London European Club Message Board › Opening a bank account in England

Opening a bank account in England

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Maja
user 6934588
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 6


Dear Europeans, reading this won't help you to open a bank account in England. If you decide to contribute to this discussion it may make an interesting reading that will amuse other Europeans.

I was inspired to write on this matter after our last Meetup on Friday after the discussion with four members of the Club reminded me how difficult it was to open a bank account in this country. I was fortunate to have a "recommendation letter" from my employer but even then it took two weeks to get my account with Barclays.

One of our members said that after living in 7 different countries including Ukraine, he was absolutely certain that England's banks have some of the strangest rules when it comes to opening a bank account.

Such as:
-The "proof of address" rule. Which means that you have to prove that you reside at a certain address by bringing two bills addressed to you. How you would be paying these two bills when you have just moved to the country and do not have a bank account is a mystery.
- The "proof of identity" rule where your passport won't be taken into consideration as a proof of identity. Apparently because it's easy to get a fake passport!!!

Fifteen years after opening my bank account I can assure you that you will open a bank account eventually, although it may take a looong time. Whatever you do, don't close it when you leave the country. Just in case, if you decide to come back. Otherwise you will need to go through the same process again.

I would love to hear your experiances.

Yours,
Maja


A former member
Post #: 1
Yeah the proof of address thing is very weird. Especially these days, as lots of people pay most bills online anyway, and may not get printed statements or bills. A friend of mine (not me, honest!) got fed up with this and just created some real-looking bills in his word processor and printed these off, this worked well apparently!

Jan
A former member
Post #: 4
Opening a bank account in London is quite interesting because if you end up at the wrong bank where the attitude of the bank personnel is "please do not talk to me as I do not feel like providing you with the helpful information. And I do this, just because I can", then you are only left with taking your business to some other bank that trainees its personnel much better and gets the idea that you are a potential customer, so their job to some degree depends on that. One of those banks would be Lloyds.

Citi has weired residence issues and if you are a foreigner that wants to take advantage of free transfers between your multiple countries Citi accounts then you have to wait and live in London for 6 month. It takes 6 month to convince them that you are residing here. Weired.

Anyway, good luck to all.
Maja
user 6934588
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 7
What a clever friend you have Jan. Please introduce them to the London European Club. They can hold a session on "how to" create some real-looking bills.

I forgot to mention in my previous post that it always helps to be demanding and threaten that you would take your business to another bank. Feel free to suggest which ones are the "good" banks.

Maja
A former member
Post #: 2
Some banks are more laid back than others. When I first arrived in London, I opened at account at Lloyds TBS, main reason being they only requested proof of ID (passport), but not proof of address. A few years ago, my sister, in dispair, shed a few tears at a Barclays and they were really 'moved' and let her put her boss' address as her own.

Anyway, if you don't like crying in front of strangers, I suggest going to Lloyds (but don't let them sell you their 'Silver account' - go for the free 'General account').
A former member
Post #: 3
And I just realized this thread is nearly than two months old! LOL ^^
Maja
user 6934588
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 14
Mar, thanks for the contribution, the opening of a bank account is a "never ending story" just like finding a flat in London or the public transport. So any contribution at any time is useful.
A former member
Post #: 4
Anytime ;-)
michael p.
user 11683940
Northwood, GB
Post #: 4
Maja,Its because of the Money Laundering Act that we Brits have such tough identidy requirements.

Having said that I didnt exactly find opening a French Bank A/c a bundle of laughs!
Michael

Dear Europeans, reading this won't help you to open a bank account in England. If you decide to contribute to this discussion it may make an interesting reading that will amuse other Europeans.

I was inspired to write on this matter after our last Meetup on Friday after the discussion with four members of the Club reminded me how difficult it was to open a bank account in this country. I was fortunate to have a "recommendation letter" from my employer but even then it took two weeks to get my account with Barclays.

One of our members said that after living in 7 different countries including Ukraine, he was absolutely certain that England's banks have some of the strangest rules when it comes to opening a bank account.

Such as:
-The "proof of address" rule. Which means that you have to prove that you reside at a certain address by bringing two bills addressed to you. How you would be paying these two bills when you have just moved to the country and do not have a bank account is a mystery.
- The "proof of identity" rule where your passport won't be taken into consideration as a proof of identity. Apparently because it's easy to get a fake passport!!!

Fifteen years after opening my bank account I can assure you that you will open a bank account eventually, although it may take a looong time. Whatever you do, don't close it when you leave the country. Just in case, if you decide to come back. Otherwise you will need to go through the same process again.

I would love to hear your experiances.

Yours,
Maja



A former member
Post #: 11
The Government have worked with the banks to encourage people to use bank accounts rather than cash, so anybody is supposed to be able to open a 'Basic Bank Account' quickly and easily.

This type of account is free (if you make no mistakes using it) and operated at any UK Post Office and does not allow borrowing, so if I were you I'd go for that.

You can see a list of which banks offer this service at http://www.postoffice.co.uk­ - search for 'Basic Bank Account'
You usually get a cheque book and a debit card for free. You can get cash from your Basic Bank Account at the Post Office (or any cash machine if you use your debit card) if you open one with any of these banks:

Bank of Ireland,
Barclays,
cahoot,
Lloyds TSB

As an example, Barclays:

You can call them for more info (Monday to Sunday, 7.00am to 11.00pm) on 0800 400 100. This is free to call from a landline (or some phone boxes) but usually costs money from a mobile phone. It is a general enquiry number for all of Barclays.

What they will tell you is that, if you are an EU Citizen and go into your nearest Barclays Bank branch with your passport and proof of address (rent agreement etc) they will do it for you - no charge. You don't need to have a utility bill. You can then operate the account from any Post Office and use it to pay your utility bills etc.

If you are not an EU Citizen and/or do not have proof of address, go in anyway and talk to them because, if you are an honest person, they will find a way of helping you prove your address.

Like with any Bank, best time is when they are not busy (e.g. when they open in the morning). They usually have a desk for 'Info' and if you sit at it, someone should come to help you.

I have not done this myself, so all the above info is what should be true, so if you do it, please post here to help others
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