Cómo abrir una cuenta bancaria en el Reino Unido

20.02.18
lectura de 9 minutos

Tanto si piensas mudarte a Reino Unido como si ya estás viviendo allí, vas a necesitar, en algún momento una cuenta bancaria. Antes era bastante difícil abrirla si eras nuevo en el país. Pero, afortunadamente, ahora es mucho más sencillo. Aquí puedes ver cómo hacerlo.

¿Qué documentos necesito?

Para abrir una cuenta bancaria en Reino Unido necesitarás dos documentos: un documento de identidad y un comprobante de domicilio. Ésto es necesario tanto si lo haces presencial en una sucursal como si lo haces online. Confirmar tu identidad es fácil: solo necesitas tu pasaporte, carné de conducir o documento nacional de identidad (si eres ciudadano de la UE). Para confirmar tu domicilio tendrás que presentar otro documento separado.

Cada banco tiene su propia lista de documentos aceptables como comprobante de domicilio. En términos generales, estos pueden ser algunos de ellos:

  • un contrato de alquiler o de la hipoteca;
  • una factura reciente de servicios domésticos como la luz o el gas (de los últimos 3 meses);
  • un extracto bancario o de tarjeta de crédito (de hace menos de 3 meses) no impreso directamente de Internet; o
  • una factura de los impuestos municipales.

Pero, por supuesto, si eres nuevo en Reino Unido muy probablemente no dispongas aún de ninguno de esos documentos. Por suerte en los últimos años los bancos se han vuelto un poco más flexibles en cuanto a los documentos que pueden aceptar como comprobante de domicilio.

Si, por ejemplo, estás en Reino Unido por estudios muchos bancos aceptarán tu carta de admisión en la universidad como comprobante.

Mucho otros también aceptan una carta de Jobcentre Plus confirmando tu número de la seguridad social, o incluso una carta de tu empleador, siempre que se haya emitido no antes de los últimos 3 meses. Hay también otra forma: antes de irte a Reino Unido, pide en tu banco que cambien tu dirección postal a tu nueva dirección en ese país. Puede que incluso puedas hacer esto de forma online.

Una vez hayas cambiado tu domicilio, pide a tu banco que te envíe un extracto bancario a tu nuevo domicilio por correo, y así tendrás el documento que te servirá como comprobante de domicilio de tu nueva dirección en Reino Unido.

¿Puedo abrir una cuenta bancaria en Reino Unido antes de ir?

Sí, puedes. Tu banco puede abrir una cuenta para ti si tiene una relación de bancos corresponsales con algún banco de Reino Unido. Muchos de los principales bancos de Reino Unido tienen las llamadas cuentas "internacionales". Éstas están diseñadas especialmente para no residentes, así que son una buena opción si no puedes proveer los documentos necesarios de tu domicilio en Reino Unido. De hecho, puedes incluso solicitar una de estas cuentas internacionales online. Tanto Barclays, como Lloyds, HSBC y NatWest ofrecen este tipo de cuentas bancarias internacionales.

Aún así, puede que abrir una cuenta bancaria desde el extranjero o una cuenta bancaria internacional no sea la mejor opción para ti. Muy a menudo tendrás que hacer un depósito inicial elevado y comprometerte a pagar una cantidad mínima mensual. Algunos bancos también cobran una tarifa mensual además de estos requisitos. Por eso, abrir y usar una cuenta bancaria puede ser costoso, sobretodo si aún no tienes trabajo. Puede que además encuentres también alguna otra restricción.

Por ejemplo, a lo mejor no puedes cerrar la cuenta y cambiarte a otra hasta que haya pasado cierto tiempo.

La cuenta Borderless de TransferWise. Para un negocio sin fronteras.

transferwise borderless account
Las cuentas bancarias tradicionales son funcionales sólo en un único país. Pueden mantener dinero en una sola moneda. Y es muy caro intentar usarlas internacionalmente. La nueva Cuenta Borderless de TransferWise tiene una solución para esto.

Ahora puedes enviar, recibir y gestionar tu dinero internacionalmente sin comisiones desorbitadas ni tipos de cambio más desorbitados aún, sino por tan sólo una pequeña comisión que se cobrará cuando conviertas tu dinero de una moneda a otra.

¿Qué banco cubre mejor mis necesidades?

Lamentablemente, no hay una respuesta sencilla a esta pregunta. La industria bancaria en el Reino Unido es muy competitiva y muchos bancos tienen productos específicos diseñados para atraer a un público determinado.

Esto son muy buenas noticias. Tanto si eres estudiante, como trabajador o si tienes un negocio, necesitarás encontrar algo que cubra tus necesidades. Y tendrás que tener en cuenta tus circunstancias personales.

Cosas a tener en cuenta al elegir un banco

Ya que eres nuevo en Reino Unido seguramente tengas una "credit history" limitada y no muchos documentos. Algunos bancos tienen unos requisitos bastante estrictos por lo que abrir una cuenta bancaria con ellos puede resultar difícil.

Normalmente es más fácil abrir una cuenta bancaria con uno de los grandes bancos de Reino Unido: Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC o RBS/NatWest. These banks have been in business for a long time and are very financially strong. They also have a lot of experience dealing with foreigners, so they are a bit more understanding of your situation and flexible with their requirements.

Your nationality will also play an important role. It’s probably easier to open a bank account if you are an EU national than when you’re from a country outside the EU. Either way, it’s a good idea to get in touch with customer support before you try opening an account. That way, you can get more information and ask questions about any difficulties you may have.

Los Cuatro Grandes Bancos del Reino Unido

There are more than ten retail banks in the UK, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. However, the biggest four UK banks are Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS/NatWest. Let’s have a look at what each of them have to offer.

Barclays

Barclays is one of the oldest banks in the UK; and has more than 1500 branches around the country. It’s also probably one of the easiest banks to open an account with if you’re new to the UK. In fact, you can even pre-apply for an account online before you arrive in the UK.

The account is free and comes with a contactless visa debit card as standard. However, you won’t be able to use your account immediately. Once you’re in the UK, you have to visit a branch with your reference number, passport and proof of address in order to activate the account. Barclays also has special accounts for students and businesses.

The international student account is free and offers cashback from various shops as well as a dedicated service that helps you build your CV and improve your interview skills. You can also upgrade your basic bank account with student additions. These include a free overdraft of up to £ 3, 000 for three years and a contactless debit card. Barclays’ business account is free for the first year and comes with a choice of financing options, including planned overdraft and credit cards. You can get in touch with customer support via a live chat, where you can discuss the details of your application and ask questions in real time.

Lloyds

Lloyds is the largest provider of current accounts in the UK, and has about 1300 branches throughout the country. Opening a bank account is very easy, even if you have just arrived in the UK.

In fact, Lloyds has a special new to the UK account which you can normally open with just your passport or identity card (if you’re an EU citizen). The account is free and comes with a contactless visa debit card as standard.

Lloyds also has an account especially for students. This has a free overdraft of up to £1,500 for three years and an optional credit card with a minimum limit of £500. You can also open a business account. Depending on the size of your business, there are three accounts to choose from. However, all are free for the first 18 months. You’ll also get a range of business tools, including accounting software and legal assistance at a reduced price.

HSBC

HSBC has more than 1100 branches around England and Wales, but a lower number in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Of course, HSBC’s biggest advantage is that it operates in more than 80 countries around the world. If you bank with HSBC in your home country, they can help you set up an account in the UK before you get here.

The basic current account includes free telephone and internet banking and comes with a visa debit card. However, whether you get a contactless card will depend on your individual circumstances. You may also have to undergo a credit check before opening your account.

With a free overdraft of £3,000 per year for three years and 2% in-credit interest on the first £1,000, HSBC’s student account is one of the best out there.

If you want to open a business account, there is a range of business bank accounts to choose from. All are free for the first 18 months and include perks such as a dedicated relationship manager to help you build your business and a knowledge centre with training articles and videos.

RBS/NatWest

The RBS Group owns the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest. Because they’re part of the same group, both the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest have broadly similar products. However, most of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s 700 branches are located in Scotland, whilst NatWest has over 1,400 branches all over the UK. NatWest’s Select current account is free to use and comes with a contactless visa debit card as standard. You’ll also get access to an emergency cash service, so you can withdraw money from your account using just a security code if your card is lost or stolen.

NatWest also has excellent student and business accounts. If you’re a student, you will get a free overdraft of up to £2,000 for three years as well as a 33% discount on coach travel with National Express.

NatWest has 4 business accounts to choose from, depending on the size of your business. Even if you’re just starting your business, you’ll get free banking for 2 years, a free business credit card for the first 12 months and a free £500 overdraft for the first year. You can contact customer support via a live chat, where you can discuss the details of your application and ask any questions in real time.

Otros bancos que vale la pena tener en cuenta

While Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS/NatWest are the four biggest banks in the UK, there are also other banks you can check. TSB is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best banks in the UK. It’s quite easy to open an account, even if you’re new to the UK; and the Classic Plus account has some great perks. These include 5% interest each month on the first £2,000 in your account and 5% cashback each month on your first £100 contactless payments. The student account has a free overdraft of up to £1,500 for three years.

Santander is very popular because of its 1|2|3| Account. This offers up to 3% cashback on household bills and 3% interest on balances between £3,000 and £20,000. Unfortunately, you’ll need to undergo a credit check when you apply for this account, so if you’re new to the UK you probably won’t qualify. However, once you’ve been in the UK for a while (perhaps a year or so), it’s a good idea to look at it.

Of course, it’s always best to look at what different banks have to offer and see who has the best deal. Don’t commit to a product without at least having a look at what else is out there.

¿Cuáles son los costes?

You can get a basic current account at no monthly cost from most high street banks. This should be more than enough for your everyday banking needs.

Most banks also have premium accounts that offer additional benefits such as cashback on household bills, in-credit interest and insurance. However, these accounts will often have monthly fees and minimum eligibility requirements; and you may not qualify if you’re new to the UK. You’ll also need to be careful to stay in credit. Unless you have a planned overdraft facility, your bank may charge large fees if you withdraw more money than you have in your account. It’s always a good idea to read through your bank’s terms and conditions. That way, you’ll avoid any nasty surprises.

Comisiones en Cajeros Automáticos

Withdrawing money from an ATM is free if you use one of your bank’s ATM machines. Many banks also offer free cash withdrawals even if you’re not a customer.

However, some ATM machines aren’t free; and can charge you between £1.50 and £3 per transaction. If you’re not using one of your bank’s ATM machines, check the machine first. Many free ATM machines will state that they are free. Similarly, some paid machines will warn you about charges before you can complete the transaction.

Using an ATM outside the UK is never free. Many banks will charge a non-sterling transaction fee, which can be as high as 2.99% per transaction. Some banks will also charge a cash withdrawal fee in addition to the non-sterling transaction fee.

More importantly, if a foreign ATM asks you which currency it should charge you in, always choose to be charged in the local currency. If you don’t, you’ll get an unfavourable exchange rate plus the fees charged by your UK bank.

TransferWise es la nueva forma inteligente de enviar dinero al extanjero.

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