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Calling UK PSers- banks' savings a/cs for non-residents

Phoenix

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 5, 2006
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9,364
I'm looking for some banks that offer the best interest rates and that'd also allow non-UK residents to open the accounts.

I used to have a/cs with the Halifax, Abbey National and Nationwide, about 6-7 years ago. However, when I called them today, they kept directing me to their international operations, which do not seem to offer the same great rates as their UK counterparts. I used to be able to also claim interest gross (ie. without the deduction of basic rate tax). FYI, I've not been living in the UK since 1995.

Is this partly/ mainly to do with money-laundering regulations? And is it really true that as a non-resident, I won't be able to open accounts with UK banks? I thought that the Halifax's Stepped Income Reserve was fantastic!

Could anyone shed any light? Also, could you pls recommend some banks? Thanks.
 

chemgirl

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Sep 16, 2009
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2,160
I don't know any real details about how to open an account, I just know that its difficult for non-UK residents, or people who have just moved to the UK. I have no idea why.

My MIL moved back to the UK from Canada about 4 years ago and it was a nightmare. She had a large amount of cash from the sale of her home so you would think banks would be lining up to have her as a client. She says it took nearly a month to find a bank that would accept her as a client and allow her to transfer the money. Then when she actually arrived in the UK the bank wouldn't approve her for a credit card! You'd think the $200 000+ sitting in her account would be enough to approve her for a low limit card for online purchases. I think it took her about 6 months to get everything sorted out.

So no real advice, but I wish you luck!
 

Deia

Brilliant_Rock
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735
+1 to chemgirl. It's really hard to open an account when you first get there. I had to open an HSBC passport account which was specifically for people moving from abroad. You may want to look not that account type.

I've been living there for 4 years, have no debt and a decent amount of savings yet I cannot for the life of me get a credit card. I almost feel discriminated against considering they seem to throw credit cards at other people, and my bf got one with no problem and he was still paying off a loan at the time. Whatever!
 

chemgirl

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 16, 2009
Messages
2,160
Deia|1318168902|3036450 said:
+1 to chemgirl. It's really hard to open an account when you first get there. I had to open an HSBC passport account which was specifically for people moving from abroad. You may want to look not that account type.

I've been living there for 4 years, have no debt and a decent amount of savings yet I cannot for the life of me get a credit card. I almost feel discriminated against considering they seem to throw credit cards at other people, and my bf got one with no problem and he was still paying off a loan at the time. Whatever!
That's exactly what MIL and DH did when they moved. I think you have to prove that you're moving though. I don't think you can have this type of account if you are a non-resident.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
Try HSBC.

No idea about the rest and forget about interest on your accounts... there is none.
 

Jennifer W

Brilliant_Rock
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Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
1,958
It is inordinately difficult to open a bank account in the UK if you aren't domiciled here - the Money Laundering Regulations from last year make it very hard to do. Intentionally. If you're depositing a large amount of cash, it's even harder- that is a red flag for money laundering activity under the regs. Credit isn't generally offered to non UK nationals who aren't permanently domiciled here either. As Pandora said, there's no interest to be had anyway.

One option you could look into would be a credit union. If you can find one whose entry requirements you can satisfy, they can offer a better return, since you're getting a dividend rather than an interest payment. Most have an area of residence requirement, but a few are less stringent or will accept members who used to reside in or have some other connection with their catchment area.It will still go through the money laundering checks, and could take a while, but at least it's an ethical investment at the end of it all.

Good luck
 

Phoenix

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
9,364
chemgirl|1318168180|3036448 said:
I don't know any real details about how to open an account, I just know that its difficult for non-UK residents, or people who have just moved to the UK. I have no idea why.

My MIL moved back to the UK from Canada about 4 years ago and it was a nightmare. She had a large amount of cash from the sale of her home so you would think banks would be lining up to have her as a client. She says it took nearly a month to find a bank that would accept her as a client and allow her to transfer the money. Then when she actually arrived in the UK the bank wouldn't approve her for a credit card! You'd think the $200 000+ sitting in her account would be enough to approve her for a low limit card for online purchases. I think it took her about 6 months to get everything sorted out.

So no real advice, but I wish you luck!
Wow! I cannot believe that! Glad she got it sorted out in the end.

Thanks.
 

Phoenix

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
9,364
Deia|1318168902|3036450 said:
+1 to chemgirl. It's really hard to open an account when you first get there. I had to open an HSBC passport account which was specifically for people moving from abroad. You may want to look not that account type.

I've been living there for 4 years, have no debt and a decent amount of savings yet I cannot for the life of me get a credit card. I almost feel discriminated against considering they seem to throw credit cards at other people, and my bf got one with no problem and he was still paying off a loan at the time. Whatever!
It doesn't seem to make sense, doesn't it?!
 

Phoenix

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
9,364
Pandora|1318275738|3037193 said:
Try HSBC.

No idea about the rest and forget about interest on your accounts... there is none.
Thanks, Pandora. I actually have had a relationship with HSBC for the past 10 years or so; so was able to open a fixed term deposit with them but the rate is pretty lousy! :((

At least it's something I guess. I tried Lloyds International and thought I was onto something only to be told at the last minute that due to some issue(s) between Singapore and the Isle of Man they couldn't open the a/c for me and yet they couldn't tell me exactly what the problem was! :angryfire:
 

Phoenix

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
9,364
Jennifer W|1318276334|3037197 said:
It is inordinately difficult to open a bank account in the UK if you aren't domiciled here - the Money Laundering Regulations from last year make it very hard to do. Intentionally. If you're depositing a large amount of cash, it's even harder- that is a red flag for money laundering activity under the regs. Credit isn't generally offered to non UK nationals who aren't permanently domiciled here either. As Pandora said, there's no interest to be had anyway.

One option you could look into would be a credit union. If you can find one whose entry requirements you can satisfy, they can offer a better return, since you're getting a dividend rather than an interest payment. Most have an area of residence requirement, but a few are less stringent or will accept members who used to reside in or have some other connection with their catchment area.It will still go through the money laundering checks, and could take a while, but at least it's an ethical investment at the end of it all.

Good luck
Yes, anti-money laundering regulations were what I was thinking were the reason; which actually is rather ridiculous, since I'm a UK national and would consider myself UK-domiciled (but not resident and ordinarily resident).

Lloyds International actually pays up to 4% interest p.a. tax-free which is actually not too bad. Never mind....

I didn't know about credit unions. How do I find one? Is this it?

http://www.tameside.gov.uk/creditunion

Thanks, Jennifer.
 
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