Opening a UK bank account from Australia

Find out how to open a bank account in the United Kingdom, whether you have a UK address or not.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Preparing for a move to the UK? Opening a bank account is a key part of this, but can feel difficult as a foreigner. We go through what your options are, what it's like to open an international bank account at the four major banks (Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland) and some alternatives to consider.

What are my options for opening an account?

1. UK bank account

You'll need to have proof of your UK address, which can be difficult if you haven't moved or haven't received any utility bills there yet.

3. Multi-currency account

You can use a multi-currency account if you don't have a UK address and can use it for currencies beyond just AUD and GBP.

Open a multi-currency account with Wise

Wise is an international account for 50+ currencies with fast money transfers, a muti-currency debit card and bank details for 30 different countries to make payments easy.

  • Government regulated
  • Supports 50+ currencies
  • Uses the mid-market rate
Promoted

1. Setting up a bank account if you have a UK address

If you've already got a place to live in the UK, you'll need to show two lots of proof – one document to prove your identity and the other to prove your address. You'll need to check with the bank you choose, but some examples of the documents you'll need include:

Proof of identity

  • Driver's licence
  • Passport
  • Government-issued identity card

Proof of address

  • Electricity or gas bill
  • Bank or credit card statement
  • Mortgage statement or rent agreement
  • Payslip from your employer

However, it can be hard to get these documents if you're newly arrived in the UK or haven't left Australia yet. Never fear, there are other options.


2. Setting up an international bank account

If you don't have a UK address, you still have options. Most of the major banks in the UK will let you set up an international account, but it's not for everyone. You'll need to have quite a large deposit and some contracts lock you in for a certain amount of time.

We'll go through how to set up this account for the four major banks in the UK if you're still in Australia.

Barclays' logo

Barclays

Barclays will let you open an international bank account, but the requirements are fairly restrictive. You'll need:

  • Deposit of £100,000 or equivalent within the first 3 months of opening.
  • Annual income of $250,000 or assets worth $2.5 million.
  • Letter from a qualified accountant verifying the income or assets.

For international students, it's a lot easier. You can set up an account without needing any initial deposit and you'll be able to confirm your UK address later on, if you don't have it yet.

The logo for Lloyd's Bank

Lloyds

To be able to get an international account with Lloyds, the requirements are:

  • Income of £50,000 or equivalent. If it's a joint account, it's okay if only one of your incomes is that much.
  • Or have £25,000 (or equivalent) to add to the account.
  • Be able to make the first deposit within 30 days of opening the account.

While Lloyds does have specific bank accounts for international students, you'll need to already be living in the UK to take advantage of it.

HSBC's logo

HSBC

Unfortunately, to open a UK bank account with HSBC, you'll need to go to a branch in the UK. You won't be able to complete the process online.

Another option is to set up a multi-currency account with HSBC in Australia. We'll go into multi-currency accounts more below, but HSBC's version is called the Everyday Global Account.

Royal Bank of Scotland logo

Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest

You'll be able to open an international account with NatWest from Australia, but the requirements are still very high. To be eligible, you'll need:

  • Minimum balance of £25,000 at all times
  • Or an income of £75,000 or more paid directly into the account.

Another option you can look into is a digital bank, also known as a challenger bank. A lot of these allow you to set up a bank account with them if you can give them a copy of your passport and a UK address, with no need for proof that the address is yours. You can read more about digital banks on the Finder UK website, which will let you compare some of the latest ones.


3. Multi-currency accounts

Multi-currency accounts, also known as foreign currency accounts, let you hold several different currencies in the one account. They're mostly used for sending and receiving funds in foreign currencies. So if you're moving to the UK but still have transactions you need to make in Australian dollars, this could be an option for you.

Quite a few of the global banks offer multi-currency accounts, which you can check out in the table below. Another option is Wise's Borderless Account, which gives you UK bank details, as well as US, EU and Australian ones.

Name Product Card access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Monthly account fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Visa
$0
$0
$0
Special offer: $100 cash bonus for new HSBC customers.
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases (T&C's apply).
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.

Citi Global Currency Account
Mastercard
$0
$0
$0
Earn up to 0.75% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

How to transfer your money to your new UK bank account

Your Australian bank can help you transfer your funds to the UK, but it won't be the most cost-effective option. Banks not only charge higher fees, but also add a larger margin to the exchange rate than other money transfer options. Instead, check out what your transfer could look like with one of these other money transfer services below.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 0 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.543 GBP
5,426
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries. Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.544 GBP
5,442
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.544 GBP
5,442
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.544 GBP
5,442
Send guarantees to match any competitor’s exchange rate. T&C’s apply.
Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.544 GBP
5,442
Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
WorldFirst sends 60+ currencies at competitive rates. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 day AUD 50.00 0.544 GBP
5,409
Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to $3,000.
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 0.00 0.544 GBP
5,436
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 - 2 days AUD 50.00 0.544 GBP
5,414
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 50+ currencies. Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 3.99 0.54 GBP
5,396
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 - 2 days AUD 50.00 0.546 GBP
5,430
New customers sending over AUD 500 from Australia use code FINDER50 to get AUD 50 off. Valid till 30th June 2021. T&Cs apply.
InstaReM offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

More guides on Finder

International Money Transfer Offers

Important Information*
Logo for Azimo International Money Transfers
Azimo International Money Transfers

Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.

Logo for TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX International Money Transfers

TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.

Logo for WorldFirst International Money Transfers
WorldFirst International Money Transfers

Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
WorldFirst sends 60+ currencies at competitive rates. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.

Logo for Send International Money Transfers
Send International Money Transfers

Send guarantees to match any competitor’s exchange rate. T&C’s apply.
Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site