Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. What is UniZest?

    UniZest is the company that offers the Aspire account. It has been established to focus specifically on providing international students coming to the UK to study with the very best services and products.
  • 2. How safe is my money?

    The safety and security of your funds are our highest priority. The accounts are fully regulated by the FCA in the UK and all your money is secured within ‘ring-fenced’ accounts. This means that no matter what happens to either UniZest Ltd or our partner, the Contis Group, your funds are protected.

  • 3. How long does it take to open an account?

    If you have all the relevant documents, then the application process should take you no longer than 10 minutes. Once we have received your application, we aim to get back to you with an answer within 2 working days. If the application is successful, you then just need to arrange the delivery of your card and pay the delivery fee. The account will be opened straightaway.

  • 4. What documents / information do I need for my application?

    You will need to upload a copy of an identity document - passport or national ID card - and the letter or email which confirms your unconditional place at University or College in the UK. You will also need to provide your personal details, international address and a shipping address.
    You can start your application even before you have all the required documents.

  • 5. When do I receive my card?

    It depends on the shipping option you choose.

    If you want the card delivered to an EU address, then it will take approximately 6-7 working days from the moment you have paid the delivery charge. The card will be shipped to you by FedEx and you will be able to track it.

    If you want the card delivered to a UK address, we will need to know the day when you will be at that address. If you are already in the UK when you pay for the delivery, then the card should be with you in 5-6 working days. If you are not in the UK when you pay for the delivery, then we will manufacture the card (a process which takes approximately 4 working days) and then ship it overnight once you have confirmed your UK arrival.

  • 6. How can my parents transfer me money?

    Your parents can transfer you money from an international bank account directly to your Aspire account using the incorporated Foreign Exchange service. They can also use some other money transfer services if they wish.

    You can find detailed information about how to use the FX service in the Paying-In-Money Guide.

    The steps are:

    • Choose the currency.
    • Enter the amount you want to transfer or receive and get your quote.
    • Choose the payment method and confirm the trade.
    • Pay for the trade by bank transfer or debit / credit card.
    • Receive GBP into your Aspire Account in approximately 3 working days.

    You can also transfer GBP from an international account to your Aspire account going through the same process.

  • 7. What are the running costs for the account?

    There is a £3 monthly management fee and additional minor charges for some other services which are detailed here – Aspire Account Customer Fees. However, we do hope that the cashback rewards earned by using the Aspire card when shopping with certain retailers will offset these charges.

  • 8. How do I close my account?

    There are no penalties for anyone wishing to close their Aspire account. You can close your account at any time by sending an email to info@unizest.co.uk.

    There is a small charge of £5.00 for the transfer of any funds still in the Aspire account to an alternate account provider.

    If your account is dormant for a period of 3 months or more and you have not responded to any communications, then the account may be closed by UniZest.

(Not so) Frequently Asked Questions

1. Information about the Aspire account

The Aspire account is an online account created specifically for international students coming to study in the UK, which can be opened before the students leave their home countries.
The account and associated card is an electronic money product and it is a product regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), but it is not covered by the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme). We however ensure that any funds received by you are held in a segregated account so that, should UniZest or the Contis Group become insolvent, your funds will be protected against claims made by creditors.
No, UniZest is not a bank. UniZest has created the Aspire account to provide services that traditional banks cannot. We work with two partners - the Contis Group and GCEN (Global Currency Exchange Network) - to provide the Aspire account.
UniZest does not need to be licensed or regulated by the FCA in the UK as both of the partners we are working with are fully regulated and compliant to all governmental and supervisory regulations.
It costs nothing to open your Aspire account.
You will only need to pay the delivery charge to safely ship the Aspire Visa Debit card to you. The fee will depend on the address where you would like the card delivered to. You only need to pay this charge once your application has been fully approved and the account is ready to be opened.
Yes, there is a £3 monthly management fee.
An account number is an 8-digit number used as the primary identifier for ownership of an account, whereas a sort-code is a 6-digit number used to identify the bank and branch where the account is held. Our accounts are held in a NatWest Bank, so the sort-code is linked to the branch in Skipton of the NatWest Bank.
You can find these written on your card and in the TOP-UP tab of your Aspire account.
An online account offers very similar functionalities to a standard bank account. The only difference would be that UniZest does not have any branches and all of the communications with the customer are done either online or by phone. Since there are no branches then it is not possible to pay a cheque into your Aspire account.
You can, but you can only apply after you have arrived in the UK and the application process can take several weeks from your arrival. With UniZest you arrive in the UK with your Aspire account already active, leaving you free to concentrate on settling into your new life.
We don't claim to be better than the high street banks but you can open an Aspire account quickly and easily before you leave for the UK. If you compare the savings you get using the integrated Foreign Exchange (FX) service to convert your home currency into Pounds and the cashback rewards versus the banks, then you will see that the Aspire account is a smart choice.
No, there is no overdraft facility.
You can start using the Aspire account to deposit funds in and pay money out as soon as it is opened, even before you receive your card.
The card can be used once you have received and activated it quickly and easily online.
Yes, you can access the website www.unizest.co.uk (and your account respectively), which is mobile and tablet-friendly.

2. Applying for an Aspire Account

You can start completing the application process and return to it when you receive the university unconditional offer. The progress will be saved.
We will not be able to approve your application without an unconditional offer.
You don’t need your UK address to apply for an Aspire account. We ask you to enter your home address and the address where you would like the card shipped to.
Unfortunately, we are not able to ship cards outside the EU. If you are from a non-EU country, you can get your card delivered when you arrive in the UK. Don’t worry if you don’t know your UK address at the moment of your application, you can update it later.
Yes, you are. The minimum age for an Aspire account holder is 16.
Yes, the Aspire account is for both EU and non-EU students.
It does not necessarily have to be a place at University. It can be a College, Language School or other UK educational institution.
Once we receive your application, we will pass it through compliance. If something is missing or is unclear, we will be in touch and ask for more information. If all the documents and details meet the requirements, then we will send you a congratulations email, letting you know that the application has been approved. The next step would be to arrange the delivery of your card, pay the delivery fee, and then your account is open. Exciting, isn’t it?
We aim to get back to you in 2 working days from when you submit the application.
We will monitor your departure date to make sure that the card gets to you before you leave for the UK (if you live in the EU) or you receive it the following day after arriving in the UK.
If the departure date changes, please do let us know in order to avoid any delays or inconveniences.
You don’t have to. You can also apply when you get here, but we do think that having a fully operational account when you first arrive will make your first few weeks in the UK easier and less stressful. It also means that your Aspire card will be produced ready for you and can then be sent to you as soon as you arrive in the UK.

3. Delivery of the card

To the EU: through FedEx; To the UK: you get to choose between Royal Mail and FedEx;
The FedEx delivery cost is calculated based on the address provided. We have negotiated a significant discount for you with FedEx to provide this service.
There are two options for the Royal Mail delivery: First Class (£3.65) or Signed For (£6.75).
Yes, you can change the shipping address and delivery method up to the moment when the Visa Debit card leaves our office. All you have to do is contact us by email (info@unizest.co.uk) or phone (+44(0) 207 205 2500).
No. FedEx are our preferred partner for secure delivery of your Aspire Visa Debit card to the EU. We have also agreed a significant discount for you with FedEx to provide this service.

4. Using the Aspire Account

Yes, you can use the online banking for everything. Once the account has been opened, you just need to log in at www.unizest.co.uk using your email address and password. In your account you will find a User Guide and a Paying-In-Money Guide. If you still have questions, you can contact us anytime.
It is quite easy to transfer funds to another account in the UK. You will need to know the Payee name, Account number and Sort-code. You can choose from 3 transfer options: Bank Transfer (3 working days), Next Day BACS or Same Day CHAPS.
If the recipient is an Aspire account holder as well, you can use the free and instant Aspire-to-Aspire transfer service.
Yes, you can transfer funds to an international account. You need to know the Payee name, Bank, Country, IBAN, BIC and address.
It depends on the payment method chosen by the remitter of the funds. Most of the transfers received from another UK bank account will be in your Aspire account in 2 hours if they are done as a Faster Payment. However, it can also take up to 3 working days.
Yes, you can access your account from all over the world. All you need is an internet connection.
You can use the PayPoint service to load your account with cash in one of the 29,000 PayPoint locations across the UK. By entering your postcode at www.paypoint.com you will be able to find the closest PayPoint stores.
The process is very simple. All you need is your Aspire Visa Debit card and your cash. The PayPoint merchant will scan your card ad take your cash. They will provide you with a receipt for the cash deposit. You will be charged £1.00 + 3% of the amount for this service by PayPoint.
A pending transaction is a payment which has been authorised but it hasn’t yet been settled by the merchant. Most of the pending transactions will result in actual payments. If this does not happen in 7 working days, then the money will be returned to your balance.
When you have pending transactions, you will see a difference between the ‘Account balance’ and the ‘Available to spend on card’ balance. Under the My Account section, you can see a list of the reserved transactions which are still pending.
Currently, this feature is not available in the Aspire account.
You can however set up Standing Orders, which are regular payments to other people or organisations that can be amended or cancelled as and when you like. The difference between the two is that a Direct Debit allows that company to take whatever funds they believe they are owed from your account. With a Standing Order you are in control of what funds leave your account and when.

5. Using the Visa Debit Card

Once you have received the card, the first thing to do is to activate it. This is done by logging in to your Aspire account and going to My Cards. You enter the 16 digits card number as well as the activation code we send you by email and your card is activated.
After you activate your card you can retrieve your PIN online. This option allows you to check your PIN at any time if you forget it for any reason. It is a very simple online process.
Alternatively you can call Customer Support on +44(0) 207 205 2500 and select the relevant option from the menu.
Yes, you can do this at any cash machine (ATM) in the UK that offers this service.
Yes, your card is accepted globally wherever Visa is accepted. If you make a purchase or an ATM withdrawal in any other currency, we will convert the sum into UK Pounds sterling using the exchange rate set by Visa on the day they process the transaction.
You can check the charges here: Aspire Account Customer Fees.
A cashback reward means that a certain percentage of the amount you spend when shopping with your Aspire card at one of our partner retailers is paid back to your account the following month.
The cash rebates are calculated based on purchases made in the period from 25th of the month up to the 24th of the following month. You will get the cashback in your account in the month following this calculation.
We are continuously working to update the list of retailers that offer you cashback. Currently, the list includes merchants such as Marks & Spencer, Argos, Debenhams, Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge.
Yes, you can use the card wherever Visa cards are accepted, both in the UK and abroad.
Yes, you can use the card in any cash machine (ATM). You get 4 free ATM withdrawals per month. For any additional withdrawal, there will be a £0.75 charge.
You can withdraw up to £300 in any one day, providing you have sufficient funds in your Aspire account.
Yes, you have the option to block and unblock your card in your Aspire account whenever you like. However it is worth bearing in mind that you can also use the card outside the UK.
You can go back to the retailer and return the goods, hand them your card and they will place the refund back on your card. Please note, this will be subject to the retailer's terms & conditions.

6. Funding the Account

We do not charge any fees when you transfer your international currency through a bank transfer. If you decide to pay by debit / credit card, then there is a 3% admin fee.
Also, if you want to transfer GBP from an international account to your Aspire account, then there is a £5+0.5% charge.
We have 135 currencies in the FX service, so the chances you will not find your currency in our list are quite low. (FYI There is a total of 180 currencies across the world recognised by the United Nations.)
The minimum amount is £1.
The maximum amount for a bank transfer is £20,000 and for a credit / debit card payment is £10,000 for each transfer. If you need to transfer more than the limit then you can contact us directly and we’ll help to facilitate your transfer.
It depends on the payment method you choose and the actual moment when the bank or card facilitator process the transfer.
Bank transfers take on average 2-3 working days whereas card payments take 3-4 working days. There might be exceptions of course.
No. UniZest does not have any branches, so you can’t pay cheques into your Aspire account.

7. General Queries

The easiest way to stop your card is by going to www.unizest.co.uk and signing into your account. Just select the tab MY CARDS and then select the BLOCK option if you have misplaced your card or select the LOST / STOLEN option to report card status.
Another option is to call our 24-hour support line for lost or stolen cards on 0333 202 3645.
When you report the card as lost / stolen, you are asked if you want to order a replacement card as well. There is a £10 charge for the new card.
If your card has been damaged, you will need to report it as lost / stolen and order a new one.
You update your personal information from the ‘Profile’ tab within your account. You need to keep these details updated to avoid any potential problems with your account.
Once you are in the UK you need to update your UK Address and, possibly, your mobile number.
You need to immediately block your card by going to MY CARDS and selecting the BLOCK option. You then need to contact us and explain what the problem is. We will do our best to investigate and sort the problem out as soon as possible.
You can have a maximum of £30,000 in the account at any given time. There is no minimum amount as long as the balance is positive. As there is a £3 monthly account management fee, you will need to monitor the balance in the account and ensure that you have sufficient funds.
Your Aspire account does not have an IBAN. However, when you transfer funds using the Foreign Exchange (FX) service, you are given an IBAN and account details for your fund transfer. (For example, if you are transferring EUR, you will be given the IBAN of the EUR account, if you are transferring USD, you will be given the IBAN of the USD account..)
No, you don’t get a savings account with your Aspire account.
You can call our Customer Services team on +44(0) 207 205 2500 between the hours of: 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am - 4pm Saturdays excluding UK Public Holidays. Or email us at info@unizest.co.uk.
We don’t have a live chat but we aim to respond to the emails we receive at info@unizest.co.uk as soon as possible. You can call us on +44(0) 207 205 2500 between the hours of: 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am - 4pm Saturdays excluding UK Public Holidays.
You can choose to use our SMS or email service to request notifications on your balance, purchases or transfers to your account.
Yes, you can, as long as you are resident in the UK.
You just need to contact us on +44(0) 207 205 2500 or send us an email at info@unizest.co.uk.
You can read what our existing customers have to say about UniZest and the Aspire account on the “Aspire Account” page.
Yes, you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube.

Opening Hours

Our Holiday Opening Hours

Happy Holidays!

All of your team at UniZest would like to wish you a very joyful Festive Season and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Our Customer Service team will still be available over the festive season to answer your emails and if you need to talk to us, the following are our call centre opening hours:

Tuesday 24th December: 10:00 – 14:00
Wednesday 25th December: Closed
Thursday 26th December: Closed
Friday 27th December: 10:00 – 14:00
Saturday 28th December: 10:00 – 14:00
Sunday 29th December: Closed
Monday 30th December: 09:00 – 17:00

Tuesday 31st December: 10:00 – 14:00

Wednesday 1st January: Closed

Thursday 2nd January: 09:00 – 17:00

We look forward to assisting you in 2020.

Best wishes,

Email: info@unizest.co.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)207 205 2500




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