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Loulabelle

International bank account

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Hi all,

We have been planning to move back to Scotland for some time now. We were supposed to make the move this March but things were delayed with my dad passing away, so we were then aiming for September this year. However, with all that’s going on just now with Coronavirus, we’re concerned we might need to delay further. I have some money in the uk from my father which is currently being kept safe by a family member. She tried to put it into my account that I had before I left. However, they were unable to take the payment. I am unable to access the account by phone banking or online. As a result I am considering setting up an international bank account. Can anyone recommend one? Or an alternative? 

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32 minutes ago, Loulabelle said:

Hi all,

We have been planning to move back to Scotland for some time now. We were supposed to make the move this March but things were delayed with my dad passing away, so we were then aiming for September this year. However, with all that’s going on just now with Coronavirus, we’re concerned we might need to delay further. I have some money in the uk from my father which is currently being kept safe by a family member. She tried to put it into my account that I had before I left. However, they were unable to take the payment. I am unable to access the account by phone banking or online. As a result I am considering setting up an international bank account. Can anyone recommend one? Or an alternative? 

If you didn't close down your old account, it has probably gone into 'dormant' status. It might be possible to re-activate it if it has not been dormant for too long. No idea what the timeframe is though - the dormant accounts I used to deal with had been dormant for over 20 years. Even then, it was possible to get back the money that was in them within a few days - in our case it was kept in a big 'pot' and the interest used for charitable purposes.

The Financial Services Ombudsman website should have details on dormant accounts that might help: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

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3 minutes ago, LobsterMobster said:

If you didn't close down your old account, it has probably gone into 'dormant' status. It might be possible to re-activate it if it has not been dormant for too long. No idea what the timeframe is though - the dormant accounts I used to deal with had been dormant for over 20 years. Even then, it was possible to get back the money that was in them within a few days - in our case it was kept in a big 'pot' and the interest used for charitable purposes.

The Financial Services Ombudsman website should have details on dormant accounts that might help: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Thank you for this! 
I did look into reactivating a dormant account but couldn’t seem to get anywhere with that. From what I could see they wanted me to go to the bank in person with ID which is impossible at the moment. I may try again and give the bank a call for advice. I don’t have any money in the account so not a worry about that. I would just really like to have the money left from my dad in my own account as my aunt is anxious about having it in her account. If I were able to reactivate the account, do you know if they would be able to have my Australian address on it and reactivate online banking for me too? With me having access to phone banking? 

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29 minutes ago, Loulabelle said:

 If I were able to reactivate the account, do you know if they would be able to have my Australian address on it and reactivate online banking for me too? With me having access to phone banking? 

That seems a bit optimistic to me... You could call them and ask if they hold non-resident accounts, but I suspect the answer would be 'no'. 

Basically, you just want them to re-open the account and pay the inheritance in - which would fall under the banner of "treating customers fairly", as you presumably kept the account open for just this kind of eventuality and they didn't bother to tell you couldn't use it anymore. 

Once the account is reactivated and the money paid in, it won't go dormant again for another 12 months at least. If can you get a relative to pay in 50p every few months, it won't go dormant at all! You can get the internet and phone banking set up when you go back, and the inheritance money is safe in the meantime.

If I were you I'd write to your bank explaining that you are in the process of returning to Scotland, will be living at [relative's address], have been delayed in Australia by Corona and therefore can't go into a branch to re-activate the account, asking them what you want them to do, and telling them you'll be complaining to the Financial Ombudsman if they don't action your request in 8 weeks. You should get a favourable response. Remember to enclose some kind of proof that the account is yours, like a statement.  

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21 minutes ago, Loulabelle said:

Thank you so much for this advice LobsterMonster! Really appreciate it 😊

No worries - happy to help 😃

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5 hours ago, Loulabelle said:

Thank you for this! 
I did look into reactivating a dormant account but couldn’t seem to get anywhere with that. From what I could see they wanted me to go to the bank in person with ID which is impossible at the moment. I may try again and give the bank a call for advice. I don’t have any money in the account so not a worry about that. I would just really like to have the money left from my dad in my own account as my aunt is anxious about having it in her account. If I were able to reactivate the account, do you know if they would be able to have my Australian address on it and reactivate online banking for me too? With me having access to phone banking? 

Having an Australian address on it wouldn’t be a problem. It sounds like the account has been inhibited due to dormancy. You will have to visit the bank with identification/proof of address in order for that to be removed.  Not easy from where you are right now but that’s what you will have to do. Can your aunt not transfer it to your Australian account if you want it and she doesn’t want to keep hold of it.  You can then reactivate your account when you do get back to the UK. 

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52 minutes ago, Tulip1 said:

Having an Australian address on it wouldn’t be a problem. 

If you'd said "It shouldn't be a problem", I'd agree with you. But it is. Blame ever-tightening anti-money laundering laws, FATCA and the CRS for that. Banks are cracking down on non-resident accounts as they don't want the hassle and potential risks associated with them. 

That said, OP might phone up the call centre and get the new starter (or someone who's working their notice!) who puts through the change of address straightaway without asking any questions. And it might fly under the radar of the internal auditors. Who knows? We all get lucky sometimes...

52 minutes ago, Tulip1 said:

 You will have to visit the bank with identification/proof of address in order for that to be removed.  Not easy from where you are right now but that’s what you will have to do.

Nope - that is why I said to invoke the hallowed name of the Financial Ombudsman. This exact scenario is something they help with. It even says so on their website. 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, LobsterMobster said:

If you'd said "It shouldn't be a problem", I'd agree with you. But it is. Blame ever-tightening anti-money laundering laws, FATCA and the CRS for that. Banks are cracking down on non-resident accounts as they don't want the hassle and potential risks associated with them. 

That said, OP might phone up the call centre and get the new starter (or someone who's working their notice!) who puts through the change of address straightaway without asking any questions. And it might fly under the radar of the internal auditors. Who knows? We all get lucky sometimes...

Nope - that is why I said to invoke the hallowed name of the Financial Ombudsman. This exact scenario is something they help with. It even says so on their website. 

It says you can just get inhibits removed without doing what the banks requests as per their procedures.  I’m surprised. Can you please post the link saying that.  Also,  banks do advise their customers that they will be putting a dormancy marker on the accounts. The problem often is customers haven’t updated their address with the bank so the letters go to the wrong address. 

Edited by Tulip1

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, LobsterMobster said:

If you'd said "It shouldn't be a problem", I'd agree with you. But it is. Blame ever-tightening anti-money laundering laws, FATCA and the CRS for that. Banks are cracking down on non-resident accounts as they don't want the hassle and potential risks associated with them. 

That said, OP might phone up the call centre and get the new starter (or someone who's working their notice!) who puts through the change of address straightaway without asking any questions. And it might fly under the radar of the internal auditors. Who knows? We all get lucky sometimes...

Nope - that is why I said to invoke the hallowed name of the Financial Ombudsman. This exact scenario is something they help with. It even says so on their website

Edited by Tulip1

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2 hours ago, Tulip1 said:

It says you can just get inhibits removed without doing what the banks requests as per their procedures.  I’m surprised. Can you please post the link saying that.  Also,  banks do advise their customers that they will be putting a dormancy marker on the accounts. The problem often is customers haven’t updated their address with the bank so the letters go to the wrong address. 

What are you basing your comments on?

'Cos I'm basing mine on over 20 years' UK banking experience, including in my last role (up until late last year) dealing with all dormant account enquiries, Reclaim Fund statutory reporting, etc., etc. for the entire bank.

In my professional opinion, if OP follows the instructions I gave above I am 100% convinced they will get the account reopened. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered posting. Kinda wish I hadn't now...

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2 hours ago, LobsterMobster said:

What are you basing your comments on?

'Cos I'm basing mine on over 20 years' UK banking experience, including in my last role (up until late last year) dealing with all dormant account enquiries, Reclaim Fund statutory reporting, etc., etc. for the entire bank.

In my professional opinion, if OP follows the instructions I gave above I am 100% convinced they will get the account reopened. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered posting. Kinda wish I hadn't now...

Oh no, please don’t wish you hadn’t posted. It’s clear you are just trying to help.  I wasn’t trying to catch you out. I just politely asked you to post a link. You said that this exact scenario is something they help with, it even says that on their website (as in the financial ombudsman's website)  I would be really surprised if their website did say that so just asked for clarification that’s all.  

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On 19/03/2020 at 17:10, Tulip1 said:

Having an Australian address on it wouldn’t be a problem. It sounds like the account has been inhibited due to dormancy. You will have to visit the bank with identification/proof of address in order for that to be removed.  Not easy from where you are right now but that’s what you will have to do. Can your aunt not transfer it to your Australian account if you want it and she doesn’t want to keep hold of it.  You can then reactivate your account when you do get back to the UK. 

Having an Australian address may not a problem, but not having a UK mobile phone number can be when it comes to using an online account. I'm no longer able to use my Nationwide online banking because they now insist on having my UK mobile phone number to send me a text message to log in. I can however still use my Santander account as they don't have a problem with using an Australian mobile phone number. Clearly it all depends on who you bank with - perhaps others will share their experience of which banks still provide for online banking from Australia (and which don't even allow Australian addresses)?


Chartered Accountant (England & Wales); Registered Tax Agent & Fellow of The Tax Institute (Australia)

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I can use my Nationwide account with a card reader still.


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

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