If you’re planning to move to the UK or if you’ve already settled there, you’ll need a bank account. In the past, opening a bank account was really complicated if you were new to the UK. Luckily today the process has become a little simpler. Here are the steps to follow.
What do I need?
In order to open a bank account in England, you will need two documents: one to prove your identity and the other to prove your address. This applies to both online and branch openings. Proving your identity is very simple. All you will need is a passport, driving licence or national identity card (if you are an EU citizen). You will also have to prove your address by providing another document.
All banks have a list of documents accepted as proof of address. This usually includes :
a rental contract or a statement of loan;
a recent electricity or gas bill (less than three months old);
a recent bank or card statement (less than three months old) that has not been printed from the Internet; or
a local tax return or housing tax.
Of course, if you are new to the UK you probably don’t have any of the documents on this list. Fortunately, in recent years banks have become a little more flexible when it comes to these proof of address documents.
If you are in the UK to study, for example, many banks will accept a letter from your university admissions office confirming your address.
Many banks will also accept a letter from Jobcentre Plus confirming your National Insurance Number or even a letter from your employer, as long as it is less than three months old. There is also another way. Before you leave for the UK, go to your bank and ask them to change your postal address to your address in the UK. You may also be able to do this from your online bank.
Once you have changed your address, ask your bank to send a bank statement to your new address by post, so you will have a document that proves your address in the UK.
Can I open a UK bank account remotely?
Yes, you can. Your own bank may be able to open an account for you if they have a correspondent banking relationship.
However, opening a bank account in England from France or any other country may not be the right choice for you. Very often you will have to make a large initial deposit and commit to paying a minimum amount each month. Some banks will also charge you a monthly fee in addition to these requirements. This can make your bank account expensive to open and maintain, especially if you don’t have a job yet. There may also be other restrictions.
For example, you may not be able to close the account and move to a better offer until a certain date.
The TransferWise multi-currency account. For businesses without borders, you should open a business bank account. Visit www.bank4pro.co.uk for more about business bank accounts.
Old World bank accounts only work properly in one country. They only hold money in one currency. And they can be expensive to use internationally. The new TransferWise multi-currency account solves all these problems.
Now you can send, receive and organize your money without huge fees and without unfavorable exchange rates, just small fees when money is exchanged to another currency. You can also spend your money anywhere in the world with the TransferWise card at very low prices.
Which bank is best suited to my needs?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. The banking sector in the UK is very competitive and many banks have offers specifically designed to attract specific customers.
This is clearly great news. Whether you’re a student, a professional or a business, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs. That said, you will also need to take your personal situation into consideration.
Things to consider when choosing a bank
As you are new to the UK, you have limited [credit history] (http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/credit-history.asp) and little documentation. Some banks have strict requirements and opening a bank account with them can be complicated.
It is usually easier to open an account with one of the largest banks in the UK such as Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC or RBS/NatWest. These banks have been in the market for a long time and are financially very strong. They have a lot of experience with foreigners, they will understand your situation a little better and will therefore be more flexible in their requirements.
Your nationality will also play an important role. It is probably easier to open a bank account if you are an EU national than if you come from a non-EU country. In any case, it is a good idea to contact customer support before trying to open a bank account. This will allow you to get more information and ask questions about any difficulties you might encounter.