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Bank for a UK Expat?

KeithO

Active Member
Hi All,

I've been out of the UK for over 12 years now. My work and home life is in Germany, and I have German bank accounts into which my salary gets paid,
and out of which all my expenses are taken.

However I still have property in the UK, and various other financial commitments, which are far easier (and cheaper) to handle with a UK-based bank account.

For this reason I have kept my Natwest UK bank account, which receives a monthly incoming transfer from my German account, and is used to pay mortgages and other expenses in UK. The balance is maintained at a minimum (ie credits and debits pretty much cancel each other out over the course of the month) as my primary accounts are the German ones.

However recent events with the Natwest computer systems, plus various other examples of unsatisfactory service over the past few years, have driven me to look elsewhere for my UK banking services. However this is where I come unstuck...

It seems that in order to open a UK bank account, I need to be a UK resident, which I am not. Natwest are happy to let me retain my existing account (opened when I was a UK resident) but neither they nor any other bank I've found will let me open a new account.

I've looked at offshore accounts, but every one I've found so far either charges monthly fees, or requires you to maintain a balance in the (sometimes tens of) thousands, or even both. My requirements don't justify that.

I've looked at using my parents address to oepn an account too. But I don't have any supporting documentation for that address, and in any case I don't want to bother my parents with correspondence.

All I want is a bank account that

1. Is UK based, but can be opened by a non-resident
2. Will accept regular incoming transfers and occasional adhoc credits
3. Will allow regular outgoing transfers and occasional adhoc debits
4. Allows online banking
5. Can be set up from outside the UK, preferably online
6. Is reliable

(Items 1-4 are non-negotiable. At a push, number 5 above can be waived, as I could do it whilst I'm in the UK next. Item 6 should be a given with all banks but seemingly isn't :mad:)

I don't need cheque books, debit/credit cards, interest, overdraft facilities, holiday insurance, furry toys, or constant excuses. I just want a banking service that works.

I can't believe that I'm the only person in this situation. I'm getting ****** off at the muppets who keep telling me to "come and visit us inbranch" when I've already explained I live in Germany. And "inbranch" is not even a word anyway! :lesson:

So does anyone know of any bank that can provide an account matching my 6 criteria above? Any pointers will be exceedingly gratefully accepted :smashin:
 

Wild Weasel

Distinguished Member
First Direct (part of HSBC) perhaps. They're a Leeds-based 'virtual bank', although you can use HSBC branches & ATMs if you really wanted to. I've been with them for 20 years and they consistently rate highly for customer service.
 

KeithO

Active Member
Wild Weasel said:
First Direct (part of HSBC) perhaps. They're a Leeds-based 'virtual bank', although you can use HSBC branches & ATMs if you really wanted to. I've been with them for 20 years and they consistently rate highly for customer service.

I looked at the T&C and I can't immediately see anything that requires you to be UK resident to open an account, so that might work. Thanks for the shout!, I'll give them a call tomorrow :)
 

Graham27

Distinguished Member
I live in Jersey, and some of the banks here advertise Expat accounts (not just for Jersey residents, obviously!). The ones I know off the top of my head are Barclays and HSBC, but that's only because they're near my flat!

I don't know if these are the ones that you've ruled out? As you say, a few of these accounts seem to be tied in to the banks' 'Wealth' divisions, with fairly hefty requirements.
 

Cliff

Distinguished Member
As above poster. Sounds like a bank in Jersey is your answer as you are non-resident. All the UK banks are there. Natwest has an offshore branch which might be easy to set up but if you want a change try Barclay's or HSBC.
For expats they do usually do require a large deposit! I would check to see what the requirement are for each.
 

KeithO

Active Member
As above poster. Sounds like a bank in Jersey is your answer as you are non-resident. All the UK banks are there. Natwest has an offshore branch which might be easy to set up but if you want a change try Barclay's or HSBC.
For expats they do usually do require a large deposit! I would check to see what the requirement are for each.
Thanks Cliff (and also to Graham) but these ones all require a hefty balance to be maintained or a monthly fee. Obviously they are aimed at far wealthier people than myself! They obviously all assume you want an offshore account because you have money to hide from the UK taxman :)
 

Graham27

Distinguished Member
No worries, I thought those might have been the ones you disregarded.

There must be some that aren't tied in with Wealth Banking though, I'll keep my eyes peeled! :)
 

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