Personal Finances

Finances – opening a bank account

It is advisable to give some thought to your banking arrangements before moving to the UK.

Some of the major banks provide global services which may enable you to open a UK bank account before arriving in the UK.  However the requirements vary in different countries and separate regulations apply to accounts opened in the UK. It may therefore be preferable to consider your banking options, but not open an account until you arrive in the UK.


There are a number of banks and building societies from which to select. Some international banks may have the facility to set up a UK bank account for you before you leave for the UK, but if this is not the case you will need to open a bank account on arrival in the UK.

Banks and building societies both offer current accounts, savings accounts and investments. The main difference between them is that banks operate for the shareholders and building societies are mutual institutions, meaning that people with an account can vote on issues affecting the society.

There is a lot of variation in bank accounts in the UK and it’s important to find out which suits you best.

Many bank accounts are free but many offer additional services such as insurance, which you have to pay a monthly fee for. Think carefully about whether these are useful services of you and offer good value.

Your salary can be paid into any UK bank or building society and there are branches of a number of banks in the local area. You should research the benefits and disadvantages of an account with a range of UK banks so that you can choose a bank that is right for you.

You can use a website such as to compare different types of bank accounts from different banks and building societies.

Banks in the UK are legally obligated to undertake identity and address verification, which may lead to a delay in individuals from outside of the UK opening a UK bank account. Please check with your chosen bank the items of documentation they require before you make an appointment to open your account.