Best bank accounts for expats in the UK

Managing your money as an expat in the UK doesn’t need to be difficult. Here’s what you need to know.

If you’re thinking of moving to the UK, or you’ve already arrived, one of the most important aspects of your new life will be managing your money.

To get your finances in order, it’s a good idea to open a UK bank account to use while living here.

Latest reviews of bank and e-money accounts for expats

Revolut - Revolut Standard
Revolut Standard
Finder score
4.2 ★★★★★
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£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Get a £20 welcome bonus when you spend your first £20 (T&Cs apply).
Revolut could be a great option if you've recently moved to the UK or you're moving overseas. You can use it as a UK bank account, but you'll also be able to send and receive money in multiple currencies, as well as spend and withdraw cash on the Revolut card in the UK and abroad. Revolut uses its own variable exchange rate to carry out currency conversions, but provided you carry out exchanges Monday to Friday and stick within your monthly limit, no additional fees are added. It's easy to open an account too - simply download the app, provide some personal details and verify your identity with a passport or ID card.
  • Low overseas fees
  • Quick application
  • Earn cashback on spending
  • Set budgets for financial goals
  • Virtual cards for online purchases
  • Easy to transfer money internationally
  • Linked 'Junior' account available for one child
  • 1% currency conversion charge on weekend spending abroad
  • Free cash withdrawals in the UK and abroad both limited to £200 per month
  • Cannot deposit cash or cheques into the account
  • Charged a fee to receive your bank card
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals 0% Mon-Fri (max. £1,000 per month)
HSBC - Bank Account
Bank Account
Finder score
4.1 ★★★★★
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£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC home&Away.
If you're moving to the UK, you can open the HSBC bank account online from most countries abroad and have it up and running in time for your move. Alternatively, you can open the account once you've arrived in the UK, either in branch or online. You'll need to be at least 18 years old and you'll need to provide a few details about your income, employment, address history and proof of ID. If you're applying from outside the UK you'll also need to provide certified proof of your address, translated into English.
Representative example: 0% EAR (variable) on the first £25, 39.9% EAR (variable) on anything above that, giving a representative annual percentage rate (APR) of 38.9% APR (variable). Based on an arranged overdraft of £1,200.
  • Open online in minutes
  • Online, in-app, by phone or in-branch
  • 24/7 customer support
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Minimum operating balance £0
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.75%
Monzo - Monzo Free
Monzo Free
Finder score
4.6 ★★★★★
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£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Monzo Instant Access Savings Pot earns you 4.10% AER interest (variable), paid monthly into the Pot you create.
You can open a bank account with the Monzo app in less than 15 minutes. All you'll need is a valid ID, such as a driving licence, passport or national ID card. There's no need to show proof of address, although you will need a UK address to enable you to receive your debit card. You can use this card to make purchases in the UK and abroad. When used overseas, Monzo will use the Mastercard exchange rate to carry out the conversion and won't add any fees to the transaction. Depending on your account plan and where you use your card, you might also be able to withdraw cash on your card abroad for free.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you'll be charged interest at 39% EAR variable . Account fee of £0.
  • Easy to set up
  • Good for budgeting and categorising spending
  • Automatic saving feature
  • Fee-free spending abroad
  • Slick app with face login
  • Overdrafts and loans available
  • Free ATM withdrawals outside the EEA limited to £200,
  • £1 fee for depositing cash at PayPoints,
  • Maximum cash deposit of £1,000 every 6 months
  • No rewards program
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals 0%
Starling Bank - Current Account - Age 18 and over
Current Account - Age 18 and over
Finder score
4.7 ★★★★★
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£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

3.24% AER

Interest (AER)

This app-based, free UK current account is quick and easy to open - simply download the app wherever you are, provide some personal details, record a selfie video and take a photo of your ID. You won't be charged for using your debit card overseas or in the UK, and you'll be able to send money to accounts in 35 countries worldwide for a low fee. If you only want to deal in euros, you can also open a euro account alongside your GPB account for no additional charge, making it ideal if you've recently moved abroad.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you'll be charged interest at 15% EAR variable .
  • No monthly-fees
  • No overseas fees
  • 100% digital sign-up
  • 24/7 UK customer support
  • 'Settle up' feature to split joint bills
  • Pays interest on current account balance
  • Overdrafts available (only on personal accounts)
  • No branch network
  • Limited options for depositors
  • No competitive switch incentives if you switch your account
  • Limited product range compared to other banks
  • Lower ATM withdrawal limit than some other digital challengers
  • No group savings feature
  • Doesn't have a specific monthly budgeting tool
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Minimum operating balance £0.01
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals £0
Monese - Monese
Monese
Finder score
3.8 ★★★★★
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£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

You can open GBP, EUR and RON accounts with Monese in a matter of minutes. You'll be able to instantly transfer money between your accounts for free, while international transfers to other accounts might incur a fee, depending on the plan you've chosen. You can use your debit card in foreign currencies across the globe, although the free plan limits the amount you can spend fee-free each month. If you want to use your card for cash withdrawals, these are also free up to a set limit each month. Further benefits include multilingual customer support and the option to open an account with someone else.
  • UK current account that does all you can expect, including direct debits and standing orders.
  • Fast and easy set-up (no credit check or proof of local address needed).
  • Colourful app that is easy to use, allows you to categorise your transactions and freeze the card if you lose it.
  • Free card payments and ATM withdrawals abroad.
  • You can load cash into the account for free.
  • Can open both a UK and European account and switch instantly.
  • With a free plan, fee-free ATM withdrawals and cash loads are limited to £200 per month.
  • You can’t put your savings in a separate account or earn interest on them.
  • It doesn’t offer anything more than a current account.
  • No physical branches.
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Account fee £0
NatWest - Select Account
Select Account
Finder score
4.3 ★★★★★
Read review

£0.01

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

This is NatWest's basic bank account and it charges no monthly fee. To apply, you'll need to provide proof of ID documents such as a UK or EEA driving licence, a UK or foreign passport or an EU and EEA national ID card, making it a good choice if you're soon to move to the UK. You'll also need to provide proof of address. You can manage the account online or through the app. If you use the app, you'll be able to set up savings goals, track your spending and receive instant spending notifications. You might also be eligible for a short-term overdraft.
Representative Example: Effective Annual Rate: 39.49% EAR (variable). Representative APR: 39.49% APR (variable). Assumed credit limit: £1,200 Subject to status. How does this overdraft compare? Representative APRs help you compare the cost of different credit products.
  • No monthly fee
  • Emergency cash option
  • Easy to open and manage
  • Arranged overdraft available
  • Access to mobile banking app to help you manage your finances
  • FSCS protection
  • No interest paid on in-credit balances
  • Interest charged on overdrafts
  • Limited features and benefits
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0.01
Minimum operating balance £0.01
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.75%

Can an expat open a UK bank account?

Yes, as an expat living in the UK, you can usually open a UK bank account as long as you meet the criteria set by the bank you choose.

Several UK banks offer bank accounts specially designed for expats living here. These include well-known household names like HSBC, Barclays, and Lloyds.

Newer digital banks like Revolut, Monese and Monzo also offer good options.

Expert analysis: Have you thought about a digital bank?

rachelwait profile pic
Rachel Wait

Writer

Thanks to the rising number of digital banks in the UK, opening a bank account has become so much easier - whether you're an existing UK resident or you've recently arrived in the country. Gone are the days of queuing for ages to speak to someone in a bank branch just to open an account. Now, after a few clicks of the button, it's possible to have an online bank account up and running in a matter of minutes.

Challenger banks such as Revolut, Monese and Monzo only require you to download their app, provide a few personal details and verify your identity, before your account can be opened. You won't even necessarily need to provide proof of address, making it an ideal solution if you've recently arrived in the UK. Opening an online account with one of these providers will enable you to easily receive your salary and pay your bills while you settle into your new home.

What are the benefits of opening a bank account in the UK?

Having a UK-registered bank account will make your life in the UK a lot easier.

If you’re working, most employers require you to have a UK bank account to pay your wages. Few bosses pay in cash these days.

If you’re renting a property, most landlords will also expect you to pay them via an electronic transfer from a UK-registered bank account.

Having a UK bank account could also save you money. If you use your home country’s bank account while in the UK, you may be charged currency conversion fees to pay for goods with a debit card. With a UK bank account and debit card, that won’t happen.

Which documents are needed to open a bank account for an expat?

Banks require certain documents before allowing you to open an account. This typically includes paperwork to prove your identity and UK address.

The below criteria are a good example of what to expect:

Proof of identity (one of the following)

  • Biometric Residence Permit
  • A current UK photo driving licence
  • Passport from the United Kingdom

Each bank will likely have similar but slightly different requirements for the documents it needs from you before giving you an account.

Lloyds Bank, for example, advises that if you do not have one of the above proofs of identity, you’ll need to bring two other documents you do have to the bank branch as proof of identity and address.

One problem for expats when they first arrive can be a lack of proof of UK address. Online-only digital banks Revolut, Monese and Monzo will let you open a current account without proof of address. However, you’ll still need to supply a UK address for your debit card to be delivered. Contact the bank with which you want to open an account if you’re unsure and check its criteria.

Banks will also need to ask you some questions during the application process. These will likely include the following:

Personal details questions

  • your date of birth, nationality, and marriage status
  • your address (in the UK and your international residence)
  • your phone number and email address
  • your monthly income
  • your occupation
  • your outgoings

Bottom line

Expats living in Britain can open a UK bank account, and there are benefits to doing so, from avoiding currency conversion charges to making it easier to receive wages payments and pay rental bills. Banks will need proof of identity and other personal details to start the process for you.

Frequently asked questions

Banking scores

★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor

Finder scores, in blue, are based on our expert analysis. We also show reviews from users, where we've received more than 10, with a score in yellow. We gather more reviews from customers every year in Finder's customer satisfaction survey.

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We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.
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Matthew Boyle is a banking and mortgages publisher at Finder. He has a 7-year history of publishing helpful guides to assist consumers in making better decisions. In his spare time, you will find him walking in the Norfolk countryside admiring the local wildlife. See full bio

Matthew's expertise
Matthew has written 244 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Helping first-time buyers apply for a mortgage
  • Comparing bank accounts and highlighting useful features
  • Publishing easy-to-understand guides

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