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Pollywaffle

New Query on opening a bank in the UK

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Hello

I know that this has been addressed previously..but my husband and I are moving back to UK, after 17 years..within the year.  Yesterday, I contacted HSBC in Australia and was advised that if I opened a bank account with a local HSBC branch here, i..e in Brisbane, we would be able to open an equivalent account in the UK...I was informed by the HSBC guy that 'the UK would allow you to open a bank account in England on the strength of you having an existing HSBC account in Australia'.  Now, I see this as an answer to our prayers..but wonder why it hasn't been alluded to on here before?  Is there something we are not being told; is it too good to be true?   Would appreciate hearing from any bods who have used HSBC  in this way?

Thanks everso.

Rebecca

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Posted (edited)

You can open an account with a British bank simply by turning up at the branch with your passport.  I did that the day I arrived.  However all that does is create an account in your name, you can't actually do anything with it until you've had an appointment with a bank official and provided them with evidence of your residency in the UK (i.e. a bank statement or some kind of bill with your new address on it) - and that took me another three weeks!

Under the new money laundering legislation, It is illegal for any British bank to allow you to start transacting on a bank account without proof of residency in the UK.   I have heard of someone who said HSBC allowed them to, but if they did, they broke the law.  Whether they're still doing it, I don't know.

One way to speed it up is this:  five or six weeks before you go, tell your bank you're moving to the UK and give them a UK address (a friend or family member).  Don't use "care of" or include your friend's name - just your name at the address, as if it's yours.  Then make sure your credit card statements are set so they are printed and  posted to you, not emailed.  

That way, when you arrive, you'll have a credit card statement waiting for you at your friend's address.  That means you can get an appointment with the bank in your first week and offer that statement as proof of residency (you just need to keep a straight face if they ask you to confirm you live there).

By the way, I hope you saw my reply to your post on another thread:  if you take your superannuation as a lump sum when you retire, the Inland Revenue will gobble up a huge chunk in tax!  It's tax-free in Australia but NOT in the UK.  Your only sensible options are to withdraw funds in small amounts as you need it, or convert it to an "income stream" (a pension that's paid monthly or quarterly).  You'll still have to declare the income to the British taxman but you'll lose less in tax.

Edited by Marisawright
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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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I still had my uk drivers license with my aunts address on it, so used that. Just meant that my card was sent there and then she sent it on to me, but still had it within a week. 

To allow for this I used my global currency card from Westpac that I loaded up in Australia, whilst waiting for my UK card so I wasn’t penniless!

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Hi we bank with HSBC in fact I was employed by them for 40 years. We opened our account with HSBC Australia last September in readiness for our move. Bank cards and cheque book were sent out to the UK. We could start using the account straight away and transferred funds from UK to Australia and then from Australia to our son who paid assurance of Support bond and visa fee. Really easy now to transfer funds from our UK account to Australia account you can see the funds straight away so no messing with third party just keep watching the rate. 


143 lodged 23 June 2015.  Visa granted 18 January 2019. 5 days short of 43 months! 

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32 minutes ago, Judy said:

Hi we bank with HSBC in fact I was employed by them for 40 years. We opened our account with HSBC Australia last September...

Yes, if you're travelling the other way, it's easy.  Australia allows foreigners to open bank accounts without proof of residence, whereas the UK doesn't any more.


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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42 minutes ago, Amber Snowball said:

I still had my uk drivers license with my aunts address on it, so used that. Just meant that my card was sent there and then she sent it on to me, but still had it within a week. 

To allow for this I used my global currency card from Westpac that I loaded up in Australia, whilst waiting for my UK card so I wasn’t penniless!

Aha , I wondered how you managed it.   The drivers license acted as proof of residence.

Best thing is, don't close your existing Australian bank account or cut up your debit/credit card and just keep using that.  Especially if you're with a bank that has decent exchange rates/fees.


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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37 minutes ago, Marisawright said:

Yes, if you're travelling the other way, it's easy.  Australia allows foreigners to open bank accounts without proof of residence, whereas the UK doesn't any more.

Why would HSBC Australia give her wrong information? Its all done through their international division. They will get fined if they do not follow the rules. 


143 lodged 23 June 2015.  Visa granted 18 January 2019. 5 days short of 43 months! 

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, Judy said:

Why would HSBC Australia give her wrong information? Its all done through their international division. They will get fined if they do not follow the rules. 

Maybe the Australian staff member is not familiar with the rules, or misread the information?

Before I moved to the UK a couple of years ago, I was a Citibank customer.  At the time, according to the Citibank Australia website, I could open a UK bank account through them.  I spoke to the bank who assured me it would be no problem and in fact, I could open it while still in Australia.    

About a week later, someone rang me to say they were very sorry, but it wasn't possible after all, because the UK rules didn't allow it.  Several weeks later, the wrong information was still on their website. 

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Posted (edited)

i believe HSBC, like Citibank, has a Global Account which allows you to hold several different currencies, including Pounds Sterling.  But that is not an account with the UK arm of the bank.

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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HSBC in UK has to abide by UK banking rules. It is a different entity to HSBC Australia even though they may share a parent. And tbh HSBC wouldn’t be my first choice in UK or Australia. 


So many wineries ......so little time :yes:

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8 hours ago, Marisawright said:

Aha , I wondered how you managed it.   The drivers license acted as proof of residence.

Best thing is, don't close your existing Australian bank account or cut up your debit/credit card and just keep using that.  Especially if you're with a bank that has decent exchange rates/fees.

Yes, it’s getting the proof of address that can be time consuming. I think your idea of the bank/credit card statement to a UK address is a good one. 

I genuinely cannot remember if they looked at my drivers licence but I had it if they needed it. 

I think the best thing with the Halifax was that they offered me a  mortgage straight away just with a job offer letter. I had no credit history in the uk having been gone so long, so was very pleased. Got the advertised rate as well! 

Loved my Westpac global currency card as that allowed me money to use whilst awaiting my money transfer from Aus to Uk. 

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Hello all

thanks so much for all your responses- not sure if we’re across it all 😀 but I guess the bottom line is that HSBC as an international bank wouldn’t do anything illegal operationally - but that said not sure if we can trust them with our life’s savings - literally. I think the best approach is to use friend’s UK address for bank statements and take it that way. I particularly liked the idea of filling a Comm bank card up with a stack of pounds- so we have finances... 

thanks to Marisa for your caution about husband’s super - will do as you suggest.

now that’s one thing sort of ticked off - only 3430000 more things to do in our seamless return to UK!!!

thanks all

Rebecca

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1 hour ago, Pollywaffle said:

the bottom line is that HSBC as an international bank wouldn’t do anything illegal operationally - but that said not sure if we can trust them with our life’s savings - literally. I think the best approach is to use friend’s UK address for bank statements and take it that way. I particularly liked the idea of filling a Comm bank card up with a stack of pounds- so we have finances... 

thanks to Marisa for your caution about husband’s super - will do as you suggest.

now that’s one thing sort of ticked off - only 3430000 more things to do in our seamless return to UK!!!

thanks all

Rebecca

No, the HSBC wouldn't do anything illegal, but like every other organisation, their staff are only human and make mistakes.  HSBC customers all over the world can open accounts easily in other countries - except the UK.  He may not be aware of that exception and assumes everywhere is the same.  

Amber isn't talking about a "Comm bank card".  She's talking about a "travel money card" - in her case the Westpac one, but most banks have one.  The limitation is that they're not a credit card, so you can't use them for everything (car rental companies and some hotels won't take them, for instance), and if you lose the card, you've lost access to the money until you can get a replacement card.  

The easiest thing is to just use your existing Australian credit and debit cards exactly as you do now (you shouldn't close your Australian accounts anyway for several months as there is always stuff you forget).   However, check what they charge for foreign currency transactions - you might be better off opening an account (in Australia) with ING, because they don't charge fees on foreign transactions.  

If you have substantial money to transfer, use Moneycorp (or an equivalent money transfer specialist).  Moneycorp don't charge fees if you join through these forums.  Then you transfer your Australian dollars to your account with them, and you can leave it there safely until you get an account opened in the UK, and then you can move it (in pounds) into your UK account. 

 


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Hello Marisa

I referred to it as a Comm bank card, but of course, I meant a comm bank travel money card.  We used one at Christmas when we went home on hols..very useful things..certainly better than the old travellers cheques...

Rest of what you put...most interesting...thank you

Rebecca

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2 hours ago, Pollywaffle said:

Hello Marisa

I referred to it as a Comm bank card, but of course, I meant a comm bank travel money card.  We used one at Christmas when we went home on hols..very useful things..certainly better than the old travellers cheques...

Rest of what you put...most interesting...thank you

Rebecca

Westpac let me order 2 cards so I had a spare!

Find out if commbank have any sister banks in the uk as Barclays didn’t charge me to use an atm because they belong to the same parent group as Westpac. Saves a few quid. 

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You can open an account with a British bank simply by turning up at the branch with your passport.  I did that the day I arrived.  However all that does is create an account in your name, you can't actually do anything with it until you've had an appointment with a bank official and provided them with evidence of your residency in the UK (i.e. a bank statement or some kind of bill with your new address on it) - and that took me another three weeks!
Under the new money laundering legislation, It is illegal for any British bank to allow you to start transacting on a bank account without proof of residency in the UK.   I have heard of someone who said HSBC allowed them to, but if they did, they broke the law.  Whether they're still doing it, I don't know.

One way to speed it up is this:  five or six weeks before you go, tell your bank you're moving to the UK and give them a UK address (a friend or family member).  Don't use "care of" or include your friend's name - just your name at the address, as if it's yours.  Then make sure your credit card statements are set so they are printed and  posted to you, not emailed.  

That way, when you arrive, you'll have a credit card statement waiting for you at your friend's address.  That means you can get an appointment with the bank in your first week and offer that statement as proof of residency (you just need to keep a straight face if they ask you to confirm you live there).

By the way, I hope you saw my reply to your post on another thread:  if you take your superannuation as a lump sum when you retire, the Inland Revenue will gobble up a huge chunk in tax!  It's tax-free in Australia but NOT in the UK.  Your only sensible options are to withdraw funds in small amounts as you need it, or convert it to an "income stream" (a pension that's paid monthly or quarterly).  You'll still have to declare the income to the British taxman but you'll lose less in tax.


Hi Marisa,

I’ve just bought a house in Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 with the intention to rent our for 2 years then retire and live in it. Will I be permitted to now open a bank account in Scotland now that I’m a Landlord whilst living in Melbourne?
Clearly need some sort of UK bank account for transaction purposes.

Thanks
Elaine

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50 minutes ago, Elaine Davis said:

I’ve just bought a house in Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 with the intention to rent our for 2 years then retire and live in it. Will I be permitted to now open a bank account in Scotland now that I’m a Landlord whilst living in Melbourne?
 

No.  You can't open a bank account in the UK if you are not a resident.   You could use Moneycorp to transfer money back and forth. 

If you haven't done so already, consult a tax agent who's experienced in tax in both countries, to make sure you do all the right things with the house.  There's some kind of non-resident's form to fill in for the UK tax man so you don't pay tax there.  Then you'll need to declare the income on your Australian tax return and know which expenses you can claim.  


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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