Opening A UK Bank Account

Opening a UK bank account should be a top priority before or once you arrive in the UK.

How to open a UK bank account? It is almost as easy as having a piggy bank!

 You will need your bank account in the UK to have your wages and salary paid into. Open a high interest paying current and savings account today.

If you are entitled to claiming benefits and or tax credits, you will also need this facility to have your money paid to you. Many employers will only pay you through a bank account.

Once you need to pay bills, you will also find out that it is cheaper and more convenient to pay bills via your account as direct debit or standing order.

Having a UK bank account also help reduce your chances of been mugged, as it means that you do not have to carry large amount of cash in your person or at home.

Opening a bank account in the UK is a very easy process, compared to what it is like in many other countries. You do not even need to have a penny in many cases to open an account. Before we talk about how to open a bank account in the UK, let us look at who can open an account and what are the requirements to do just so.

Who Can Open A Bank Account In The UK?

Anyone 16 years or older can open a basic checking bank account in the UK, as long as you:

  • Have a valid form of identification like your international passport or driving license to confirm who you are
  • Have a valid proof of address. This is usually in the form of a letter from your landlord (tenancy agreement), or copy of your utility bill or government agency, or indeed bank statement, if you already have a previous bank account.
  • Can pass a credit search to show that you do not have a poor credit rating.

If you are a visitor to the UK or even a non resident living in another country, you may still be able to open an account here in the UK, as long as you have the first two requirements above.

In deciding whether to accept your application for a UK account, banks may apply to credit rating agencies to check your credit rating. This should not be a problem if you are new to the UK and do not have bad credit problems from your home country. If you are concerned and want to be sure, you can get your free Experian credit report online and see the information lenders and bankers will see about you.

Even at that, there are banks that will still open an account for you despite poor credit rating. You just need to book an appointment with a senior member of the bank and speak honestly about the past.

How To Open A UK Bank Account

Once you are armed with the above requirements to open a bank account, you should approach any one of the following banks.

In most cases you can walk into their branch or even start the application process online. You may need to book an appointment to have someone help you open your account.

Generally, there are three types of UK Bank accounts. For work purposes, a Basic Account or Current Account should do. The third type of account is a Savings Account.

  • A Basic Account is one that provides you with the facilities of paying money into your account, being able to withdraw cash from an ATM by means of a cash card or at the branch as well as pay bills by direct debit or standing order. You would not have facilities for overdraft. You would not have a cash guarantee card too. This type of account should satisfy most of your needs, and in most cases, it does not come with a monthly or annual fee for the use of the account. That means you get free banking services.
  • A Current Account allows you to have all the above (basic account facilities) plus a debit card, cash guarantee card, cheque book, and overdraft facility. You will be required to pay some monthly fees on some current account. Always ask before concluding the agreement to open an account. Some banks will allow you to switch from a fee paying current account to a non-fee paying account after a few months.
  • A Savings Account allows you to earn higher interest rate on your money. It does not allow you to pay bills, have overdraft or debit card. It is good to have, if you want to be putting some money aside for rainy days. Some banks will however require you to give them some notice period before withdrawing from your savings account.

Once you make up your mind on the type or types of account you want to open, a bank staff would take you talk you through the whole process of how to open a bank account, check that your details are correct, and fill out the account opening application form.

You will be required to sign the form to say you are happy to be bounded by their terms and condition. There is usually nothing to be worried about in the terms and condition. It is written to ensure you abide by safe banking practices.

You are in turn protected by very strict banking rules put in place by the UK banking sector regulators. Talking about protection, do you know that if you are in the furtunate position of having up to £85,000, the UK government guarantees teh safety of your money up to that threshold with a bank? Even if the bank closes down suddenly for any reason, the government will ensure you get a check for up to £85,000 for each bank.

The UK is home to a few of the top 10 best banks in the world. You should have no problem with choice of bank. Things that should influence your decision to choose a bank over the other should be issues like:

  • Do they subscribe to the banking code?
  • Proximity to your home, work place or educational institution, if you want
  • How much interest they pay
  • Is there facility for internet and or telephone banking?
  • How much will there charge me for unarranged borrowings and overdrafts?
  • Will they accept me if I have been bankrupt in the past or have poor credit rating?

Once your application is submitted, it takes about 10 working days or so (two weeks) for it to be approved and you should then get your check book in the post and be able to start using your account in full.

Share Your Questions And Comments

How to open a UK bank account is certainly easier than you may think. What has your experience been, if you have tried open one before. We would love to hear from you. Please leave your comment below.

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