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How to open a British bank account?
Thread poster: AnnikaLight

AnnikaLight  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:00
English to German
Feb 24, 2005

Hello ProZians,

I'm based in Germany, but I freelance for quite a few British agencies.

I'm thinking of opening a British bank account.

How would I go about doing this? Is it possible - even though I live in Germany?

Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks

A.

[Edited at 2005-02-24 19:54]


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Javier Herrera
Spanish
With difficulty Feb 24, 2005

Traditionally, you've had to produce a letter from your employer to prove you're working. You can't just open an account for no apparent reason like in my country. If you're freelance, I imagine they'll want one from the German "Inland Revenue" and a certified translation.
But that's not all, due to antiterrorist measures, those of us who aren't need to pay for it. I've heard it's now essential to hold a police certificate saying you never committed a crime.
I applied for one because teaching agencies demand it strictly and it took six months to come. The police needs a character reference who's known you for the last two years, probably British-based.
Sorry to be discouraging.
My British bank offers me the possibility of opening a euro account with no commission for changing currencies into both accounts, the bad thin is the initial sum for opening it is considerably high. You may want to ask your German branch if there is a similar facility.
Best wishes,
Javier


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AnnikaLight  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:00
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks - are you an EU citizen? Feb 24, 2005

Hi Javier,

Thanks for your response. This does, indeed, sound difficult. Are you an EU citizen though?

Thanks

A.


Javier Herrera wrote:

Traditionally, you've had to produce a letter from your employer to prove you're working. You can't just open an account for no apparent reason like in my country. If you're freelance, I imagine they'll want one from the German "Inland Revenue" and a certified translation.
But that's not all, due to antiterrorist measures, those of us who aren't need to pay for it. I've heard it's now essential to hold a police certificate saying you never committed a crime.
I applied for one because teaching agencies demand it strictly and it took six months to come. The police needs a character reference who's known you for the last two years, probably British-based.
Sorry to be discouraging.
My British bank offers me the possibility of opening a euro account with no commission for changing currencies into both accounts, the bad thin is the initial sum for opening it is considerably high. You may want to ask your German branch if there is a similar facility.
Best wishes,
Javier


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Mary Lalevee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:00
French to English
Bank account in UK Feb 24, 2005

How about trying one of the online banks? I bank with smile.co.uk.

HTH
Mary


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AnnikaLight  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:00
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Mary! Feb 24, 2005

That's a good idea I'll check out your link.

A.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:00
English to German
+ ...
Difficult process indeed Feb 24, 2005

Hi,
Even before the new regulations were put in place, this was a difficult process. About 3 years ago, I tried to open an account with Citibank UK (I had an account with Citibank Germany at the time) - they wouldn't even accept their colleague's confirmation.

I guess one of the reasons is the absence of a registration regime in the UK, as we have it in Germany, for example - that's why you may have to prove your identity as well as your address.

Best regards,
Ralf


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TRADL
France
Local time: 03:00
English to French
+ ...
address in the UK Feb 24, 2005

I think the main problem is gonna be the lack of an address in the UK. Anything to do with banking will specify somewhere you have to be a UK resident I'm afraid. But yes you can try the online banks although I do think the problem I just mentioned will turn up... Sorry.

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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:00
French to English
What you need to provide Feb 24, 2005

I opened a Trading Account with HSBC last year (after returning from France). I would think that under EU regulations, they can't refuse you a UK bank account purely because you live in Germany (I opened a French bank account while I was living in England about 10 years ago, and they can be real sticklers for rules).

However, you almost certainly would need to open the account in person. Even though I have banked with HSBC for 20 years, because of money laundering regulations they needed photographic i/d (e.g. passport) and 2 official documents with proof of address (e.g. utility bills, credit card statements). And they needed to actually watch me physically give a specimen signature. I did NOT need proof of employment, or proof of self-employed status, or anything else like that. And you need a small sum of money to pay in initially.

So I would think it would be possible, if you were actually here in the UK on a visit, for example. However, you could always phone a help line to check this (visit bank websites for the numbers).

But the online option may be easiest for your needs....


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Javier Herrera
Spanish
... Feb 24, 2005

AnnikaLight wrote:

Hi Javier,

Thanks for your response. This does, indeed, sound difficult. Are you an EU citizen though?

Thanks

A.


Javier Herrera wrote:

Traditionally, you've had to produce a letter from your employer to prove you're working. You can't just open an account for no apparent reason like in my country. If you're freelance, I imagine they'll want one from the German "Inland Revenue" and a certified translation.
But that's not all, due to antiterrorist measures, those of us who aren't need to pay for it. I've heard it's now essential to hold a police certificate saying you never committed a crime.
I applied for one because teaching agencies demand it strictly and it took six months to come. The police needs a character reference who's known you for the last two years, probably British-based.
Sorry to be discouraging.
My British bank offers me the possibility of opening a euro account with no commission for changing currencies into both accounts, the bad thin is the initial sum for opening it is considerably high. You may want to ask your German branch if there is a similar facility.
Best wishes,
Javier



Yes, I am. But if I'm not mistaken even Brits face the same difficulties.


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
true Feb 24, 2005

Yes, I am. But if I'm not mistaken even Brits face the same difficulties.


My mother-in-law (british to the bones!) never had a credit card or a passport and the only time she tried to open a bank account she was refused because of that :S
You need photographic evidence and in the case of an internet bank (I've got smile) I had to provide my National Insurance Number, appart from proof of identity and address.

Regards,
Grace


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Jesús Marín Mateos  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dream on.... Feb 25, 2005

The UK as far as opening a bank account is a nightmare...
You need everything my colleagues have mentioned but the most important thing is prove of address plus identity. If you don't live here it is not possible.
I couldn't understand it when I moved here but now I am used to it. However after managing to open a bank account even if you want to change banks and open another bank account with another banking institution it can be a nightmare too...

In my country (Spain, yes in the EU as far as I know) you can open a bank account and provide a PO Box as address. That is not possible here.

Well, good luck and let us know how things go.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:00
Flemish to English
+ ...
Utility Bills Feb 25, 2005

E.U. or not : You need proof of identity with your address on that piece and you need proof of residence in the UK i.e.: utility bills of the last month-three months depending on the bank you want to open an account. Some banks add to that the pay-slips of the last three months or your invoices.
No U.K.resident equals almost impossible to open a bank-account.




[Edited at 2005-02-25 10:50]


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Beth M F Garcia  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:00
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not only that... Feb 27, 2005

When I first came to England I opened an account with the Woolich (Now part of Barclays)when 2 years later I tried to open an account for my under age son and they requested a copy of his passport, the manager called a special new depratment that deals with non-uk public and asked him a series of questions regarding my son's passport, color size and many other details, to which they sdaid NO that with that passport they couldn't open an account. You can imagine I went balistic. I had him compare my passport to my sons and asked if he could detect any differnces - NO. well how could I have an account and not him. Typical reply "I'm sorry but we can't open an account for him". Needless to say I closed my account with them and have been banking with Lloyds since then.

I don't think you are going to be able to open an account with any UK bank even the online banks and lets remember that the UK only adheres to EU regulations when its convinient for them otherwise they ignore them............


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NataliaElo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:00
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Barclaycard? Feb 28, 2005

Hi,


ummm, I regret that I didn't keep my British bank account.

When I studied in England in 2001 I opened an account at Barclays. It was a couple of weeks BEFORE 9/11. When my exchange semester was over I anyway kept it, but they somehow transferred it to Isle of Weight. It was some sort of student solution account, they gave me Visa Debit Card which worked as a credit card outside the UK, i.e. buying tickets from Ryanair etc was possible.

Then, later on I closed it because it was relatively expensive (£5 per month) in comparing to free Finnish bank account.

Just recently I saw advertising in Berlin about BarclayCard. Could it be possible to have in pounds?

Natalia


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:00
English to German
+ ...
Connect vs. Barclaycard Mar 1, 2005

Hi Natalia,
Just recently I saw advertising in Berlin about BarclayCard. Could it be possible to have in pounds?


The debit card you had from Barclays was not a Barclaycard; I assume you had a Connect Card. Barclaycard is a subsidiary of Barclays Bank, but the credit card accounts are kept well separate; in fact, you don't need to have an account with Barclays to have a Barclaycard.

The Barclaycards issued in Germany are only available in euros, AFAIK.

Best regards, Ralf


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