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.

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 UK passport or 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 any 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 it protects you too; you wouldn’t want a random person to be able to open a bank account in your name.

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

However, if you don’t have a valid UK passport or driving licence, there are some other forms of ID that banks may consider, which we outline below.

Bank and e-money accounts known for an easy application process

Revolut - Revolut Standard

Revolut Standard
Finder rating
★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
Go to site Read review

£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Sign up and get a free £10 top-up with Finder and get 1 month of Revolut Premium for free, too. For new customers only, T&Cs apply.
Opening an account with Revolut only takes a few minutes and you can do everything straight from your phone. Simply download the app at the App Store or Google Play and then enter your phone number and create a 4-digit passcode for your account. A code will be sent to your phone to verify your account, and you'll need to provide details such as your name, birth date, address and email. You can then verify your identity through the app with a passport or ID card and once approved, your Revolut card should arrive within 9 working days. The standard plan has no monthly fee and lets you send and receive money in more than 30 currencies with no hidden fees. You'll also be able to use the app to track your spending and organise subscriptions to see where you could save, plus set up 'Pockets' to make sure you never miss a bill payment.
  • Quick application,
  • No credit check or proof of address,
  • Set budgets and save 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 card transactions 0% Mon-Fri (max. £1,000 per month)
Overseas cash withdrawals 0% Mon-Fri (max. £1,000 per month)

Monese - Monese

Monese
Finder rating
★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
Go to site Read review

£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Get a free £10 bonus when using your card to make a transaction for the first time using the promo code FINDER22 plus earn up to £30 from each friend you refer.
To open this account, you'll need to be aged 18 or over and living in the European Economic Area (EEA). All you need to do is download the Monese app from the App Store, Google Play or App Gallery, and then provide your email address and phone number, an ID document like your passport and a quick video selfie to confirm your identity. Simply say where you'd like your card to be sent to and your online account should be up and running. No credit checks are required and you do not need to provide any address documents either. Instead, Monese will verify your address through asking for access to your geolocation while you're using the app. The Monese Starter account has no monthly fee and offers free local transfers in and out, plus instant Monese to Monese account transfers. You can access the account via the app and from a desktop computer.
  • 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

Starling Bank - Starling

Starling
Finder rating
★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
Go to site Read review

£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Opening a bank account with Starling is easy and should only take around 5 minutes. Simply download the app from Google Play or the App Store and then provide some personal details and photo ID, plus a video selfie. Once your account has been verified, you'll be sent a notification and your account will be up and running. There's no monthly fee for the account which offers instant notifications plus categorised spending insights to help you track your spending and budget better. You can also put money aside in virtual piggy banks, automatically round up transactions to save the change, take advantage of an overdraft and earn interest on your balance. There are no fees for using your card overseas and you can send money internationally with no hidden fees. Manage your account from your laptop, computer or phone and take advantage of 24/7 customer support.
  • Free ATM withdrawals and spending anywhere abroad
  • Can deposit both cash and cheques for free
  • Spending insights and saving tools
  • 'Settle up' feature to split joint bills
  • Pays interest on current account balance
  • Overdrafts and loans available
  • Lower ATM withdrawal limit than some other digital challengers
  • No group savings feature
  • Doesn't have a specific monthly budgeting tool
  • No rewards program
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Account fee £0

Monzo - Monzo

Monzo
Finder rating
★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
Read review

£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

To open a Monzo account, all you need to do is download the app on either iOS or Android and then provide personal details such as your home address, email and phone number. You'll also be asked a few details about what you do for a living and you'll then need to verify your identity using a form of ID and by taking a video selfie. The whole process should take no more than 10 minutes. Monzo's free account option offers fee-free UK bank transfers, plus instant notifications so you can see what you're spending where. You'll also be able to set up separate pots to help you keep money for bills or holidays separate from the rest of your balance. Because Monzo is a fully licensed UK bank, eligible deposits will be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to £85,000 per person.
  • 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
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals 0%

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

Most documents that count 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 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 European 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 people with disability 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 live 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 need 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 high street bank, rather than with a digital-only bank.

Which high street banks could help?

Many high street banks offer a range of accounts that are easier to apply for than other types of account. These include basic bank accounts that can help people with a poor credit score apply for an account and often do not require proof of address.

HSBC

HSBC is working in partnership with Shelter and other UK and local charities to help those without a fixed home address open a bank account. The No Fixed Address programme is available in selected HSBC branches and to access it you must be experiencing housing or homelessness difficulties and receiving support from one of HSBC’s partner charities.

Alternatively, if you have a UK or EU address, you can apply for HSBC’s basic bank account. This account is designed for those struggling to get accepted for a bank account elsewhere, either due to financial difficulties or a poor credit record.

Metro Bank

In most cases, if you’re a UK, EEA or Swiss National, all you’ll need to open a bank account with Metro Bank is a valid passport, EU national ID card, or UK driving licence. If you’re not a UK, EEA or Swiss National, you will need to show a valid passport containing your current visa or Biometric Residence Permit, plus proof of address.

If you can’t provide some of the documents requested, you can still apply for Metro Bank’s Cash Account and the bank will accept the following:

  • International students – valid passport, plus student visa and a letter of acceptance or introduction from a UK education institution
  • Asylum seekers – IND Application Registration Card issued by the Home Office, plus proof of address and confirmation of asylum support allowance or other income
  • People in care homes or sheltered accommodation – in this situation you should speak to a branch staff member to talk through your options.

Lloyds

If you have a UK passport or driving licence, this is usually all you need to open a bank account with Lloyds, so you don’t need to worry about proof of address.

However, if you don’t have a UK passport or driving licence, you will need to bring two documents into your local branch, one as proof of identity and one as proof of address.

Proof of ID can include:

  • Current EU/EEA passport, photo driving licence or identity card
  • HMRC tax notification

Proof of address can include:

  • Bank, building society or UK credit union statement
  • Utility bill dated from the last six months

If you do not have any of the above, Lloyds says it may still be able to help you open an account if you contact your local branch for assistance. If you do not qualify for any of Lloyds’ main bank accounts, you may be put forward for its basic account (you cannot apply for it directly).

TSB

Similar to Lloyds, if you are opening a TSB bank account online you will usually only need to provide proof of ID. You will also need details of your income, addresses for the past three years and the name and address of your employer. You will need to be aged 18 or over, a UK resident and either an EU national or have permission to stay in the UK for at least 12 months.

Like most other high street banks, if you do not qualify for any of TSB’s main bank accounts, you may qualify for its basic Cash Account.

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.

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 in 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. You can check your credit score here for free.

There are current accounts on the market that do not conduct a credit check. These include current accounts from Cashplus and ThinkMoney.

Who would consider a bank account while struggling to provide ID?

There are a number of scenarios in which someone might be struggling to provide ID and there are different options they can take. We’ve outlined these below:

The bottom line

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to open a bank account in the UK without being able to show some recognised form of identification. This is primarily in order to prevent fraud.

When most people think about ID, they tend to picture the need to show either a valid UK passport or a driving licence. But if you don’t have either of these, you should still be able to open a current or savings account.

There are some other forms of ID that banks may be able to use when considering an application to open an account. These can include a passport from another country, EU or EEA ID or driving licence, HMRC tax notifications, and Home Office documents. Digital banking providers that are well known to offer an easy application process include Monese, Starling Bank and Revolut and from time to may offer welcome cash bonuses.

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

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