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5 Best UK Bank to Open Accounts for Expats

Opening a bank account in the UK is one the mandatory and paramount things that any expat has to do once they’ve arrived. There’s so much choice to be had that it can be difficult to know which bank to choose. Luckily, we’ve got it all sorted for you right here.

But before we go into it, there’s something that is just as beneficial for every London expat. Thesqua.re, a premium serviced apartments provider, has put together an essential London Relocation Guide that has all the necessary info to relieve the stress for expats moving to London. Not only that but their serviced apartments are great places to stay in London, coming with all the homely comforts needed for any extended London stay.

Here are the best bank accounts for expats in the UK:

Barclays

Barclays, being both a global bank and understanding of the needs of expats, offer an account specifically designed for those who are new to the UK. It provides you with a full range of banking services, including:

  • Contactless debit card
  • Withdrawal limit of up to £300 a day (as long as you have sufficient funds),
  • Online, telephone and mobile banking services.
  • You can also set up standing orders and direct debits.

You need to bring proof of ID when you open up an account. Bring your passport and proof of address (like a bill or bank statement).

Open your account in a UK branch or in your home country if there’s already a Barclays presence to save time.

HSBC

As a global banking company, you’ll be able to open an HSBC account before you leave your home country.

When you open a HSBC Basic Account you get a Visa Debit card and can withdraw up to £300 a day from ATMs, Internet banking, mobile banking and telephone banking transactions. Direct debits and standing orders can also be set up for bill (or rent) payments.

Obviously, you will need to provide both proof of ID and proof of address within the UK. You can use an employment contract or a rental house agreement if needs be. Or (even easier) you can change the address within your HSBC bank in your own country to your current UK address before you leave.

Halifax

The Halifax current account provides expats with everything they need for everyday banking needs. This makes it more than an obvious choice if you’re still struggling to pick.

Aside from the usual features of a current account (debit card, online and telephone banking, direct debits and standing orders etc.), if you pay in more than £750 per month you’ll get £5 a month as an additional extra. Not too bad at all.

Being a popular bank makes it an even better choice as you’ll find many branches around the cultural and financial hub of London and the UK high streets.

Santander

Over the past few decades this bank has become a major force in the UK. Choosing this Spanish owned bank is a great option for expats.

Why? Well, their 1|2|3 Current Account provides customers with 3{3f68f376b53a1ea3e2c0a532a2cd9af55b710170fdd05db850b1a328d1358b0c} interest on their balance as well as paying them cashback on their household bills. But that’s not all.

Along with this, customers like you will get the usual range of products. You’ll have to pay a charge of £2 per month for this account (this may change after publication). You’ll also need to pay a minimum of £500 per month into the account and have at least 2 active direct debits to get the monthly cashback – there’s always strings, luckily these aren’t bad.

There’s the Everyday Current Account for those that don’t want to pay any fees. It’s an easier account to manage but doesn’t come with interest paid onto your balance. If that doesn’t bother you then this is the account for you.

Lloyds

Here’s another big banking player. You’ve probably seen their adverts with the black horse running proudly across the beach, but the branch is more than its iconic logo.

Expats that can pay in at least £1,500 every month will find that the Club Lloyds Account is right up their alley. It pays an impressive 4{3f68f376b53a1ea3e2c0a532a2cd9af55b710170fdd05db850b1a328d1358b0c} interest on balances between £4,000 and £5,000. Great right? If you’re going to be paying in less every month then the interest will be of a lesser value (2{3f68f376b53a1ea3e2c0a532a2cd9af55b710170fdd05db850b1a328d1358b0c} for £2,000 to £3,999 and 1{3f68f376b53a1ea3e2c0a532a2cd9af55b710170fdd05db850b1a328d1358b0c} for £1 to £1,999 – for those that need to know). Don’t worry If you can’t pay in £1,500 per month as the account will still be available for you; but you’ll have to pay a £5 fee.

For an alternative option, there’s the Lloyds Classic Account that is free for all and comes with all the usual products.