To open a new bank account in the UK, there are two main documents that you may need: a passport and a bank statement or utility bill that contains proof of address. For many people who are new or returning to the UK, this causes a bit of a catch-22 situation.
You can’t get a bank statement to prove your address without a bank account, and you can’t get a bank account without this proof of address. So, how can you get around this problem so you can manage your money successfully in the UK?
Problems Opening a Bank Account
In some cases, a proof of address or verification other than a bank statement can be acceptable as long as they are original documents rather than copies, but there is no set rules for this.
Some banks will accept a rental agreement and other banks might offer you a banking account if you can provide a signed work contract or an official letter from your new employer.
Credit Score is also Taken into Account
Additionally, when you open a bank account, a credit check is often completed in order to see how much risk you possess and how likely you are to pay any money back. This is because most high street banks have a credit facility attached to their accounts such as an overdraft or credit card.
Therefore, if you don’t have a credit score here in the UK and can’t prove if you’re a “good” or “bad” borrower, it’s likely you’ll be declined for an account.
The Types of Bank Account Available
Then, there are also differences in what type of account you might be offered. Some branches of the same bank might offer you a full Current Account upon receiving your alternative proof of address, while other branches might only provide you with a Cash Account – meaning you won’t be able to enjoy the same banking benefits and facilities as other users.
And, of course, there is that same Catch-22 again: you will need a bank account before you can sign a rental lease, and you will need banking facilities before you can be paid any wages.
There are banks who offer specific accounts that are specifically tailored for people who are new to The United Kingdom. These accounts can usually be opened with just an EU passport. But it’s important to consider your options.
These accounts can be expensive, compared to a standard account, can ask you to tie into a yearly contract, require a minimum deposit each month, or offer you fewer benefits than a normal charged-for account.
Alternative Accounts With Suits Me®
There are other options available too. Suits Me® is an alternative to traditional banking, perfect for migrant workers and ex-pats who don’t have proof of address or credit history.
It’s not the same as a bank account, but it offers many of the same benefits and more.
With Suits Me®, you get a contactless Mastercard® debit card that can be used in stores, online and over the phone in millions of locations worldwide. You’ll also gain access to an online account and our mobile app where you’ll be able to manage your finances on the go, from anywhere in the world.
Opening an account with Suits Me® takes less than 3 minutes, we don’t do any credit checks or ask for proof of address and we accept 99.8% of all applicants.