If you are planning to make a move to the United Kingdom in the near future, you will undoubtedly have a lot to do. Moving to a new country can be overwhelming if you aren’t familiar with the territory and local laws and regulations. You may not know what to do first and prioritize your tasks. One of the most important things that you should do first if you are arriving to reside in the U.K. Is opening a bank account in the UK. If you do not have one, your daily life will surely be interrupted. If you are working, then you need a place to deposit and cash your checks. You also have no place to withdrawal cash or make purchases online. This should be the second thing you do after getting your immigration papers finalized.
- 1 Start Getting Prepared
- 2 Choosing Your New Bank
- 3 Necessary Documentation Top Open a bank Account in the UK
- 4 Types of Acceptable Documentation
- 5 What If I Just Moved?
- 6 Another Option Available to You
- 7 More Documents that Prove Residence
- 8 Features That You Want to Have
- 9 Other Ways to Set up a Bank Account
- 10 The Top Known Banks in the UK
- 11 Dealing With ATM Fees
- 12 Non-resident UK Bank Accounts
Start Getting Prepared
You definitely should learn sooner than later how to open a bank account in the UK. There are certain rules and regulations that banks are required to follow. They can be pretty strict. Banks have very little wiggle room in the process. If you spend time reading articles and getting yourself ready to move, instead of putting everything off until the last minute, you can be ready for anything that a new place can throw at you!
Choosing Your New Bank
Remember that the biggest bank may not necessarily be the best bank for you personally. For newcomers to a new country, it may have certain advantages, however. They have more experience in dealing with transactions of a foreign nature. There is also more locations to choose from. This can be a good thing if you have not gotten an address yet and are still in the location deciding process.
Necessary Documentation Top Open a bank Account in the UK
The United Kingdom has very strict laws when it comes to new immigrants opening up a UK bank account. This is to prevent money-laundering and other illegal schemes. If you deviate at all from the required list of documentation, it will result in a delay in services. Bring original documents, not online statements that you printed up. You may be denied if it can not be verified as an original. You will need a few types of paperwork.
- Bring with you a proof of Identity
- Proof of where you live otherwise known as residency
- Make sure to have individual documents for each category. It is very rare that you can use one document for both categories.
Types of Acceptable Documentation
In order to open your account in the UK, there are a few different things that you can bring. On hand to have with you, your passport, driving license or Identity Card for EU Nationals. You are also going to need proof of residency within the United Kingdom. It can’t be said for sure what is acceptable as proof of your address. All banks have their regulations and standards on what meets the requirements to prove where you live. In general, the following items should suffice to meet the second requirement.
- A Tenant/Landlord agreement from a housing agency or large apartment complex. If you rent from a solo renter, it may be more difficult to get them to accept that.
- Bring with you a mortgage statement if you bought a new house
- A recent bill from the electric or gas company that is less than 90 days old.
- Your most recent bank or credit card statement that arrived in the mail. Do not bring a bill that has been printed off the internet.
- A current council tax bill.
What If I Just Moved?
The problem that you may run into is that you haven’t lived anywhere long enough to run up a bill yet. This would make some of those documents impossible to get just quite yet. Banks do understand your dilemma and have become more flexible in terms of what they will accept as proof of your address. For students studying in the UK, bringing a letter from the admissions office at your University that confirms your address should be acceptable.
Another Option Available to You
Another option that you have is obtaining a letter from a place called Jobcentre Plus. They can confirm your National Insurance number. Your employer can also write you a letter if it is less than 90 days old. If you prepare in advance, before you move to the UK, go to your current bank and ask them to change your correspondence address to your new UK address. This should also be able to be done quickly online. Once your address has been changed, ask your bank to send a current bank statement to your new address by mail. You will then have a document that proves your new address.
More Documents that Prove Residence
In more detail, you can use the following types of documents to prove your residency.
- Bring your driver’s license from the U.K. with you. This is okay if you haven’t used it to fulfill the other requirement.
- If you have a credit card or bank statement from a place outside the country, bring it with you. If it is less than three months old, it should be okay
- If you have bought a house recently, that paperwork should suffice.
- A recent Council Tax bill or payment book or an exemption certificate.
- A Council/Housing Association tenancy agreement from an apartment complex or multiple properties. Solo Private tenant agreements may not be accepted
- Proof of payment to Council with a receipt in the last year
- A National Jobcentre Plus letter showing your National Insurance number that is less than three months old.
- An electric or other utility bill or a letter from them that states you receive service from the company.
- A Direct Debit schedule can be shown as proof of address.
- You can also have a letter from TV License. You need to have your name and address on it legible. It must also prove that you have a TV License.
Features That You Want to Have
When opening a bank account in the UK, It may be wise to decide to do business with a bank that offers more than just a basic account. Most places now offer online banking and an ATM card. They have become necessities in daily life today. You also need to check the bank fees at a few different banks to find the most reasonable charges. It is imperative to make sure that the type of account that you choose has the services you need, but isn’t charging you for ones that you don’t. Speaking to one of the largest banks in the UK will be beneficial because the employees are experienced in assisting new residents in opening up completely new accounts. Take a look at the different bank websites to find the best fit for you. There are plenty of options to choose from.
Other Ways to Set up a Bank Account
There is another way to set up a bank account in the UK if you want to avoid setting it up at the bank’s location. You can buy, for a small fee, a bank account setup package before you depart your home country or when you first get to the UK. There are third party companies out there who can assist you with setting up a full bank account, including a debit card and online banking. These companies can be a huge asset. Some even have Jon assistance and UK SIM cards. If you don’t have a job yet or an electric bill in your name, they can be a huge help. You need a valid passport and a valid visa.
The Top Known Banks in the UK
There are a handful of large banks that you can deal with in the United Kingdom. The biggest four banks are:
If you want to set up your new account with one of the oldest banks in the United Kingdom, Barclays is it. They have 1500 branches located in various parts of the country. They are one of the easier banks to deal with for new residents. You can apply online before you arrive in the U.K. to get pre-approval. Once you get to the UK, visit a branch with your reference number, passport and proof of residency to activate the account. If you are an international student, you can get a free account with cash back from participating retailers. Website
Lloyds has a huge customer base. In fact, they are the largest provider of current accounts in England with 1300 branches in the UK. You can open up a bank account fairly easily if you are a new arrival. They have an account designed for new residences that can be opened with a passport or EU Identity Card. You don’t pay for the account, and it includes a contactless Visa debit card. Students get overdraft protection of up to £1,500 for three years. They can also get a credit card with a minimum limit of £500. Business accounts are also easily set up and include tools to help you grow. Website
HSBC operates in over 80 countries around the world if the name is familiar to you. They are connected everywhere. In fact, they have more than 1100 branches around England and Wales. If you have an already existing account in your base country, they will assist you in moving it to the United Kingdom. Enjoy the perks of a Visa debit card and phone and online banking. Credit checks are sometimes required before opening a new bank account. They offer overdraft protection to students of £3,000 per year for three years and 2% in-credit interest on the first £1,000. They also have a variety of business accounts. Website
The RBS Group of banks also owns the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest. However, most of the Royal Bank of NatWest has over 1,400 branches for your convenience in the UK. You can get a contactless Visa card with a standard free NatWest account. There is also an emergency cash service. If your card is ever lost or stolen, you can access your money using a security code. They also offer overdraft protection to students and excellent business accounts. Website
Dealing With ATM Fees
As a standard service, when you withdraw money from a branch owned ATM, it is free of charge within the network. Some banks offer everyone free ATM withdrawals even if you’re not a member of the bank. It is good for the bank’s image. Not all ATM’s are free. You can expect
charges of between £1.50 and £3 per transaction. If it is a free ATM, it should say so on the machine. Most machines that carry a surcharge warn you before the transaction is completed. If you are traveling outside of the UK, you will be charged something called a non-sterling transaction fee. These can cost you as much as 2.99% per transaction. You may also get charged a cash withdrawal fee. If an ATM outside of the country asks which currency to charge you in, choose the local currency. You could get nailed with a high exchange rate and fees by your bank as well.
Non-resident UK Bank Accounts
There is an online service by THE BRITISH Banking Association that shows a list of banks that let overseas resident open an account. Most of the UK banks fear fraud if you do not have an address in the UK, even if there is no law against it.
Conclusion Once you understand what documents you need and how to open a bank account in the UK, . It is an incredibly easy process to go through. With all of the documents you’re allowed to use and the advice given here, it will be a breeze.