Top 5 High streets Banks to open an account when moving to London


If you finally packed up your things, bought a plane ticket, and accepted that pending job offer in the bustling capital city of London, you may be wondering how to logistically figure out all of the details. Where do you want to move to? What neighborhood is best for young professionals? How do you order a meal at the local chippy?

With ex-pats, you need to make sure you find the best options for foreigners when it comes to making a life for yourself in the UK. Although it can seem daunting and confusing to move to a completely new city and immerse yourself in the culture, experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is an absolute must for young people who want to branch out and explore.

To stay financially safe and responsible during your time in London, make sure you open an account with one of these reputable banks on the High Street!


The Barclays Tower in London – By By Matt Brown –, CC BY 2.0,

Barclay’s is a staple in the UK financial and bank industry. Fortunately for foreigners, this bank offers the perfect account for ex-pats who have just relocated to the United Kingdom. This global banking giant offers an account called ‘New to the UK,’ a perfect account that provides the ex-pat with various banking services, a contactless debit card for easy tap-and-pay technology, withdrawal of up to £300 per day, and mobile banking – since everyone loves using apps these days. 

The only information you need to open this simple and efficient account is a form of ID, like your passport or driving license, and one proof of address, like a bank statement or a lease agreement for a ‘flat’ in the city. So if you live in London, just head to this bank on High Street to get started with the process.


HSBC Bank Building Newbury – By By Pam Brophy, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The second option for opening a bank account while living in London is HSBC. Another bank with a worldwide reputation, this bank has greater flexibility than most, letting you open an account before you even arrive in the United Kingdom! HSBC Bank is a multinational banking organization that has over 7,500 offices around the world – with multiple locations in the English capital! 

The HSBC Basic Account gives you a Visa debit card, a £300 daily ATM limit on withdrawals, internet banking, and mobile banking. To open this account, you need a form of ID and proof of address within the UK – however, what do you do if you have not yet found a permanent address before your move to London?

No problem – just turn in a short-term rental house agreement or contract of employment that shows why you are moving to London. With this flexibility in documentation, the HSBC Basic Account is a good option for those who want to get everything sorted before even stepping foot in London.


HBOS Halifax – By Copyrighted free use,

Named after Halifax in West Yorkshire, this bank was first founded back in the mid-19th century as a building society and has since risen to prominence as a trading division of the Bank of Scotland. In 2009, Halifax merged with Lloyds Banking Group.

This widely-known bank offers the ideal bank account for those who need all the basics when it comes to their financial transactions. The ‘Current Account’ here offers a debit card, online banking, telephone banking, standing orders, direct debits, and numerous locations across the entire United Kingdom – like on High Street in London! 

First Direct

First Direct headquarters in Leeds – By By Betty Longbottom, CC BY-SA 2.0,

First Direct is a retail bank division of HSBC Bank centered in the United Kingdom with the headquarters in Leeds, England. This bank has gained recognition due to its high rankings, such as earning the Most Trusted Financial Provider in 2019 and earning the 1st place spot in the 2020 Competition and Markets Authority for quality and customer service. 

Although this bank does not have any physical branches, it is still an ideal choice while you are living in London. Instead of having in-person locations to stop in after work, you can easily contact their customer service center 24/7, 365 days per year. 

Say you have a late-night question regarding your account – with this bank, it’s no problem! 

The 1st Account from First Direct offers a £250 overdraft, mobile banking, and the usual services you would expect from any other bank account. However, the best part about this account is the flexibility of customer service and the ability to deposit money at any HSBC location in the United Kingdom. 


Santander State Street – By By Danielle Walquist – 75 State Street, CC BY 2.0,

The final choice for the best banks to use while living in London is Santander. This global baking giant is one of the most widely used in the United Kingdom, having risen to prominence in recent years. With this organization, we recommend using one of two accounts as an ex-pat – the 1, 2, 3 Current Account or the Everyday Current Account.

The 1, 2, 3 Current Account option offers 3% interest on the balance, usual services you can expect from any bank, cashback on household bills, and only a charge of 2 pounds per month to use this account!

The Everyday Current Account is a simple, but effective, fee-free option, offering all of the basic services you need to keep yourself financially stable while living the high life in the English capital.