Opening a bank account in the UK without a proof of address

You can open an account with a digital bank in minutes.

Updated

If you need a UK bank account as soon as possible, opening an account with a challenger/digital bank usually takes a few minutes.

With these banks, you will need a UK address and a proof of identity (passport or driving license will do), but usually no proof of address.

Santander Santander
Current account

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Starling Starling

UK current account with fee-free spending abroad

Moneybox Moneybox
Save and invest

Save and invest with Moneybox App

Yolt Yolt
Free download

Spend smart and reach your goals with Yolt

Banks that don’t (normally) ask for a proof of address

    • Starling Bank. A UK based digital bank that let’s you set up from your phone.
    • Revolut . A UK current account set up on your phone that allows you to hold multiple currencies.
    • N26. The EU’s biggest mobile bank, launched in the UK earlier in 2019.
    • Monese
    • Monzo

The UK’s most popular digital bank, which you can set up from your phone.

The banks in this list are all challenger/digital banks. You can read more about challenger banks like the ones above in our in depth article, but basically a challenger bank is a recently born bank. They try to make banking easier and cheaper for customers, thus “challenging” the market dominance of traditional banks such as Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC.

  • Challengers are digital and mobile only.
  • They don’t have any physical branches and you do everything from an app.
  • Challenger banks are free
  • You’ll get a UK bank account complete with account number and sort code, which allows you to have your salary paid into it.

The most popular challenger banks in the UK are Starling and Monzo, both of which have a full UK banking licence. Your money with them will be protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), just like with any traditional bank.

Other popular options are N26, which has a full EU banking licence, Revolut, which is in the process of getting one and Monese, which has an electronic money licence issued by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

What counts as proof of address?

Some banks will need a proof of address.

If you’re asked for proof of address, here’s what will count:

  • Utility bills. If you have one of these (telephone, water or electricity, but usually not Internet or mobile phone), you’re sorted as any bank will take them. The same applies to this year’s council tax bill. Ask your housemate to get one of those in your name, this may actually be the fastest way to get yourself a reliable proof of address.
  • EU driving licence. Many banks will take an EU driving licence as proof of address, but obviously, in most cases you won’t have your brand new British address on your fairly old European licence, so it might not be that useful. Cheer up though, you can still use it to drive around.
  • HMRC tax notification letter. Not a straightforward solution, but again, most banks will take it. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is the government department that collects taxes. If you already have a payslip and National Insurance Number (NIN), you may be able to register for a personal tax account and print a certificate of the taxes you’ve paid in the UK for the current year. However, if you’re looking at opening a bank account to get your first salary paid, you’ve lived in the UK for less than 12 months and you don’t have a British passport, you’ll usually get a depressing message from HMRC saying it’s unable to verify your identity and get you an HMRC tax account.
  • Bank or credit card statement. Not much use if you’re trying to open a first one, but banks will accept other bank statements as proof of address.
  • Tenancy agreement. Some banks accept it, others will only take it if it’s issued by a housing association or by the local council. Traditional banks usually publish a list of the documents they’ll take as proof of identity and address. Checking it before starting your application will save you from wasting time.
  • University acceptance letter/enrolment certificate. If you’re a student, you can print one directly from your university’s online portal. Again, some banks will take it, some won’t.

Criteria can vary from bank to bank and some branches (and even some employees!) can be stricter than others. All of the above will have to be recent and display both your name and the exact same address you’re using for your application.

Challenger banks are good for moving country

Aside from being quick and easy for sign up to, challenger banks have a series of features that appeal to people who travel, such as:

  • Low fees for using the card abroad. With most challenger banks, transactions abroad come for free, and so does withdrawing cash from ATMs, at least up to a certain limit. If you travel quite a lot or are planning to spend your holidays back home, you’ll save a nice amount of money in fees.
  • Multicurrency accounts. Both Revolut and Monese already come with free EU accounts together with the UK one and Starling is currently rolling out the same feature. With Revolut, you’re covered even if the euro isn’t the currency you need: you can exchange money in 24 different currencies without paying any fee up to £5,000 a month, at the interbank exchange rate.
  • Budgeting features. Most challengers offer a smart digital banking app that includes detailed data reports on how you spend your money, plus ways to put some aside for a specific goal, which can be helpful if you’ve just moved to the UK and are struggling to figure out what kind of lifestyle you can afford with your current salary.

Compare digital banking apps

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Fees and charges Delivery speed
Starling Bank
Free
Between 3-5 working days
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
Santander Everyday Current Account
Free
NA
Cashplus Activeplus
£2 for ATM withdrawals
Between 3-5 working days
Current account and Mastercard - all managed from your phone. Also comes with a creditbuilder option.
thinkmoney Current Account
£10 monthly fee for a single account or £15.00 for a joint account
Between 3-5 working days
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Foreign ATM withdrawals Foreign transactions fee Card cost Delivery speed
Starling Bank
Free
No fees
Free
Between 3-5 working days
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
WeSwap
Withdrawals of £200/$200/€200 or more – free
smaller withdrawals – a charge of £1.50 per withdrawal

No transaction fees (if you spend in one of the 18 wallet currencies)
Free
Between 3-5 working days in the UK, or within 10 days if you live outside the UK
Tandem (Credit Card)
No ATM fees. However you'll be charged interest from the day you withdraw cash.
No fees
Free
-
Tandem's credit card doesn't charge fees on purchases abroad, leaving you with more money for your travels.
Loot
Two free cash withdrawals per month, £1 thereafter
No fees
Free
-
App-based current account that keeps you on top of your spending. You can set goals and Loot will help you get there.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Fees and charges Interest Savings goals
Revolut (Standard)
Free with finder.com, otherwise card delivery is £4.99
No interest
Set budgets in the app
Starling Bank
Free
0.05% on up to £85,000
Create different spending goals and protect money from daily spending
Monese (Starter)
None
No interest
Not a feature
Monzo
Free
Marketplace with 8 savings accounts both fixed rate and easy access, £500 minimum deposit.
Monzo pots let you put money aside, protected from your daily spending
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Direct debits UK ATM withdrawals Payments Freeze your card
Revolut (Standard)
Supported with both the UK account and the Euro IBAN account
£200 free monthly
Easy UK payments and can transfer money between 23 countries
Yes: touch of a button in app
App-based current account with loads of extra features. (e.g. Real time transactions, payment categorisation, save spare change, free international money transfers, buy cryptocurrency)
Starling Bank
Yes - future Direct Debits shown as alerts
Free
Pay via bank transfer or using PayPal or Google Nearby
Yes: touch of a button in app
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
Monese (Starter)
Yes - can cancel with touch of a button too
£200 free monthly
Pay via bank transfer, easier to send to another Monese account.
Report lost/stolen in app to be sent replacement
A multi-currency mobile banking app that aims to be ‘built around you’. Use it to open a fully functional current account instantly, straight from your phone, all supported by a feature-rich mobile app
Monzo
Yes - future payments shown in homefeed
Free
Pay via bank transfer or send instantly to other Monzo account
Yes: touch of a button in app
Monzo is free to spend anywhere in the world and in any currency, with no fees. All money is exchanged using the MasterCard rate.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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