and Railsbank. Unizest’s mission goes beyond traditional fintech solutions, as the company aims to create the best start for international students beginning a new life in the UK.

In a simple and secure five-step onboarding process, Unizest allows students and workers coming to the UK to open an e-current account before they leave their home country. Upon arrival in the UK, customers receive their Debit Mastercard.

Helping universities attract international students to the UK 

The UK has long been a top education destination for international students. According to the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), for the academic year of 2019/20, the number of international students in the UK reached a record high of 538,600. There is no limit on the number of international students who can come to the UK to study.

The UK is looking to grow this further with the re-introduction of a ‘graduate route’ visa providing students the opportunity to stay and look for work in the UK after graduation. Currently many students choose to work during the course of their education to fund and support their studies. International University students are allowed to work part time up to 20 hours per week during term time, and full time during vacations, benefitting local businesses in University towns and cities.

Unizest recognises that a cause of friction for people who newly arrive in the UK for work and study, such as international students, is the simple need to open a bank account. The team’s mission is to support both students and workers with this important stage in the transition to life and work in the UK.

Matt Oldham, co-founder of Neofin Ventures - the company behind Unizest’s launch - says;

“Our aim with Unizest is to ensure that all newcomers to the UK, whether that be for work or for study, are given the best start when embarking on their new life here. We want to help smooth the transition by removing one of the biggest hurdles they face - setting up basic bank services”.

“By kick-starting the process of getting an account before students even arrive in the UK,  we are able to eliminate one of the many hurdles they face such as finding accommodation and overcoming potential language barriers. 

Support from industry partners

The GlobalPass supports students with all aspects of their global education including support with university applications, securing a student visa, and funding. Through their partnership with Unizest, students will also have access to information on opening a Unizest e-current account and its many benefits.

“The GlobalPass and Unizest collaboration is a perfect match. The GlobalPass is dedicated to helping students discover opportunities and make a smooth transition to a new country. Unizest helps facilitate this transition by being the only UK e-current account that students can open before they arrive in the UK,” say Adam Czach and Christian Atangana, co-founders of The GlobalPass.

Unizest’s partnership with Just Good Work demonstrates its commitment to empowering its end-users, by providing them with independent advice and guidance on life in the UK - including rights and obligations, recruitment and employment information, directly on the app.

“People coming to a new country to work or study are making a big life change. By partnering with Unizest, Just Good Work provides practical help and support at every stage in multiple languages. Whether that be understanding how things work here or getting sound advice in avoiding deception or exploitation. We are excited to be supporting Unizest, who share our desire to protect and support people newly arriving in the UK,” says Quintin Lake, director of Just Good Work.

Unizest has already attained Pending B Corp® status, reflecting its ambition to meet higher standards of transparency, accountability and performance.

More than a fintech solution

Offering a fairly priced fintech solution for overseas workers and students, Unizest customers can manage their money through the Unizest app - available to download on iOS and Android:

  • E-current accounts can be opened before arriving in the UK through a secure onboarding process including facial recognition. Once a UK address is confirmed, customers receive a contactless Debit Mastercard; 
  • Onboarding is five steps: the process links to Home Office Share Code to ensure customers have a confirmed right to reside in the UK, making the set up simple for Unizest users; 
  • Sending and receiving money both in the UK and overseas;
  • Setting up of direct debits;
  • Contactless payments;
  • ATM withdrawals;
  • Integrated ‘community’ feature with useful information, advice and tips in conjunction with Just Good Work
  • Partner offers - tailored discounts for products and services relevant to new-to-UK customers including education, training, travel, telecoms and groceries.

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