Author Topic: Banking in the UK for Expats  (Read 5772 times)

Rightflyer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 380
  • Location: Cotswolds
Banking in the UK for Expats
« on: March 20, 2016, 09:11:57 AM »
Does anyone in the UK bank with HSBC? If so, how do you like it? What's the pros and cons?

The reason for asking: It seems that if I open a HSBC account in Canada for 3 months then we can transfer our credit history to the UK. Also, let's us hit the ground running with a usable bank account. I will confirm with the bank here tomorrow when they are open but I wanted some feedback from those of you who bank with them in the UK.

If not through the HSBC, are there other ways to do this (transferring credit history).

 
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 09:13:31 AM by Rightflyer »

former player

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5913
  • Location: Avalon
Re: Banking in the UK for Expats
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2016, 11:31:28 AM »
I don't, but as far as I know they are on a par with the other big high street banks and there is not much to chose between them - they are one of the "big four" over here.

daverobev

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3511
  • Location: France
Re: Banking in the UK for Expats
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2016, 03:26:54 PM »
You can't "transfer your credit history", but HSBC Premier does *internally* allow you to open accounts in other countries based on your total assets with them. There is a big thread on RFD http://forums.redflagdeals.com/hsbc-premier-724010/ You can open a credit card and current account, yes.

If you want to kickstart credit, get an Amex and then do a Global Transfer to the new country.

Alternatively, most of the big UK banks have offshore/private banking arms; http://international.lloydsbank.com/ or http://www.nationwideinternational.com/ for example.

If you're moving to the UK, I'd say get an Amex, and get a Chase Amazon visa (zero forex fee) while in Canada. Then Global Transfer to get an Amex, and use the Chase visa in the mean time. Most places take visa (like, literally everywhere... the UK's debit cards are visa/MC, not proprietary like Interac).

I like Nationwide (when you get to the UK, you'll need to show them residency stuff to open a current account, and wait a while before opening any kind of credit card - the Amex and Chase visa should tide you over) - they are still a true building society, run for their members rather than shareholders.

Um, oh, in terms of HSBC - they are everywhere, just like Barclays, Lloyds, Nationwide, Santander. There are lots of banks in the UK. Most allow fee-free cash withdrawal at different ATMs (ie no $3 fee or whatever for using your Scotia card in an RBC machine...). So pick any one.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 03:28:29 PM by daverobev »

Doubleh

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 287
  • Location: London
Re: Banking in the UK for Expats
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2016, 04:38:25 PM »
Yes the big high Street banks are all pretty much similar, including HSBC. If your transfer of history will carry over to their First Direct subsidiary though I would definitely recommend you try and do that.

I've used all of the major banks here over the last 20 years and finally got hacked off enough to leave - except for First Direct who is been with for the last 6/7 years and don't have a single bad word to say about them. Simply unbelievable service, and they regularly win awards for best service.

Failing that what my Mrs did when she moved here from usa was to first open an offshore account, then once she had an address open a second, onshore account with the same bank

Rightflyer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 380
  • Location: Cotswolds
Re: Banking in the UK for Expats
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2016, 04:46:32 AM »
Thanks for the good feedback guys. Appreciate it.

@daverobev Lot's of good stuff there. I'll be checking those options out. Thank you.

BTW: The "transfer your credit history" is the terminology that pops up all over HSBC's sites. I realize it is only transferring your history with them, but I am assuming that still beats showing up in the UK with no history?

@Doubleh I'll check out First Direct. Cheers

@former player Sounds much like the retail banking landscape here. Dominated by 4-5 players who are nearly indistinguishable.

daverobev

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3511
  • Location: France
Re: Banking in the UK for Expats
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2016, 07:00:48 AM »
BTW: The "transfer your credit history" is the terminology that pops up all over HSBC's sites. I realize it is only transferring your history with them, but I am assuming that still beats showing up in the UK with no history?


If you're needing a mortgage or other loan then yes. If you just need a credit card, then "meh" - Amex + Chase Amazon will probably cover you til you get established with whatever bank you go with in the UK.

In terms of getting a credit card, you probably initially want to go with the same bank for current account (chequing) and credit. IIRC Santander have a pretty nice rewards card. Not that I like Santander that much (used to be Abbey National, another building society, but they got demutualised and then bought, boo).

Rightflyer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 380
  • Location: Cotswolds
Re: Banking in the UK for Expats
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2016, 07:13:10 AM »
Any particular flavour of Amex?

(It's been about 20 years since I last had an American Express card...a light puce-y green colour if I remember correctly.)

KCM5

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 878
Re: Banking in the UK for Expats
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2016, 07:44:02 AM »
Opening a bank account in the UK is kind of a pain. Particularly if you aren't settled into your permanent living arrangements yet. So from what you're saying it sounds like you can transfer your account to Britain without having to open a new one?

In that case, it sounds worth it to me.

- signed, someone who spent 2 weeks without a bank account because I didn't fit the standard bill of residency for UK banks.

Rightflyer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 380
  • Location: Cotswolds
Re: Banking in the UK for Expats
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2016, 07:53:08 AM »
Hi KCM5

Yes, that's what I am led to believe by the website...as always it's "subject to confirmation"!

daverobev

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3511
  • Location: France
Re: Banking in the UK for Expats
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2016, 09:48:49 AM »
Any particular flavour of Amex?

(It's been about 20 years since I last had an American Express card...a light puce-y green colour if I remember correctly.)

SimplyCash is free (here) - 1.25% flat cashback; there is a free Gold one in the UK which'll give you 5% for the first few months.

Ooh.. here's a referral - gets me $100, I think it'll get you the same - http://amex.ca/share/davideankN

*Edit* the UK one - https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/content/platinum-cashback-everyday-credit-card/ - but you have to do a "global transfer" once you hit the UK. Or this one https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/content/platinum-cashback-credit-card/ but it has a 24 pound fee - might be worth it if you're going to put more than a couple of k spending on it, as the former starts at 0.5% - it's tiered.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 09:51:32 AM by daverobev »

Rightflyer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 380
  • Location: Cotswolds
Re: Banking in the UK for Expats
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2016, 10:11:30 AM »
Great. Thanks.

We'll check it out. If we do go the Amex route we'll use your referral link.

Cheers