Working in relocation, all of our clients have one thing in common: they live abroad before moving to London, and they need to open a bank account in the UK.
Now the main challenge when opening a bank account in the UK is the requirement to provide a proof of address in the UK – well actually in most cases, 2 separate proofs of address! This is a legal requirement, and one that doesn’t make it easy for foreigners moving to London to open a bank account.
One possibility is for people to wait until they have received their proofs of address, meaning after they have moved into their permanent home, and received some bills, but that can take time. What if you want to open an account sooner than that, or even better, before arriving in the UK?
How to open a bank account in the UK without a proof of address
The solution is to open an account with what we will call a “digital” bank (the real name is electronic money institution), meaning a bank that does not offer “in-branch” services in physical locations across the UK.
Whilst we have investigated plenty of solutions for our clients, the one we have always come back to is Wise, and here are the reasons why:
- it is the one where we have seen almost all our clients being able to open an account (other digital banks such as Revolut, Monzo and Starling, do not work as well for our clients, although they are a lot better than traditional banks)
- it is the fastest and easiest account opening process
- it also enables cheaper currency transfers than most banks worldwide offer, which, for foreigners moving to the UK, is a massive bonus, as they often transfer money to the UK first before getting their first salary payment in the UK.
With a Wise account, you can even get paid by your employer in the UK, and pay your bills with Direct Debits, which in the UK is really important.
Of course a Wise account will not provide services like traditional banks would, such as overdrafts, depositing cash, mortgages, savings accounts, etc. But as a first step into the UK banking system, this is as good as it can be.
One thing to be aware of, Wise not being a traditional bank, the funds deposited are not protected by the UK Government with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
So if you want to know more about the Wise UK bank accounts, click here.
Please note that the information contained in this article is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. In no event will we be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information provided in this article or for any consequential, special, or similar damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.