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Should I keep my UK Bank Account as an Expat?

There’s a lot of confusion over whether British expats should keep their UK bank account open or not when they move abroad.

Many expats still prefer to send some of their money home and therefore want to keep their account open but whether, as an expat, you can keep your UK bank account open or not often depends on:

  • who you bank with
  • how long you have banked with them
  • what type of account you have
  • whether you still have a UK address

Why you should keep it open

If you’re not sure whether to keep your UK bank account open there are a few reasons why you should. Not only will you be able to keep your existing standing orders and direct debits but it means that if you return home you will already have a bank account in place, as it can be difficult to reopen a bank account if you’ve been away from the UK for a long period of time.

You should keep your bank account open:

  • if you’re only moving abroad for a fixed amount of time
  • if you receive funds from a UK institution such as a private or state pension
  • if your sole purpose of moving abroad was to earn money to send home
  • to continue to keep your credit facilities open

If you decide to keep your UK bank account open when moving abroad it’s not a good idea to use it for daily transactions in your new home destination as most banks usually charge for this but it can vary so it’s best to check with your specific bank first.

If you are planning to keep your bank account open when moving abroad it’s important to have maintained a good relationship with your bank and credit card companies because this is likely to make the process easier. Also, make sure that you familiarize yourself with exchange rates and any other fees that may be involved when transferring money to or from home.

Why you should open a local bank account

If you’re moving abroad to work or for a more significant amount of time (i.e. forever), then it’s advised that you open a local bank account in your new home country. Expat bank account regulations can vary depending on where you’re living but most countries will allow expats to open a specific type of account. You will most likely be required to produce documents such as your proof of ID, proof of address and citizen service number.

There are many benefits to opening a local bank account in your new country, for example:

  • makes rent, mortgage and bill payments easier
  • helps to build a credit rating
  • some organisations require payments from a local bank

No matter what you decide to do it’s important to speak to your bank and tell them what your plans are so that they can present you with options that might help. Many UK banks offer international bank accounts, which could be an ideal solution.

 

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