Opening a bank account in England

When you come to the United Kingdom for a longer period of time, you might want to set up a bank account. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it sounds. In England, you need two things to open a bank account: a proof of identity and a proof of address. A proof of identity is easy; you just need your passport. I assume you have one if you made it here or are planning to move here. Getting a proof of address, however, is quite difficult, because you don’t have any bills to pay as an au pair (phone bills don’t count).

Aldershot has eight different banks. I went to five of them and the only one I could find that would accept me as a client without a proof of address was HSBC. This is the bank I recommend you go to. It’s going to save you a lot of annoyances.

If you go to HSBC, you need the following things to open a bank account:

  • An appointment;
  • Your passport;
  • A letter from your host-family confirming that you live with them;
  • Contact details from one of the host-parents
  • A council tax bill.

Make sure that you have the current council tax bill because the bank does not accept any other bills (nor do they accept the council tax bill from last year). Believe me, I tried.

Once you have all of those things, you can go to the bank and set up an appointment. You will only qualify for a basic account. This includes online banking and contactless payments, but you can’t open a savings account nor are you allowed to have an overdraft. But, when you are an au pair, you don’t really need those things anyway.

Hope this was at least a little bit helpful for au pairs in England that would like to open a bank account!

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