When you want to open an account with a bank or building society, you will be asked to provide evidence of your identity and confirmation of your address. Yet for those who have been living abroad and are planning to move or return to the UK, this can be a harrowing experience. If you can't meet the normal verification requirements, you may consider a basic bank account, which often accept alternative methods of identification.
Having no credit history in the UK and no proof of address are massive hurdles to jump through before you can set up a new current account, which is often necessary to enable your employer to pay your wages and for you to get up and running in your new life.
Although most banks and building societies expect you to have a UK address before you can open a bank account, there are some specialist products that have been designed for foreign nationals, which could be an alternative if you do not meet standard account criteria.
For those of us who have lived in the UK all our lives, having proof of residence can still be a problem if, for example, you have been renting a property with a partner and all the bills are in their name, if you've rented a room in a shared house and don't pay any bills, or if you are not on the electoral role for some reason.
If you can't meet the standard verification requirement, or have experienced difficulties trying to open a current account in the past, try one of the following, which will generally be appropriate for opening a basic bank account:
Some prepaid cards allow you to use them like a bank account and have your wages paid directly into your card's account, without any links to any other account you may have.
There are no unexpected bank charges and very little paperwork to fill in to get such an account. Just use it like a regular bank account - you can pay bills online and set up regular payments for everything from your gas and electric bill to your broadband.
However, be aware that many prepaid cards do not offer the same level of protection as bank accounts under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
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Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.
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