Part of moving to London is getting to grips with the way things are done in all aspects of life. One of the most confusing and somewhat daunting challenges about living in London is ensuring that you have adequate access to your money. No one wants to be stuck in a foreign city unable to get hold of cash when you really need it. If you are moving to London for work then your employer will probably be able to guide you through the process of setting up a bank account in the United Kingdom. If you are moving to London with someone who is going to be working, then you might have to go through the process on your own. Having a bank account in the UK is important as it will make your day to day financial dealings so much easier.

How to Open a Bank Account in London

This is not a complicated process at all, but it can be time consuming if you are a foreigner and you do not have all of the documentation that you need. Unless you are going to open an online account, not recommended unless you are going to be buying everything on the internet, you will have to go into a branch office of a bank to open an account. Choosing a bank and branch is a matter of doing some research about what your banking needs are, as well as the location of the bank. You will be best served if you choose a bank close to your work or your home. Somewhere that you will be able to get to in a short period of time.

You will need the following documents if you want to open an account with a British bank:

  • Passport plus one other source of proof of identity.
  • A letter from your employer or your spouse’s employer with proof of employment and the address of your employer.
  • Proof of address: this is quite important, so you will have to find a rental home in London as soon as possible after you arrive.
  • Details of your bank at home. Take in the most recent statement from your bank at home. Ensure that you have your account number and all of the address details for your bank so that the bank in London can do a verification. This will speed up the process immensely.

Most banks will issue you will a debit card linked to your account which you will be able to use in all shops and establishments in the United Kingdom. You will still be able to use your foreign credit card and debit card as well, but the bank charges involved in withdrawing money or making a purchase are extremely high. Opening a bank account when you are moving to London will ensure that you are able to get credit and an overdraft facility if you need it as soon as possible.