Has your bank asked you to close your UK bank account due to Brexit?

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Hi all, 

 

I have received a letter from my UK bank advising that if I am not a UK resident they will close my UK bank account. They sent the letter to Germany as I had updated my accounts ages ago with my German address. Having googled the matter, it appears that there is confusion on this topic and some banks are being more lenient than others. I was just wondering if Toytowners had any advice for me, perhaps there is a way around this?

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I think some banks do not allow accounts to be held by people outside the EU, and that may be why yours have contacted you. I spoke to mine earlier this year and they said that they had no intention of closing accounts held by existing customers, but were not sure if someone from EU would be able to open one until Brexit was done and transition period was over so that they knew what was going to be in any agreement. 
There are accounts that can be held by 3rd country residents, so it may be worth looking into one of those and seeing if you can switch?

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After queries with my UK bank-

If you live outside the EU, you cannot open a UK bank account, but allowed to open an off shore account.

If you already have a UK account, and reside outside the EU, you can keep this account.

But, some banks may decide on different T&C.

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My experience is that you can open an account in the UK if/when you are resident there. I always believed this applies to every UK bank.

 

Just before leaving the UK for the first time and moving to the far East, long time ago, I walked into the branch to tell them I was going to close the account. They encouraged me to keep it open. I kept it open.

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1 hour ago, RedMidge said:

If you live outside the EU, you cannot open a UK bank account

I think if you live outside the UK you cannot open a UK account. This is probably so for most/all countries

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1 hour ago, RedMidge said:

If you already have a UK account, and reside outside the EU, you can keep this account.

I think once you opened a UK account you can keep it forever no matter where you live. This my experience at least. Saving accounts are different tough. It's also common sense: say after you left the UK you are entitled to some UK income, like property rental or state pension. I think rental agencies or HMRC would not pay into a non-UK account.

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Not sure what the position will be post-Brexit but pre-Brexit I cannot see why a person anywhere in the EU should not open and keep an account anywhere else in the EU - free movement of capital being one of cornerstones of the EU.  We opened a German bank account as UK residents in 2018.  Had to prove residence etc in person at the post office in Germany but was a fairly harmless process.  And post Common Reporting and FATCA, I cannot see why holding bank accounts anywhere should be an issue, seeing as that fact is fed back to your revenue authority every year, with interest details etc.  But who knows how individual banks decide to run their businesses within the terms of the regulations?

 

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1 hour ago, Gambatte said:

I think once you opened a UK account you can keep it forever no matter where you live. This my experience at least. Saving accounts are different tough. It's also common sense: say after you left the UK you are entitled to some UK income, like property rental or state pension. I think rental agencies or HMRC would not pay into a non-UK account.

 

Re. State Pension - you can choose to have it paid either to your UK or German bank account.

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34 minutes ago, Feierabend said:

 

Re. State Pension - you can choose to have it paid either to your UK or German bank account.

Likewise with the German State Pension

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I have banked with the Halifax for about thirty years now, and am fully aware that they are not happy having me as a customer.

Over the years they have reduced the choice of accounts that I am allowed to re-invest money into, so that now I have my current account and the back-end of a 5-year investment account, due to mature at the start of next year.

Having said that, they haven´t (yet!) literally asked me to leave, as I believe they rather like to have my money to make profits from...

 

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You could get a Revolut or TransferWise account if you need or just want to have a UK bank account.

 

Alternatively, if you have a UK address (friends or family) you can give that address to your bank. That's what I did.

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On 9/13/2020, 8:06:36, HEM said:

 

Which bank?

 

Barclaycard.

 

The heading on their letter to me states 'Your account will be closed on 16th of November 2020'

I have family and friends in London, but it appears Barclaycard want to know that I am a UK resident - and I don't wish to mislead.

Thanks for everyone who responded...Good to know that my other UK accounts are probably safe!!

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On 9/12/2020, 7:50:33, RedMidge said:

After queries with my UK bank-

If you live outside the EU, you cannot open a UK bank account, but allowed to open an off shore account.

If you already have a UK account, and reside outside the EU, you can keep this account.

But, some banks may decide on different T&C.

 

Can I ask who you bank with?

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With respect, Barclaycard is not a bank but a credit card company and part of the Barclays Bank group. 

 

Credit card companies often inform people that because an account has been dormant for a long time they will close it in X days, months or on a specific date unless transactions are made.  Your letter sounds like one of those. 

 

I have a credit card which I keep for emergencies, e.g. loss of main card etc, and occasionally get letter of the sort to which you refer. I usually just make a small purchase using the card to ensure the account remains open. 

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On 12/09/2020, 21:03:18, Gambatte said:

I think if you live outside the UK you cannot open a UK account. This is probably so for most/all countries

Definitely not the case. There are countries where there are more bank accounts than people and more bank accounts open under the names of non-residents rather than residents. You only have to think of countries like Liechtenstein and Switzerland. ;) 

 

On 13/09/2020, 08:13:03, robinson100 said:

I have banked with the Halifax for about thirty years now, and am fully aware that they are not happy having me as a customer.

If you're not happy with them either, you could always switch to another bank.

 

On 13/09/2020, 09:13:07, Smaug said:

You could get a Revolut or TransferWise account if you need or just want to have a UK bank account.

Revolut is very suspect and have shoddy to zero customer service. They are only interested in making money and holding your cash. They have gone from a bad to worse and from free to expensive/hassle-ridden in many people's view. 

They are in the headlines/press/media from time to time because of serious problems with hundreds if not thousand of customers who have had their accounts frozen for months on end with no response or comeback whatsoever. Abysmal. Steer clear.

Their rating on google and on other sites when I last checked was low, hovering around 2 stars I think. 

My partner and I both had our accounts frozen and eventually closed. I had to do a charge-back with my credit card to get the money back (a few thousand pounds), whilst my partner had 30€ stuck in there for well over 6 months before it was reversed back into a normal account. Disgraceful. 

I use TransferWise, but don't park large amounts there.

 

On 13/09/2020, 09:13:07, Smaug said:

Alternatively, if you have a UK address (friends or family) you can give that address to your bank. That's what I did.

I think this is key. If the account is domiciled in a country where you have an address but don't actually reside, then you should be alright. 

I still have an account in the UK but haven't been a resident at that address there for over 20 years and for most of those years I wasn't in the EU, this has never been queried. :)

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3 hours ago, lunaCH said:

 

3 hours ago, lunaCH said:

Definitely not the case. There are countries where there are more bank accounts than people and more bank accounts open under the names of non-residents rather than residents. You only have to think of countries like Liechtenstein and Switzerland. ;) 

 

Are Revolut and Transferwise banks? Ok, they handle transfers but are they banks. Paypal does money too, but let's not call it a bank.

OK, there could well be countries where you can open an account without being resident there. I don't think the UK is one of them. If I'm wrong please give me an example (with a bank that is a bank).

 

I think they demand your address, the one where you reside. I guess it's linked to money laundering. If so, giving the address of your mate is cheating / fraud.

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18 minutes ago, Gambatte said:

I think they demand your address, the one where you reside. I guess it's linked to money laundering. If so, giving the address of your mate is cheating / fraud.

I guess this what you said is correct, yes. 

As time has gone by rules have been tightened up. 

Yes of course you're meant to give them correct details. But many people I suppose 'deliberately' forget to update their details. Others may simply give an address at which they do not reside. I wouldn't give the address of a friend, but personally I think giving one of a family member is acceptable (though probably still not legal). 

Meanwhile let's not forget that some banks actively assist in hiding money. This is different from laundering money - entirely different. Normally it is just money sitting in an account somewhere and every so often it is added to or dipped into. ;)

My UK account is domiciled at a relative's address and is managed that way. The bank has never in over 20 years asked where I am. Why would they?

 

Similarly the same relative has an account in Switzerland (where she has never lived) which I manage from a post office box address! In places like Switzerland this is commonplace. She also has accounts in Bermuda, but hasn't lived there for almost 40 years now. We have spoken lately about closing them to get all of the money back to the UK. But none of this is because of or is going to be affected by Brexit. :)

 

Another reason why people 'domicile' the account in a country where they don't live is to avoid being charged the fees for a non-resident.

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32 minutes ago, lunaCH said:

 

Another reason why people 'domicile' the account in a country where they don't live is to avoid being charged the fees for a non-resident.

 

And another is not to pay wealth taxes, or taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains.

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1 hour ago, Gambatte said:

 

Are Revolut and Transferwise banks? Ok, they handle transfers but are they banks. Paypal does money too, but let's not call it a bank.

OK, there could well be countries where you can open an account without being resident there. I don't think the UK is one of them. If I'm wrong please give me an example (with a bank that is a bank).

 

I think they demand your address, the one where you reside. I guess it's linked to money laundering. If so, giving the address of your mate is cheating / fraud.

Transferwise have started to offer bak accounts. I use them for transfers, and they are good at that. They use Barclays for holding client money so I would certainly consider them were I in a position to need an accunt.

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