Having access to a UK bank account is advantageous for many reasons, particularly if you travel to the country regularly or you want to send, receive or hold funds in GBP. However, many central banks require accountholders to be UK residents, which can make opening a UK bank account for non residents difficult.

Fortunately, there are ways to open a UK bank account for non residents, so you won’t have to worry about gaining access to the financial services you need, regardless of where you’re based. In this article, we cover the common issues that non-residents encounter when attempting to open a UK bank account and tell you everything you need to know about opening a UK bank account for non residents.

Can Non-Residents Open a UK Bank Account?

Today’s financial landscape is very different to a decade ago and there are now more types of financial institutions to choose from. This is highly relevant to non-UK residents as contemporary financial service providers are more likely to provide a UK bank account for non residents.

Central and High Street Banks

Most central and high street banks only offer bank accounts to UK residents, for example, and you’ll typically need to show a driver’s license or passport, along with proof of address, during the application process. There are some exceptions for applicants who want to make large investments and/or applicants who are moving to the UK within a specified time period. In general, however, you won’t be able to open a standard UK bank account as a non-resident with a central or high street bank.

Online Banks

A newer form of bank, the online bank, offers greater flexibility than many traditional banks and can be a great option if you’re comfortable handling your finances online without access to in-branch services. As a non-resident, however, you may still run into challenges when you try to open a UK bank account with an online bank.

While some online banks will allow you to open a UK account if you can provide proof of residence in another country, others insist that applicants hold UK residency in order to open account. Due to this, you’ll need to compare online banks to determine which ones can offer you a UK bank account for non residents before you begin the application process.

Multicurrency Accounts

One of the easiest ways to open a UK bank account for non residents is to apply for a multicurrency account. Commonly launched by Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs), like PayAlly, a multicurrency account allows you to send, receive or hold funds in various different currencies. Providing your multicurrency account allows you to hold funds and process transactions in GBP, then you will be able to use your account in the same way as a UK bank account.

Is a Multicurrency a UK Bank Account?

A multicurrency account can deliver the same benefits as a UK bank account but it’s easily available to both UK residents and non-UK residents. When you open a multicurrency account, you’re able to hold funds in whichever currencies your account provider offers, which makes it easy to manage your funds in GBP and other popular currencies.

Crucially, a multicurrency account can generate local account details for different countries, which effectively means you can bank domestically, even if you’re located in another country. This localises international banking and ensures you can use your account in the same way as a UK bank account.

What’s more – you can access lower fees and faster transaction times when you use a multicurrency account to transfer funds in different currencies.

However, it is important to note that multicurrency accounts do vary from one provider to another, so do your research before applying for an account. At PayAlly, for example, our multicurrency account allows you to trade in 39 different currencies, whereas other account providers often offer far fewer currency options.

Do You Need to Become a UK Resident to Open a UK Bank Account?

Many banks do require accountholders to be UK residents and, when you apply for an account, you’ll be asked to provide proof of your address via a formal document, such as a:

  • Utility bill
  • Council tax bill
  • Rental contract

However, a growing number of online banks don’t require you to be a UK resident to open a UK bank account. With the rise in multicurrency accounts and the increasing need for multicurrency management, opening this type of account is often the quickest and easiest way to gain access to the features commonly associated with a UK bank account.

Can You Open a Multicurrency Account as a Non-UK Resident?

Different account providers have varying eligibility requirements, so it’s important to check whether you qualify for an account before beginning the application process. In general, however, multicurrency accounts are available to non-UK residents and are often considered one of the most effective ways to access a UK bank account for non residents.

What Are the Benefits of a Multicurrency Account?

Being able to open a multicurrency account as a non-UK resident is a major advantage if you’re located outside of the UK but multicurrency accounts offer additional benefits too, such as:

Competitive Exchange Rates

When you’re sending and receiving funds in different currencies, you’ll find that a multicurrency account tends to offer highly competitive exchange rates. This means the value of your transfer is increased and you’ll effectively spend less when transferring funds in foreign currencies.

Forward Contracts

Making an immediate foreign transfer means accepting the exchange rate that’s on offer but forward contracts allow you to lock-in an exchange rate in advance, so you can confirm an exchange rate when the market is working in your favour and avoid volatility in the market.

Centralised Financial Management

Being able to manage multiple currencies via a single account can drastically simplify your financial management and reporting. With the ability to access detailed data and insights in real-time, staying in control of your finances is easier than ever.

Open a UK Bank Account for Non Residents with PayAlly

To find out more about our multicurrency account or to apply for an account today, talk to our expert team on +44 (0)20 7489 6480 or +44 330 777 2244 or email us at info@payally.co.uk.