How to open a bank account


Also featured in September Money edition of run by Beverly Ross, under the section Business




If you want to open a bank account, visit your local branch of a chosen bank. You will be asked to provide two types of documents in order to;

 (1) verify your identity 

Passport or national photo ID if you are an EU national

 (2) prove your address in the UK. 

Generally any official document or letter which states your name and your UK address and is not older than 3 months:

Utility bills (gas, electricity, TV, council tax,..)

A tenancy agreement

a UK credit card statement

a UK bank statement (online statements are not accepted)

a medical or NHS card

If you are new to the UK you can always explain this to the advisor in the bank and agree on alternative documents. If you have already started an employment you can take your employment contract with you. Visit several banks to find out what documents they require. Some banks may even accept a registration letter from your GP.

If you are a student you can ask your college or university for a ‘Letter of Introduction for UK Banking Facilities’ and they should issue one for you. Alternatively, any letter that provides details of your study could be sufficient. (following video courtesy of Kaplan International Colleges



Opening a basic or current bank account is free with most banks.

You may be asked to put some money in as a condition to open your bank account. This can be anywhere from £10 to £100. Generally banks do not charge fees for basic accounts. When it comes to bank statements, you can choose to receive these by post or you can opt for the online option. Ask your bank for your username for online banking.


If you’re new to London, it may be more useful to ask for your statements to be sent to you by post. You can then use these as your proof of address if needed. Online statements DO NOT generally qualify as proof of address.



Commonly Asked Questions


1. Can I use my passport as a proof of address?

No, your passport qualifies as a proof of identity it doesn’t state your UK address

2. Can I use a photocopy of my birth certificate as a proof of Identity?

 No, all documents must be original. Photocopies will not be accepted.

3. My passport has expired few weeks ago can I still use it to as a proof of Identity?

No, all documents must be unexpired, valid and not older than 3 months (bills, statements etc.)

4. Can I use my payslip as a proof of address?

Yes, your current payslip showing your name and your UK address should be accepted. You can also use your contract of employment.

5. Can I ask my employer for a letter and use that as a proof of address?

Yes, you can, this should generally be your contract of employment or any official letter stating your name, current UK address and it should not be older than 3 months.

First Published: 2014

Updated: 2016

Related Topics

Where to find Bureau de Change

BUREAU DE CHANGE   Bureau de Change or Bureaux de Change stands for Currency Exchange. This French expression has been adapted across Europe and it is commonly used in Britain. It is a place of business/service where you can exchange one currency for another. You will find many of these all across London. Bureaux de   Read More

What is the difference between a Basic Account and Current Account

BASIC ACCOUNT You will get a bank card to use in a cash machine to withdraw money or check your balance You can receive money directly into your account You can make payments from your account You can set up direct debit and standing orders You can make payments in shops (only with the bank   Read More

Translate »