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7 replies
Bank Account in the UK
carli07
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Okay, I’m hyperventalating… I called HSBC today after emailing a customer service rep back and forth a few times when I was asking quesations about opening up a bank account in the UK. she said it was possible, all I would need was $15ooCAD, my passport, etc… so today I call to set up my appointment and it turns out, I needed to actually have a HSBC Canada bank account in order to apply for the UK one before I leave. Which I don’t have, and was never told I needed. Of course it makes sense, they’re ultimately writing a letter of recommendation to the UK branch and can’t do that if I ahven’t established a history with them but now I’m FREAKING out, because I have heard horror stories about how hard it is to get an account once you’re there.

Can anyone help me out, suggest banks and suggest what I need to take when I go to open up an account over there. With any bank, I’m not picky, I just know there have HSBC over there and we have it here too.

I’m in such a connundrum, considering I was going to look for a live in job, but I need proof of residency in order to open a bank account and no bar will hire me without a bank account….. gah. help. please.

Peppers
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take it easy…

I started my working Holiday last year and got a bank account in the UK without a problem. I had a live-in job and my employer just wrote a letter to the bank to say that i live there, how much i was making, blah, blah, blah. Now, I was working up in the Lake District… It’s a touristy area, but very pretty and if you like hiking it’s a great place to hang out. Anyways, because there’s such a demand for employees up there, employers are better about writing letters and such. I’ve met people that had a hard time getting a job in london without a bank account and you can’t get a bank account with a job. Don’t panic too much! Just go over there and see what happens. Jobs are easy to find! Just look in smaller areas… the people are more helpful.

cheers,
Marianne

A
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Hi Marianne,

I am so very glad I found your post here, i.e someone who has actually been to Lake District and worked there. This is exactly what me and a friend of mine are planning to try and do in the middle of March.
I was wondering whether you would mind answering some of my questions.
How hard it actually was to get a job there? Did you secure a job before you arrived e.g over a telephone interview or did you just travel around in that area and needed to find work? I have heard so many different versions of how much people have earned, but if it is not a secret and if you don’t mind answering, could you please at least narrow it down to a certain weekly wage…it would help me a lot if I could at least hear it from a person who has actually worked in that area. What kind of a job did you have? Do they normally require previous experience in that field of work ( I mean previous work in hostels, hotels etc?)
By what you wrote about having a bank account in the UK I assume that the work is not under the table, did you have a written contract with your employer? Is it all OK or is there something I need to consider when signing it, is there maybe anything peculiar about contracts in the UK?
Besides a passport did your employer require any other documentation from you, any recommendations, anything of that sort?

I am really looking forward to your reply.
Thank You!!

MissJessica
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I used to work for the Halifax bank and if u were a non-permanent UK resident there were 2 accounts u could open. They were more savings accounts though as opposed to bank accounts but there are loads of Halifax branches about. In town and city centres as well small agency branches in villages.

emma
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It is tres hard to get a bank account over here. It took me over 2 months. BUT I didn’t come prepared, and from experience I now know it is all about what branch you try! I was knocked back by several branches only to go into others and be told all I needed was a letter, or a statement, or some such thing that I didn’t have!

My advice is to stick with HSBC. I went to the Holborn branch in London and they have proved really good. Once you have an address in London make sure you get some proof of it apart from your passport. Bear in mind many landlords receive bills and then bill you, rather than you receiving bills with your name on them, and these are not accepted. What I did was have my bank in Australia send me 3 months of statements with my London address, and with these and my passport, I was able to open an account within an hour.

In regards to other banks, Lloyds told me they would take me on but then never opened my account and as a result I was left hanging, being told it was "still on paper but in progress" for a month. Natwest were completely inconsistent and each branch and each phone rep told me a different thing… and apparantly it is hard to withdraw money in Europe, while HSBC, being an international branch, does not have this problem.

flipisme
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FYI (applies to Australians.. unsure of other countries)

You can open up an overseas account with HSBC before you leave (even if you don’t currently have an account with HSBC)In my case, I didn’t have an account with them and it cost $115AUD to set up, plus I had to have a minimum amount transferred into. I cannot remember how much exactly. (I’m thinking $1000AUD – can’t be sure though)

Hope this helps anyone.. Smile

trylent
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Setting up accounts in the UK is extremely frustrating, but also equally do-able. I lived in Edinburgh for a while and was hooked up with Barclay’s, since they were associated with my bank (Scotiabank) back home. They were strict, though. I had to have a local address before they would allow me to open an account. If you can find any bank that doesn’t abide by this requirement, please let us know – not too many banks in Europe will allow you to open an account without an address linked to it. If the jobs you’re applying to won’t let you start without a bank account, honestly, that’s a sign of what’s to come… they’re probably not that good to work for. My place – a franchise based out of London even – was very accepting of my need to get settled for a few days before I could provide them with my payroll info. Explain your situation and see if they understand. It’s perhaps the most frustrating thing you’ll have to deal with while living in Britain. Good luck!

Kathryn
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Try the Aldwych branch of Nat West in London. They provide accounts to young people from out of the country mainly because they have an agreement with BUNAC. I would really reccomend using BUNAC for it… they don’t give you any hassle that way, besides getting all of your stuff together to bring to them when requesting one. Really, did you think that it would be that simple?