In this section we will look at how to open a bank account in the UK for non-residents, the documents needed to open a bank account as a non-resident, the best banks and online banks in the UK, minimum bank charges and deposits, and much more.
UK banks specialize in various services, both personal and professional. Thus, not all banks may not meet your needs. The different branches of the British banking system include:
The major banks offering services to the general public.
Business banking services offered by the major banks in addition to ordinary accounts. They often include additional services and fees. Check bank4pro.co.uk for more about business bank accounts.
Investment banking services usually offered by financial institutions. They invest money in stocks and bonds.
Central banks that set the country’s monetary policy in some cases and provide sufficient liquidity, or act as a lender. The central bank in the United Kingdom is the Bank of England.
The banking system is supposed to support the country’s economy and ensure stability. Despite the financial crisis, more than one million people work in financial services. Banks and their financial and related professional services contribute 11.8% of the national GDP.
The Big Five UK banks
The major British banks are:
Royal Bank of Scotland
Lloyds Banking Group
Other banks include Santander, Halifax, Standard Chartered and Tesco Bank. They can provide specific services and offers better suited to your needs. For example, Santander offers free UK bank accounts to non-residents. Before opening a bank account, it is a good idea to “shop around”, research the major banks and online, and ask your friends and family which banks they recommend.
There are also international banks in the UK, which may make the process of setting up a bank account as a non-resident easier. These include Bank of America, American Express, Bank of China, State Bank of India and ABC International Bank.
In addition, you may be interested in setting up a savings account. Below are some of the best savings accounts or ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) in the UK at the time of writing (2019). Note that some of these accounts are only available to permanent residents of the UK:
Leeds Building Society – 2.12% AER fixed – permanent residents only
Principality Building Society – 1.97% of AER is fixed
Cynergy Bank – 1.91% of AER fixed – permanent residents only
Aldermore – 1.85% of AER fixed – permanent residents only
Yorkshire Building Society – 1.75% of AER corrected.
Setting up a bank account in the United Kingdom
While creating a UK bank account was complicated, banks began to simplify the process for expatriates. The most convenient way to do this is to open a bank account before you move.
Your bank at home might be able to open an account for you if they have a relationship with a UK bank. Many banks also offer international accounts, designed for non-residents. Please note that you may have to make a large initial deposit or pay a monthly fee for it.
However, if you prefer to take care of this after you arrive, make sure you are prepared. Once you have chosen a bank, you should make sure to make an appointment with the staff. Find out in advance what forms and types of identification you need. Keep in mind that some banks may ask you to deposit a start-up amount into your new account.
Many organizations allow you to open an online bank account as a non-resident. Barclays , Lloyds , HSBC and NatWest all offer international bank accounts.
Open a UK Unaddressed Account
Please remember that although the process of opening a UK bank account for Non-Residents has been simplified for expatriates, opening an account without proof of address in the UK can be difficult. Fortunately, some banks offer services specifically for newly arrived expatriates. One such service is the HSBC Basic Account, which only requires some form of identification and proof of an EU address. If this is not your bank of choice, remember that passports, birth certificates or national insurance cards do not count as proof of address. Instead, try to present one of the following transactions:
Recent service bill (less than three months old)
Board tax bills
Recent bank or credit card statements (less than three months old, not printed on the Internet)
Lease agreement or mortgage declaration
British medical card, NHS card or British driving licence
Certificates of auto or home insurance