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The OFW’s Guide to Opening a Bank Account in the UK

21 May 2024


Are you an expat who is finding ways to manage your finances? As an Overseas Filipino Worker, having a bank account in the United Kingdom might do the job for you. A bank account can provide you with the financial stability you crave. It can also make it easy to make a money transfer from UK to Philippines
 

Whether you have experience living abroad or have just reached there, a thorough understanding of the UK banking system can significantly help you. This blog will assist you in opening a bank account in the UK to achieve financial stability. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Opening a Bank Account in the UK 

Opening a UK bank account does not have to be scary. Are you an Overseas Filipino Worker looking to open a bank account in the UK? If so, here are some easy steps to help you navigate the process quickly. 

Research and Select a Bank

Conduct thorough research on multiple banks before opening an account. Pick 2-3 banks that are suitable options for your requirements and visit them.

Ask About the Types of Accounts in the Bank

At the bank, ask about the different types of accounts available. Provide a brief overview of your requirements. Then, ask the representative about the most suitable account for you. Here are some account types: 

  • The current account caters to your everyday financial needs. 
  • Several UK banks provide free basic accounts for individuals with less-than-ideal credit or those needing help opening a current account. 
  • Many banks offer a variety of savings and investment options, including basic savings accounts.
  • Several UK banks provide international current accounts while residing abroad.
  • Opening a bank account in the UK is also possible when you have others joining you. 
  • Many UK-based banks offer international offshore accounts. They provide many benefits compared to local banks, including favorable tax arrangements.
  • Central UK banks provide the convenience of online and mobile banking. This type of banking allows you to manage your bank account from anywhere, and it makes it easier to send money to Philippines from UK

Collect the Necessary Documents

Once the account is selected, you will need the original document and photocopies of the documents while opening a bank account:  

  • Proof of identity, such as a valid passport or government-issued ID card. 
  • Proof of Address such as Gas and electricity utility bill, Council tax invoice, or Rental contract.
  • Certain banks may require proof of income, particularly for overdrafts. 
  • Student accounts may require a student visa.

Create Your Account

Multiple banks offer the convenience of opening accounts online. Make sure you have your documents scanned and ready for uploading. If you prefer to apply in person, meet with a bank representative. Please ensure that you have your original documents with you.

Fill the Application Form

To create an account, you must fill out an application form. Fill out the form with open eyes to avoid any errors. There will be different sections for: 

  • Personal details, including name, date of birth, and contact information
  • Job details, including employer information, earnings (if necessary)

After filling out the form, make sure to review it and then submit it. Take the time to thoroughly review your application before submitting it.

Verification and Account Activation

The bank will carefully review and authenticate your information and documents. While finalizing your permanent details, you might be assigned a temporary account number. After activation, you will receive your debit card, online banking credentials, and permanent account details. 

What Steps Should You Take While Choosing a Bank? 

The following are some of the steps that need to be followed when choosing a bank. 

Take Your Time Before Making a Decision

Discover the key aspects that are most important to you. Does the account come with no monthly fees, affordable international transfer rates, or an easy-to-use mobile app? The bank representative is available to help you. Feel free to ask about any questions or uncertainties you may have.
 

Click here for the best tips for Banking Success for Overseas Filipino Workers in the UK.

Ask for an Interactive Demo

If you have any doubts about a bank's online platform, please request a quick online demo. Several banks offer convenient demos on a screen or tablet to demonstrate the capabilities of their online banking and mobile app.

Start by Opening a Basic Account Initially

If you still need to decide, consider opening a basic current account with minimal features and fees. This will allow you to explore different banks and online options without making a significant financial commitment.

Compare Fees Structure 

Most banks provide brochures or information leaflets. Compare the monthly maintenance charges, international transfer fees, and ATM withdrawal fees for the accounts recommended by the representative.

Monthly Maintenance Fees

Some banks charge a monthly fee to maintain your account. Consider picking accounts with minimal or no monthly fees. This is mainly true for those who make few transactions.

ATM Withdrawal Fees 

Take into account your ATM usage. Look for ATM usage fees. Find out whether the bank imposes fees for using ATMs outside its network. Choose the bank that costs less. 

International Transfer Fees

Are you looking for an account that will also facilitate your online money transfer from UK to Philippines? Then, it is essential to compare the fees associated with international transfers and find out which bank charges less.

Look for Online Banking

Make sure to opt for a bank that provides an online banking platform and mobile app for ease of use. Managing your finances can be made easier with features such as online bill payments, money transfers, and account statements.

Consider the Distance from their Physical Branch

Consider the importance of having a physical branch location. Although online banking offers convenience, there are times when you need to visit a physical branch for assistance. Look out for banks that are closer to you.

Simplifying Global Finances With ACE Money Transfer

Starting a new chapter abroad should be a refreshing experience. It shouldn't come with a bundle of responsibilities. Unfortunately, an overseas Filipino worker has a lot of duties in the UK. One of the essential responsibilities of OFWs settling in the UK is to set up a dependable banking system that will make their financial transactions smooth.
 

ACE Money Transfer is a prominent platform that helps with international remittances and also caters to OFWs' banking needs and preferences. ACE provides you with convenient, secure, and cost-effective solutions to send money online to Philippines from UK.

FAQs

As an overseas Filipino worker, would it be possible for me to open a bank account in the UK?

Yes, you can easily open a bank account as an Overseas Filipino Worker. Several banks in the UK provide accounts tailored for expats, offering convenient online banking and competitive rates for international transfers.
 

What advantages can one expect from opening a bank account in the UK?

There are numerous advantages, such as: 

  • Simplifying your finances in the UK (managing bill payments and receiving your salary).
  • Enjoy the benefits of more favorable exchange rates and reduced fees when transferring money.
  • Establishing a credit history in the UK can prove beneficial down the line.

What should I do if I need proof of address in the UK?

In some instances, banks might consider alternative documents. One such document could be a letter from your employer verifying your address. Contact the bank for the most accurate information and ask about their requirements.
 

What is the process for transferring funds from a UK bank account to the Philippines?

There are multiple ways to transfer money, such as online banking, phone banking, or visiting a branch. It's important to compare options regarding fees and exchange rates offered by banks and money transfer services.
 

Is it necessary to visit a physical branch to open a bank account in the UK as an overseas Filipino worker?

While some banks offer the convenience of online account opening, others usually require in-person visits. Therefore, always inquire with the chosen bank regarding their specific account opening procedures for overseas applicants.
 

References

https://blog.trymaze.com/posts/a-comprehensive-guide-to-opening-a-uk-bank-account-for-newcomers  

https://www.expatica.com/uk/finance/banking/opening-a-bank-account-in-the-uk-103992/#choose-an-account


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