The good thing about opening a bank account in the UK is that you don't even need to be a citizen or resident of the country to do so. In fact, you don't even need to be in the country itself to open an account here. Since a good number of international banks operate in the UK, you can actually open an account from your home country which you can use once you actually go to the country. But while there are no legal barriers from foreigners to open a bank account in the UK, overall eligibility still depends on the banks themselves.
Now, in the UK, there are different types of bank accounts you can open. It's similar to many other countries but it's very important that you know the distinctions before you set up your account. Firstly there's the current account, the most standard and very common kind that helps you save money, pay for bills, and the like. Though it's not exactly the lowest form of a bank account in the UK. That's the basic account, which is primarily for those with poor credit. Of course, there's also the savings account where you store all your income and earnings. And joint accounts, those you set up with other people.
Also considered a different type of bank account is one's online account. It's important to note that just because you've set up an account in a bank that you automatically have an online version. Opening an online bank account to go with your physical one is a different matter entirely, but at least you might get to do it yourself depending on the process of the bank. And if are given the chance to set up an online account, do so as online banking is a lot easier and more convenient in the long run.
When setting for opening a bank account, you'll need to show certain documents. It varies from bank to bank but that most commonly asked for are your valid ID and proof of address. For the former, you can just show your passport and you're good to go. As for the latter, you can show either your electricity, utility, or water bills, or your current council tax bill. Of course, if you're new to the UK, you might not be able to show any of the latter. Fortunately, some banks have become flexible when it comes to required documents.
Thinking about which bank to choose to set up your account? It's wiser to think far ahead than to get swayed by the bank advisor whose job it is to convince to choose his/her bank. Focus on how convenient the bank will be for you when you use it, such as if it has an online platform or not, what the process of applying for a credit card is, and how many fees the bank has on various transactions. And speaking fees, you also have to not how much they are because while it sometimes seems low when all added up, it might already have taken a huge toll on your finances.
More often than not, it's always the biggest banks of the country that you're better off going for. There are about a dozen or so retail banks in the UK, but you'd be better off setting up your account in any of the four biggest options: Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, and RBS. It's great that most of them are also international banks. Lloyds, for instance, offers a "new to the UK" account that allows foreign nationals immigrating to the country the chance to open an account by just their passports. Barclays, on the other hand, is the oldest bank in the country has an easy process of setting up an account.
In regards to bank fees, the most common that people often ahve to pay are ATM fees. That is if they use machines that are not from their registered banks. If you use the ATM machines of the bank where you've set up your account, you won't need to pay any fee when you withdraw, deposit, or do any other transaction. Of course, you might have good reasons for using the ATM machines of a different bank. While that's all well and good, make sure you know how much you're being charged. ATM fees are automatically deducted from your account the moment you make a transaction so always get a receipt to know how much you were charged.
Even though you're not obliged to set up a bank account here in the UK, it's better that you open one in the long run. Don't worry, the process is easy, you're likely eligible to do so, and you'll be done in a jiff!
Once you've set up your account, you can easily handle all of your finances here in the UK, particularly when you pay your rent whilst staying in any of the UK's luxury apartments as your accommodation.