How to get a bank account

If you are a refugee (or right to remain in the UK)

To get a UK bank account you will need:
  • A form of ID (passport, biometric residence permit);
  • A proof of address (this could be a recent bill or a letter from the Home Office).
All documents need to be very recent and originals, not photocopies. If you have more than one, it is better to bring everything. If they don’t accept one document, they might accept another.
As a refugee we recommend you apply to MONZO:
They have the best service and technology in the market (and the best app :)

If you are an asylum seeker

Before you get your refugee status and when you’re an asylum seeker you are likely to find it difficult to open a current account. You can try one of the following options:

Option 1 Traditional bank account

These are free to open and have no fees, the only disadvantage is that you are very likely to be rejected. But it is worth trying, we advise to try METRO bank in particular. You will need to bring documents as in A) above.

Option 2 Traditional bank basic account

These are free to open and have no fees, but more restrictive than full accounts. Most traditional banks offer this option. You would need the same documents as in A) above.

Option 3 Non-traditional banks

These usually have fees, so are more expensive, but the advantage is that they are very easy to open for anyone. Here are the most well-known ones with a comparison of the fees:
One-off cost to get the card
UK ATM withdrawals
Monthly fee
Instant Top-up
0.35% fee
UK Bank Transfer (out)
Cash Top-up
2.0-3.5% fee
Last modified 1yr ago