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.

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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.

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 TransferWise's Borderless Account, which gives you UK bank details, as well as US, EU and Australian ones.

Rates last updated August 26th, 2019
$
Name Product Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Monthly Account Fee Product Description
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Visa
$0
$0
Special offer: $100 bonus for new HSBC customers.
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases under $100.
Enjoy no foreign ATM or transaction fees and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available. T&C's apply to $100 bonus and 2% cashback offers.
Citi Global Currency Account
Mastercard
$0
$0
Hold up to 10 currencies.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free. Earn up to 1.75% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
HSBC Foreign Currency Flexi Saver Account USD
Visa
Save in multiple currencies with flexible access. USD, GBP, EUR, HKD, CAD, JPY, NZD, SGD, CNY and CHF

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
AUD 3,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.548 GBP
5,477
Global Reach will match any competitor's exchange rates. Conditions apply.
No transfer fee when transferring more than £10,000 or equivalent. Send money in over 130 currencies. No maximum transfer amount.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.548 GBP
5,475
Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 day AUD 0.00 0.547 GBP
5,474
Sign up through Finder and get a $50 Myer gift card when you send $10,000 or more. T&Cs apply.
SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.547 GBP
5,474
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. No transfer fee over AUD$10,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 day AUD 0.00 0.547 GBP
5,471
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 30+ currencies with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 - 2 days AUD 50.00 0.550 GBP
5,472
Exclusive: Finder customers receive $15 off their first transaction. T&Cs apply.
Quick and simple international money transfers with zero-margin exchange rates. There's a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers. Earn loyalty points on sign up, referral and every transaction.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 day AUD 0.00 0.544 GBP
5,444
With global payments provider XE, enjoy fast and secure transfers and a range of foreign currency tools and calculators while benefiting from $0 transfer fees. Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.544 GBP
5,443
Special offer: Pay zero fees on your first 5 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Within an hour AUD 3.99 0.543 GBP
5,431
An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available. Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 day AUD 0.00 0.546 GBP
5,455
Low minimum transfer amount of just AU$200, with no set-up fees or transfer fees. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers


The "Rate" and "Amount Received" displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention "Finder" before you commit to a brand.

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International Money Transfer Offers

Important Information*
Logo for Global Reach (formerly FC Exchange) International Money Transfers
Global Reach (formerly FC Exchange) International Money Transfers

Global Reach will match any competitor's exchange rates. Conditions apply.
No transfer fee when transferring more than £10,000 or equivalent. Send money in over 130 currencies. No maximum transfer amount.

Logo for WorldFirst International Money Transfers
WorldFirst International Money Transfers

Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.

Logo for SendFX International Money Transfers
SendFX International Money Transfers

Sign up through Finder and get a $50 Myer gift card when you send $10,000 or more. T&Cs apply.
SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.

Logo for OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers

$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. No transfer fee over AUD$10,000.

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