Whether you 're heading abroad for a short amount of time, or moving to another country permanently, it's a good idea to keep a bank account open in the UK.
Not only does it mean that you have easy and free access to money when you are visiting, but also any UK payments, refunds or unexpected tax rebates can be easily banked. We’ve put together a quick guide on what to look out for when managing your UK account from another country.
It might seem obvious, but don’t forget to let your bank know that your situation is changing. Also, some high street banks offer specific services relevant to expats, so find out exactly what your bank can do to help make your relocation smooth. Many UK high street banks have an international arm - HSBC, Lloyds and Barclays, for example, all offer accounts to non-UK residents. Check with your bank what they suggest your best course of action is (but do shop around too).
If you don’t already have this, make it a priority - you won’t be able to pop into your branch to make sure a payment has gone through, or to cancel a direct debit you’ve forgotten about. Set up telephone banking as well: Many banks require a security code to be set up in advance these days, you won’t be able to just ring up from abroad and speak to someone about your account.
Most banks charge a fee to transfer money abroad - and their exchange rates can also be on the low side. Use a simple and secure system like TransferWise and save on bank fees. It’s very irritating to have to pay to access your own money, so avoid it wherever possible! Take a look at our article about keeping life simple when you are operating in more than one currency for some other good hints and tips.
If your UK financial affairs are complex, or you're moving somewhere very far away, you might want to consider giving a trusted person power to take care of some or all of your UK based financial transactions. If you're retiring abroad, make sure you take a look at our guide about what to think about from a financial perspective when making the move.
Old-world bank accounts only work properly in one country. They hold money only in one currency. And it gets expensive when you try to use them across borders. TransferWise's new Borderless accounts solve all of this.
Now you can send, receive and organise your money internationally, without crazy fees or even-crazier exchange rates – just a small, fair charge when your money moves between currencies.