How to open a bank account in the UK
Whether you’re preparing to move to the UK, studying there, or just arrived, opening a bank account is likely to be on your to-do list. Opening a bank account will help make it easier for you to adjust to your new environment.
In most cases, you will need a current account to do simple things, such as signing a mobile phone or internet contract.
The documents you need to open a bank account in the UK
While there aren’t many restrictions on your immigration status in the UK, you do need to prove that you’re legally in the country to open an account. The two types of documents you need to open a bank account are those that prove your identity and your physical address in the UK.
To prove their identity, both non-residents and residents must provide a valid photo ID. This document can be a driving license, an identity document for citizens of the European Union, a passport or a bio metric residence permit.
In addition, they must provide another document that works as proof of address.
Each bank has its own list of requirements and acceptable documents. In most cases, the following documents can work as your proof of address:
Bank statement or credit card statement for the last three months (must be original, not a copy of the digital statement);
Recent receipt for the payment of municipal taxes ;
A letter from your university confirming your UK address;
Recent mortgage statement;
A letter from Jobcentre Plus confirming your national insurance number;
A letter from your employer; either
A recent household utility bill (mobile phone bills do not count).
You may be able to use a property rental agreement, but many banks will not accept a letter issued by a private landlord as valid proof. However, you may be able to use a letter from a properly accredited housing association or local council.
All documents you provide must be from the last three months, originals (photocopies or printed digital statements do not count) and must clearly show your UK address and full name.
If you are new to the country or do not have access to these documents, a bank may allow you to use an address outside the country to open a UK bank account.
Before applying for a bank account, call ahead to see what documents are acceptable. This will save you time.
Choose the right bank according to your needs
Finding the right account will depend on what your needs are. In most cases, larger banks will offer you access to services both in person and digitally, while banks that only offer online services may not, but instead offer lower fees.
The four largest banks in the UK are sometimes referred to as ‘commercial banks’. They are the following:
Lloyds Banking Group; Y.
Nat West Group.
Other well-known banks in the UK include Santander, TSB and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
These banks are regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority, which means they are quite safe. As the UK government describes on its main site, the FCA’s role is to “protect consumers, maintain stability in the industry and promote healthy competition between financial service providers.”
Any of these traditional banks will offer standard accounts that include a debit card, a checkbook, and a way to set up direct debit payments. They should also come with an ATM network, an online banking option, and options for savings accounts .
However, most basic bank accounts may not offer checking, direct collection, or overdraft. They are also unlikely to offer low interest rates.
More sophisticated accounts will offer extra services like travel insurance, but this usually means you’ll be charged higher monthly fees. A business bank account can offer more benefits as well as banking services related to foreign exchange.
Some banks may offer products aimed at international students or workers, such as UK relocation advisory services and a free SIM card for mobile phones.
Whether you’re living in the UK as an expat, international student or temporary worker, chances are you’ll find a British bank account to suit your needs.
How to open a bank account in the UK
The process for opening an account at each bank can vary, so it’s a good idea to register in advance so you know what you need to do.
Consider that when opening an account online, you must have electronic versions of your documents. When opening an account in person, it is best to schedule an appointment. Depending on where you live and the bank you select, it may take a few days or more to get an appointment.
Here are some of the steps you’ll need to take when opening an account with most UK banks:
Complete an application form;
Provide ID and proof of address; Y
Make an initial deposit.
After you set up your PIN in person, you’ll usually receive your bank card or debit card in the mail within a few business days. Some banks, like Barclays , offer a temporary debit card.
And the fees? Before you open your new account, make sure you’re clear about what you’ll be charged for using out-of-network ATMs, money transfers to your home country, and any other transaction fees.
We understand that there are many options to consider when you want to open a UK bank account . All of this can be intimidating, but exploring all of your options will be worth it. You can start by comparing the biggest banks in the UK and then look at alternatives.