How to open a bank account without ID in the UK

You are going to need some form of ID to open a bank account in the UK, but the range of documents that banks can accept is wider than you might think.

Updated

Fact checked

Opening a bank account in the UK can be extremely easy and quick… or a bit of a nightmare, depending on your personal circumstances and what documents you have.

If you are unable to provide a passport or a UK driving licence, you might think that getting a bank account will be close to impossible, but it’s not quite like that.

Can I open a bank account in the UK without ID?

As you can probably imagine, the short answer to this is no.

Banks need to verify your identity before letting you open a bank account. That’s anti fraud policy 101, and protects you too; you wouldn’t want a random person to be able to open a bank account in your name.

This applies to digital-only banks as well as traditional ones. Even if you try to open an account online or through an app, you’ll be asked to submit a picture of your ID as well as a video of yourself.

Monese

Open a mobile money account today

  • Open your account using your mobile
  • No proof of address or credit check
  • View account details immediately
  • Send and receive payments
  • Sign up takes just 60 seconds
  • Make £15 for referring friends
Promoted

What counts as ID and what can I use to open a bank account?

Most documents counting as ID will display both your personal details and a picture of yourself. If you have a UK passport or a UK driving licence, you are sorted; any bank will take them.

If you don’t, here is a list of alternative IDs that banks will normally accept:

  • Any other nationality’s passport. It might have to be accompanied by a visa if you need it to reside in the UK.
  • Eu/EEA ID card or driving licence. An easy solution if you’ve just moved from a country in the Europen Union to the UK, for example.
  • HMRC tax notification. This is one of those letters you get about your taxes, for example at the end of the tax year, when HMRC will tell you if you have paid too much or too little.
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). A document with your picture, fingerprints and immigration status that you normally get if, for example, you apply for a visa to stay in the UK for longer than six months.
  • Home Office documents. Specifically, an Immigration Status Document or an Application Registration Card (ARC). The ARC is a card released by the Home Office to asylum seekers.
  • Blue disabled drivers pass. This is also referred to as “Blue Badge” and is released by the council. It’s for on-street parking and allows disabled people to park close to their destination.
  • Young Scot card. This is a card that young people aged 11-26 living in Scotland can get for free, and entitles them to a series of benefits, such as school launches and travel discounts.
  • UK Armed Forces ID Card. Such as the one released to veterans.
  • Benefits entitlement letter. You usually receive one in response to your benefits’ application. You can get one from the office that pays your benefits (for example, from the council if you receive housing benefits).
  • Northern Ireland Voters Card. This is one of the documents that voters who leave in Northern Ireland can use to prove their ID when going to the polls.

Many of these documents actually require you to provide an ID when you apply for them. But they can still be helpful, for example if you find yourself having lost your passport and urgently needing to open a bank account before you get a new one.

Also, this is a general list, and different banks may have slightly different policies.

Finally, it’s worth noting that if you have one of these “alternative IDs”, especially the less straightforward ones (e.g. a benefits letter), it will probably be easier to get an account at a traditional bank such as Lloyds or Barclays rather than with a digital one.

How about credit reference checks?

Sometimes, you may be able to apply for and open a current account online from a traditional bank, without ever having to provide proof of identity or popping into a branch at all.

However, this usually means that your identity has been verified digitally through a credit reference agency, by conducting a so-called “soft check” that will not leave traces on your credit record.

For banks to be able to verify your identity this way, your credit report needs to contain enough information about you to allow it. So if it’s the first time you apply for a current account or any other type of banking product, don’t expect it to work.

Also, be aware that most traditional banks will perform a full credit check (not just a soft one) when you apply for a current account, particularly if it comes with an overdraft facility.

Frequently asked questions

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.

More guides on Finder

  • How to invest in the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) from the UK

    Find the cheapest and easiest ways to invest in Asia’s oldest stock exchange.

  • How to invest in the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) from the UK

    Here are the cheapest and easiest ways to invest in the world’s fourth-largest stock exchange.

  • Business bank accounts for non-UK residents

    We’ve put together some tips and information on how to open a business bank account in the UK as a non-resident.

  • Business bank accounts for contractors

    Contractors usually need a business bank account, so we’ve put together a guide on how to find one that works for you.

  • Business bank accounts with overdrafts

    Business overdrafts can be a useful safety net, but be aware of fees and charges.

  • Can you run a business from home?

    Looking to set up your own business but not quite ready to get a proper office? You can definitely run your company from home, once you’ve taken care of a few details.

  • Bank accounts for charities

    Opening a bank account is one of the very first things you need to do when setting up a charity. Here we look at how to go about finding the right account, from comparing different options to saving on fees.

  • How to set up a charity

    Registering your business as a charity is a pretty admin-intensive process. Here we cover the basic steps, from recruiting trustees to opening a bank account and registering with the Charity Commission.

  • Types of bank accounts

    Should you get a current account, a savings account, or both? What about joint accounts and premium accounts? Banking can be messy if you don’t know the jargon. This guide looks at the main types of bank accounts and what services they offer to help you figure out what you need exactly.

  • Online business accounts

    Opening a business bank account can seem like a stressful process, but in fact there are now a number of banks and providers that will let you do it quickly and easily online. Here’s where to look and what to expect.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site