Best UK Banks for U.S. Expats
After moving to the UK, the first thing most expats do is open a bank account. There are many good reasons for this, including avoiding difficulties in managing your finances while overseas.
However, choosing the right bank requires knowledge and effort, so we’ve compiled a list of the best UK banks for U.S. expats to help you make your decision. This guide will help you figure out which bank will work best for you before opening your new account!
What are the Requirements for Opening a Bank Account in the UK?
Due to several institutions’ stringent security requirements, opening a bank account in the UK often takes 1 to 2 days. The account can be opened online or in a nearby branch. You can open an account without a UK address if you bank with a foreign institution that offers services in the UK.
If you’re not starting a basic account, the bank may verify your credit once you submit the account opening form. Before the account is approved, you’ll also need to provide documentation of your identity and residence.
The paperwork you must submit is as follows:
- A recent credit card or bank statement
- A passport or legitimate photo ID
- An employment document
- A current utility or council tax bill (less than three months old)
Bank Account Types in the UK
People with bad credit or those who don’t meet the requirements for a current account should use basic accounts. Users receive Electron debit cards and direct debit payment alternatives are available. You can’t use overdrafts, credit cards, or loans, though. When you meet the criteria for a credit check, you can upgrade from a basic account to a current account.
A current account is used for salary receipts, bill payments, and shopping. While premium accounts have greater costs, regular current accounts are either free or have minor fees. You can receive a credit card, a debit card, and an overdraft with a current account.
There are numerous large UK banks that provide foreign accounts made especially for non-residents. For those who lack the necessary paperwork to demonstrate their UK address, they are a fantastic alternative. An international account can be opened online and managed from a different country.
Savings accounts have a higher interest rate but call for a smaller initial investment. Different types of savings accounts are offered by banks, building societies, and internet savings companies. There may be restrictions on how long money must stay in an account, depending on the type of account.
A fantastic approach for expats to manage their finances is through offshore accounts. They come in US dollars, pounds sterling, and euros. However, compared to a regular bank account, you need a greater deposit to start one. You can receive payments in several currencies and increase your interest rates by opening an offshore account.
What if I’m way behind on my U.S. tax returns?
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Best UK Banks for U.S. Expats
HSBC Expat Premier Account
One of the top four international banks in the UK is HSBC. It is well-liked by foreign nationals due to its extensive range of financial goods, which range from the best loan possibilities to mortgage, investment, and insurance options.
These include the tax-free cash ISA account, the free different currencies account, which is available in 14 currencies, and the abroad non-resident account, which is available in 37 countries. All of these are excellent options for expats.
The HSBC Expat Premier Account was created with professionals who travel the world in mind. The US dollar, the euro, or sterling can be used to set up banking in the UK. Additionally, it includes a debit card, free travel security, and a foreign exchange app so you can access and handle all of your banking needs even if you’re constantly on the go.
The account is conveniently accessible online, through a mobile banking app, or through authorized Wealth Managers. HSBC expat premier offers savings accounts with excellent rates in up to 19 main currencies in addition to providing a 24/7 support service to attend to your demands.
Starling Bank is one of the new, modern online-only banks that are growing quickly! You can download the app and apply online.
You’ll typically receive a debit card within days and you’ll be set to go.
It can be one of the fastest ways to open a bank account if you can pass the security checks.
Monzo is another favorite.
Don’t forget Wise.com (formerly TransferWise).
Not quite a normal bank, or even an app-based bank, but you can open a functional account with wise.com before you even move to the UK.
You’ll be able to receive, send and transfer funds in British Pounds GBP. You can request a contactless debit card too, so you can easily move around the UK using your card for all types of payments.
Wise travel money card
What is a travel money card?
A travel money card, also known as a currency card, is a type of card that allows you to keep and spend multiple currencies while traveling around the world. Furthermore, there are no hidden fees with the Wise card. With the free Wise app, you can store up to 50+ currencies in your travel money card and convert them at the mid-market rate.
Unlike travel money cash, you don’t even need to have the money converted beforehand — simply use the travel money card in stores, coffee shops, online, or withdraw from ATMs, and we’ll automatically convert the amount from any currency you own for a low fee.
What is a travel money card?
A travel money card, also known as a currency card, is a popular way to spend foreign currency. It is simpler and safer than carrying foreign currency in cash, and it is less complicated than using traveler’s cheques. It is usually less expensive than converting money when you arrive.
One of the biggest banks in the UK, Barclays offers both businesses and people a comprehensive range of premium financial services. It normally offers three different kinds of transactional accounts:
The rewarding and flexible Barclays bank account; the Premier current account, which serves more than regular banking; and the Barclays basic bank account, which is used for regular banking.
Barclays does provide a variety of current accounts, including graduate and student’s accounts, accounts for young people, and currency accounts, depending on what you’re searching for.
Barclays also offers business accounts for people who want to consult with their business banking professionals. Barclays can help you if you’re looking for a community account, a start-up business account, or an account for an existing business. You have a choice of methods for conducting business banking, including internet banking, the Barclays app, home banking, and Barclays invoicing.
Citibank Citigold Expat
A one-stop shop for all of your financial needs is Citibank. No matter where you are, you can easily access it, and it will support you and help you get started. The Citigold Expat bank account in particular provides tailored assistance for banking in the UK and makes a variety of investment offerings available to customers like you.
There are two categories of financial services for expats: offshore wealth management through Jersey and multi-currency banking. An offshore cash account, a foreign currency or forex account that provides a variety of daily financial services is essentially what a multi-currency banking account is.
So, you do not need to have multiple bank accounts only to handle transactions in different currencies, whether you are traveling from one country to another or relocating permanently to a country.
The bank makes sure that it assists you in taking advantage of options that can safeguard and expand your money once you’ve settled down in your new home with the support of offshore wealth management facilities like Jersey.
With the knowledge of more than 13,000 financial experts, Jersey is a well-known financial hub that can help you diversify your portfolio and invest in potentially profitable products. The bank makes sure that your wealth grows and flourishes without you having to worry about it by providing the convenience of a centralized time zone and a selection of a competitive range of goods.
Standard Bank Optimum Account
The Standard Bank provides financial services to people, companies, institutions, and corporations in the areas of banking, wealth management, trust and company administration, asset management, and investments.
Standard Bank wants to give you the ease of banking anywhere in the world with a variety of foreign bank accounts. If expats want the assurance offered by a reputable bank that can give comprehensive banking solutions, they don’t need to seek any further.
The four different categories of overseas bank accounts are the Optimum, Platinum Optimum, Seafarer, and Call accounts.
On this list, the Optimum bank account is possibly the most approachable and ideal choice for foreigners. Although there are fewer advantages, this can be a good choice if all you’re after is an uncomplicated banking alternative in the UK. You can open a transactional account in US dollars, Australian dollars, British pounds, or euros.
The Optimum bank account gives you the freedom to make unlimited deposits and withdrawals domestically or internationally and gives you access to foreign exchange and international savings accounts.
Additionally, it offers you a visa debit card for simple payments and withdrawals around the world as well as Internet and mobile banking capabilities for managing your account and making foreign payments and transfers.
Lloyds International Current Account
Lloyds has to be among the top options on the list if you need a bank that offers a savings account, investment management options, or a dependable platform to ease your financial transactions.
This bank offers 8 current standard accounts, a basic account, a classic account, an account for those under 19 years old, as well as a student account. For £21 per month, you can open a platinum account and benefit from numerous insurance benefits alongside the monthly credit interest rates, exclusive lifestyle bonuses, and up to 15% cashback.
Depending on your needs, the bank does provide four international multi-currency savings accounts in addition to the 12 local savings accounts that are available locally.
In addition to these accounts, Lloyds also provides two foreign accounts for expats. The International Current Account may be appropriate for people who need greater freedom with their money when banking in the UK because it has a lower deposit requirement than the Premium International Current Account.
You can open this account in US dollars, euros, or sterling. However, if you have accounts in different currencies, you will be charged a monthly fee of £7.50/€8/US$10. This account offers access to Visa debits in dollars, sterling, and euros as well as fee-free international payments and round-the-clock customer service via a mobile banking app and an online website.
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