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Opening a Bank Account in the UK

Opening a bank account is essential whether you are a UK citizen or expat. It allows you to receive your wages, send and receive money, or simply make an investment. But what do you need to open one? We'll tell you all about the requirements, documentation, and steps you need to follow to open a bank account in the UK.

How to open a bank account in the UK

Why Open a Bank Account?

Having a bank account allows you to make transactions that include sending and receiving money online or, if you prefer, depositing and withdrawing at a cashpoint. As an expat, some of the added perks of creating a UK bank account are lower transaction rates.

Aside from this, having a bank account allows you to pay for utilities. Just as with bank statements, these can later be used as proof of address. This is particularly useful when you need to request a criminal record certificate or simply access some government services.

Some of the most famous banks in the UK are HSBC, Barclays, Santander, Nationwide Building Society, Lloyds Banking Group, and Halifax, among others.

Digital Banks and the Benefits They Offer

Most banks also offer digital banking to their clients. These web or app bank accounts allow users to access money on the go. This means that bank users don’t need to visit the bank branch or a cashpoint to access their money.

Some banks, like Reavult, Monzo, or Wise, only operate online. They provide a real-time tabulation of transactions done in the account for accountability. They are also the easiest bank accounts to open in UK.

Types of Bank Accounts

Whether you need to hold money, pay bills, or receive a salary, having a bank account will certainly make things easier. This is why anyone intending to stay in the UK long-term opens an account to facilitate transactions.

UK banks provide different types of banking provisions depending on their purpose or targeted group. Some examples are the following:

  • Student accounts. Such provisions are reserved for college or university students or graduates.
  • Savings accounts. These are the accounts that enable users to hold money for a specific period, accrue interest rates, or keep the money for a rainy day.
  • Package accounts. These have additional features at an extra cost. The extra perks include travel or car breakdown insurance, special rates for overdrafts, and lucrative rates for banking features.
  • Current accounts. A current account enables you to procure transactions, including receiving a salary. You also can set up debits and credits with such an account.
  • Basic accounts. They allow you to access everyday banking services without paying monthly fees.
  • Foreigner bank accounts.Non-residents that want to do business in the UK or hold money for legal purposes can get a UK bank account for non-residents with the help of a foreign bank account.

Requirements and Documentation Needed

Setting up a bank account is easy. You must be at least 18 or have your parents' or guardians' parental consent. Applicants will be asked to provide sufficient information or proof of their age and legal residency before the bank agrees to set up a bank account.

If you are not the legal age, you need a guardian or parental consent and help to open an account in the UK.

What do you need to open a bank account UK? This is the central question aspiring bank users ask themselves. Some of the key documentation you must provide includes:

If you are new to the UK and you don't have any acceptable proof of address, know that some virtual banks offer the chance to prove your address by a code you'll receive by post. Once you provide your postcode, you will receive a letter with a code that you can later use on their app to set up your account.

How to Open a Bank Account

Applying for a bank account is a straightforward process. Depending on the bank, you can apply online, via the phone, or in person. Provided you have the required documents, you can choose whatever way is most convenient for you (as long as it is accepted by the bank).

If you decide to do it online, you will have to choose the type of account you want. Sign up for the account using the required details on the provided application form, and you’re good to go. A stable internet connection is critical to ensure you have a successful application.

Setting up an account via telephone only requires you to know the correct telephone number to call, have your requirements close by and provide that information when prompted.

The process is the same when it comes to in-person applications. However, you may have to make an appointment first, before you fill out the forms and submit them to set up an account.

What Happens After You Create an Account?

Once you create an account, the bank will verify your details and get back to you regarding your success. You will receive a call, SMS, or email regarding the success or failure of your application. If you fail, you can always speak to the bank management for options of what you can get if you do not qualify for specific accounts.

Cost and Processing Time

How much you pay to have an account set up and activated depends on the bank you choose. Most banks charge no administrative fee to open a bank account. However, you’re sometimes required to pay operational fees once your account is up and running. Please check the conditions with your chosen bank.

When it comes to processing time, each banking institution takes differing periods to complete your request. Nevertheless, the whole process normally takes them a few days

A Must Have

With a bank account, it can be virtually possible to access all payment services in the UK. Once you make sure you comply with the minimum age restriction in your jurisdiction, you should research the different types of bank accounts available. We suggest you take note of the services you’re after to make the search effortless. And remember to opt for a bank that has an app version if you prefer easy access round the clock.