How to get a bank account
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: https://monzo.com/blog/2018/05/30/getting-bank-account-refugee/
They have the best service and technology in the market (and the best app :)
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:
These are free to open and have no fees, the only disadvantage is that many branches will require a type of identification and proof of address that is sometimes hard for asylum seekers to provide. However, it is worth trying a few different banks and branches. We advise to try METRO bank in particular. You will need to bring documents as in A) above.
Bank of Scotland has opened their doors for Asylum Seekers for Classic Accounts. Before you apply here is what you need:
- ARC card
- Mears Tenancy Agreement OR
- If you are a volunteer with a charity organisation, ask them to write a support letter. The support letter should include your address and your participation in the organisation. The letter can be addressed as: To Whom it may concern.
Here are the steps:
Once you have finished your application you get a notification in your email with a reference number. Go to the branch with your proof of ID and reference number to finalise and open the 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.
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
UK Bank Transfer (out)