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Which would be the best UK Bank?
Thread poster: Juliette Scott

Juliette Scott  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:44
French to English
+ ...
Oct 20, 2010

Hello everyone,

I'm looking for some advice here. I want a bank:

1) that is UK-based (or online-based)
2) that does euro accounts which don't require loads of money deposited in them
3) where you can do international (inside Europe) transfers online with no hassle
4) that does mortgages if possible

Does this exist or is it a pipe dream?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:44
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Italy-based? Oct 20, 2010

Juliette Scott wrote:
I want a bank:

1) that is UK-based (or online-based)



This could be where the dream stops.

Are you really living in Italy?


 

Juliette Scott  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:44
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
UK-based Oct 20, 2010

Hi Sheila,

Where I live is a moot point. I interpret quite a bit so sometimes hotels too!! Unfortunately Proz doesn't have a setting that allows you to be in all of Europe at the same time!!

But I want the bank to be UK-based.


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:44
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Why UK-based? Oct 20, 2010

Should be simple but sounds like a pipe dream I'm afraid. Out of interest, why UK-based if you want a Euro account?

Taking UK banks without any of the other provisos (Euro a/c, international transfers) etc my personal experience tells me that Natwest beats the others hands down on organisation, speed, customer service, website etc.


 

Juliette Scott  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:44
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Maybe not Oct 20, 2010

Because my business is UK-based. But do you mean that there are foreign banks operating in the UK that might meet my criteria?

 

4leavedClover  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 16:44
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
HSBC Oct 20, 2010

Hi Juliette,
I have been using HSBC for a decade and I am happy with it. The bank provides all services you need and even some more you could find useful. You can check the website (hsbc.co.uk)
Good luck!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:44
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
UK-based? Oct 20, 2010

Juliette Scott wrote:
Because my business is UK-based.


Ah! So, although you say on ProZ that you are Italy-based, you have an address in the UK? That makes a big difference.

I've always banked with Nat West (about 40 years now!). We've had our fair share of hassles and some angry words but never enough to make me think seriously of changing. I suspect a 'good' bank doesn't exist and I don't want to go from the frying-pan into the fire.

I can do international transfers online (with a nifty little card-reader to prove it's me doing it) but they charge for them: £15 minimum (to anywhere, in a long list of currencies) so I never transfer less than £2000. It's a sterling account and I can't see why I'd want a euro account in the UK - I have plenty of those in France.


 

Juliette Scott  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:44
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Nat-West Oct 20, 2010

Well it's not really a question of "saying" - I contacted support but they say that the parameter is not able to include/manage several countries! Actually I spend a fair amount of time in France too - just to make it even more complicated!

Good to know about online transfers with Nat-West. I would like the euro account under the same roof to simplify transfers - but I guess that's a pipe dream too!

[Edited at 2010-10-20 10:07 GMT]


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:44
French to English
mebbe, mebbe not Oct 20, 2010

Juliette Scott wrote:
Where I live is a moot point.....

But I want the bank to be UK-based.


Money laundering regs mean you usually have to pitch up in person - I certainly had to just to open another account at a branch I have banked at for 25 years. Apart from photo i/d, you will often have to prove residency at an address (utility bills, typically). I'm not saying that strolling in with utility bills from a foreign country will mean you are turned down flat, but I imagine it will complicate matters. There may even be ways to by-pass the need to be personally physically present, but I wouldn't expect an easy ride in this day and age, that's all, if you don't fit the 'norm', as it were.
HSBC also pretty much refuse to post bank cards these days in my experience. You always have to collect them in person (not becessarily at "your" branch, though - they will agree to do it at other branches). I don't know if that is universal, but it does mean you would need to be here for some time, to open the account first and then collect the cards a week or so later.

I would hope online banking would be easier, but again, my own experience with a couple of building societies in this regard leads me to think you need patience and goodwillicon_smile.gif


 

Juliette Scott  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:44
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
peut-être que oui, peut-être que non Oct 20, 2010

Thanks a lot Charlie. The "in person" issue isn't a problem as I'm always moving around anyway. Sad about online banking though - considering how efficient the Internet makes things (i.e. international advice in one morning through Proz!!).

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:44
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Visit the UK to collect a bank card? Oct 20, 2010

Charlie Bavington wrote:
HSBC also pretty much refuse to post bank cards these days in my experience. You always have to collect them in person (not becessarily at "your" branch, though - they will agree to do it at other branches).


Fortunately, NatWest are not like that! That would be quite impossible for me to manage.


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:44
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
My experience with Barclays Oct 20, 2010

I have an account at Barclays that I opened 25 years ago when I was living there. In August this year I set up on-line banking with them and thought I'd have to go in in person to arrange it, but found that all PINs were sent by post to my UK address.

So in my experience you would need to have a UK address (and maybe produce bills etc. to provide proof of this). Like Sheila, I use this account to accumulate a fair amount and then do one transfer into my account in Spain.


 

Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:44
French to English
+ ...
First Direct Oct 20, 2010

I've banked with NatWest since I started working for them in my vacations from uni at the age of 18, followed by a brief stint with them as a graduate management trainee before I found a "proper" job as a translator, so it took a great deal to make me change, but change I did earlier this year. I was sick of paying over the odds for transfers from the euro zone into my account: £7 a time for amounts over £100, £ 1 for less than £100. Plus it seemed to me that I wasn't getting a very favourable exchange rate either, albeit at their commercial rate. After much discussion in the ProZ forums I decided to switch to FirstDirect, a subsidiary of HSBC and am delighted with their service. No charge at all for transfers in from the eurozone, a better exchange rate, and £9 rather than the £15 to £21 NatWest quoted me to transfer money to a euro country. Their service is very professional and friendly, plus they paid me £100 to switch accounts, all of which they coordinated so it was virtually hassle-free. What has been harder has been persuading clients to pay money into the new account - several months down the line and some clients are still persisting in using the old account, despite my pleas and frequent reminders. I don't know about their euro accounts, I'm afraid, or residency rules, although they certainly posted my cards out to me. They don't have branches in any event, although you can use HSBC branches to pay money in if you need to. When I have investigated euro accounts in the UK in the past, you seemed to have to keep a lot of money in the account, which made it prohibitive for a freelancer.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2010-10-20 11:49 GMT]


 

Juliette Scott  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:44
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification Oct 20, 2010

Thanks Emma and Claire.

Just to clarify and save all your energies - sorry I wasn't clearer at the outset - I don't have residency issues (although my life is complicated and mobile!) - actually I do have a UK bank but it doesn't meet my needs at all. The problem is not opening the account but knowing which one to choose!

Sorry for wasting your time.

[Edited at 2010-10-20 12:03 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:44
English to Portuguese
+ ...
HSBC ads Oct 20, 2010

I never had an account with HSBC, but they spent a fortune advertising on Brazilian TV that their clients are 'home' in any branch of theirs worldwide.

http://www.hsbc.co.uk/1/2/personal/current-accounts/more/international-current-account


 
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