May 24

Banking in the UK: What you need to know


Banking in the UK: What you need to know

Are you setting up your banking in the UK?

Banking in the UK

Are you planning on banking in the UK? All UK banks and building societies expect you to have a UK address before you can open a bank account, some will/might ask for a UK mobile number.

All documents must be original and dated in the last three months.

Banking in the UK: A valid proof of address to open a bank account:

  • Utility bills
    • a gas, water, electric, TV or landline phone bill (not mobile) that’s less than three months old
  • Local authority
    • a council tax bill issued within the current financial year
  • Banking
    • a UK bank statement that’s less than three months old (internet statements aren’t acceptable)
    • a UK credit card statement that’s less than three months old (internet statements aren’t acceptable)
  • Housing
    • a tenancy agreement or council rent book (must be current)
    • a UK mortgage statement that’s less than three months old (internet statements aren’t acceptable)
  • Shopping
    • a catalogue or mail order statement that’s less than three months old
    • a hire purchase statement of account
  • Personal
    • your pension books
    • a UK photocard driving license with your current address and its full paper counterpart
    • a medical card / NHS card
  • Insurance
    • a motor insurance or home insurance certificate that has been issued within the last 12 months

Banking in the UK: Alternatives you could try to get proof of address:

  • Some banks are more lenient than others and sometimes do not ask for the verification as proof of address. Call the bank and find out what you need to bring in with you before you apply or go to the bank and speak to someone. 
  • If your employer has provided you with a contract of employment or payslip with your current address on it, you may be able to use that. Alternatively, you could use your  HMRC P2 ‘PAYE Coding Notice’, which notifies you what your tax code is, it is usually accepted as proof of address alongside a current driving licence or passport.
  • Living with someone, speak to the person you’re living with if it would be possible for you to take on one of the bills in your name. This could take a month for the change to come through on a paper-based bill, which you can then use as proof of address.
  • Alternatively, apply for a prepaid card. These cards are great for students and those who have little or no credit history. Once the card is sent to your home, use the letter that comes with it as proof of address

The major banks are listed below: Each bank will have its own requirements for opening a bank account, you can go onto each bank’s website to get the information. 

  • HSBC
  • Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
  • Lloyds Bank
  • Barclays
  • NatWest
  • Halifax
  • Lloyds TSB

Most banks in the UK do not charge customers to use their services like minor transactions, issuing of cheques (although this is now becoming obsolete), withdrawing cash from the ATM. 

Most people do banking online, all banks operate from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, on Saturdays they are open from 9 am to 12:30 pm. 

Banking: Digital Banks (Online banks) – What Are Digital Banks?

As the name suggests, these banks are known by different names like online banks, digital-only banks, mobile banks, app-based banks, neobanks, or challenger banks exist only in digital form-they don’t have an established physical location aka brick-and-mortar branches, like the traditional banks. 

They are usually app-based, hence are easily accessible on your smartphone. Traditional banks do offer online banking and mobile banking, but digital-only banks exist entirely on digital platforms. 

Banking services and products ranging from current/savings accounts to investment in mutual funds, stock trading or trading in cryptocurrencies are all accessible through your hand-held devices, eliminating the need to visit a bank branch. Digital banking is the digitization of every level of banking, from front to back-end.

Digital banking has grown massively in recent years, thanks to the advancements in financial technology or fintech and the increasing demands of tech-savvy consumers for efficient ways of banking. According to UK-based research firm Juniper Research, the digital banking users in the world will exceed 3.6 billion by 2024, a 54% increase from 2.4 billion users in 2020. 

As per the latest stats, in the UK, 27% of adults have an account with a digital-only bank equating to about 14 million Brits as of January 2021. The number of people with a digital bank account could reach 23 million by 2026.

Top 5 Digital Banks In The UK

  • Starling Bank:
  • Monzo:
  • Revolut:
  • Atom Bank: 
  • Monese:



WB Forex can help with fund transfers, it’s a bank-to-bank transfer done safely and securely, the bank transfer fee is only R250 per transaction, irrespective of the amount, and we can offer better rates than most commercial banks in SA.

WB Forex service is free. You are welcome to email us at  

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WhiteBirch Group 

Head Office UK: +44 (0) 207 018 8552

Trading desk in Hartley Wintney (UK) & Pretoria (SA)

WhatsApp: +44 (0) 790 893 3594

Transferring Money Abroad, How Much Does It Cost
Transferring Money Abroad, How Much Does It Cost

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