Bank Accounts for Asylum Seekers

Bank accounts for asylum seekers in the UK are difficult to get with many banks. Having a bank account whatever your situation or status is a basic human right.  Suits Me believes…

Picture of all documents that an asylum seeker needs for a bank account

Bank accounts for asylum seekers in the UK are difficult to get with many banks. Having a bank account whatever your situation or status is a basic human right.  Suits Me believes strongly and works with a number of Asylum Seeker charities to support those in need.   For asylum seekers in the UK, building a stable foundation is essential as you start your journey towards a better life. A key step towards settling in is opening a bank account. In this blog, we’ll explore the challenges of opening an account for asylum seekers in the UK with high street banks and share how you can open an account with simply an arc card and selfie with Suits Me.

Can an Asylum Seeker Open a Bank Account?

Bank accounts for asylum seekers in the UK are possible. The short answer is yes but it can be difficult and inconvenient with several banks.  The main difficulties are:

-cost to travel to a branch

-unable to open a bank account online

-not having enough or the correct documentation

-language barrier in communicating with bank staff

As an asylum seeker who has fled their home countries due to persecution, war, or violence, we know you often arrive in the UK wanting to rebuild your life. Opening a bank account or an account to accept and make payments electronically, is not only a practical necessity but also a critical part of settling into the UK. A bank account offers asylum seekers lots of advantages:

  1. Safety and Security: A bank account provides a secure place to store money earned or received, reducing the risk of loss or theft in cash
  2. Financial Inclusion: Having a bank account allows asylum seekers to access financial services, such as benefits payments or funds from their home country.  Furthermore, being able to make payments online.
  3. Budgeting and Planning: A bank account enables better financial planning, budgeting, and tracking of expenses, which are vital skills for building a stable future.
  4. Establishing Identity: To open a bank account, asylum seekers typically need to provide identification documents, which can contribute to their process of establishing a legal presence and identity in the UK.

What identification is accepted?

Opening a bank account as an asylum seeker in the UK can be complex. With Suits Me, the process is simple and online. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Visit the Suits Me website: We offer three different account types to choose from.  The information on our website can be tailored to your chosen language.  You can apply online or book a virtual appointment with one of our customer care team. 
  2. Application Process: Fill out the simple application form. Select the ID Option of ‘I am seeking Asylum in the UK’.  You will need to upload a photo of your ARC Card and a selfie
  3. Verification: We will verify your application in minutes. Your account number and sort code will be sent to you via email along with your online banking details.
  4. Account Activation: Once your account is created, we will send you your contactless debit card via first-class post.  You should also download our mobile app which is an easy way to manage your account wherever you are.

Banks that accept ARC Card.

Currently, there are several banks that accept ARC cards as part of your identification documents.  However, this is only one piece of ID, the high street banks will also require you to provide

  1. Proof of Address: You may have an address but not have proof of address which is a requirement for the banks
  2. Confirmation of Asylum Support: You may not yet have this depending on the status of your application.
  3. Confirmation of Other Income: You may not have this which can be a barrier to opening an account
  4. Visit a branch in person: This can be costly with transport costs and daunting if you are new to the UK and don’t speak any English
  5. Financial Education: Take advantage of any financial education resources offered by the bank. Learning about budgeting, saving, and managing money can empower you to make informed financial decisions.


As noted, opening a bank account as an asylum seeker is a significant step towards settling in. Suits Me strives to support the most vulnerable members of society who have faced challenges and barriers to opening a UK Account. If you have an ARC card and a smartphone or can access the internet, Suits Me has a quick and simple application process to open an instant account.

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