French National Travelling to UK

Evening everyone
I have a French friend who wants to visit the UK and will be staying with me for 3 months. Instead of using her French debit card for all her spending while she is here I’m wondering if she can open a UK bank account just for those 3 months. She can then transfer funds at the beginning of her trip and only incur fees etc one time. I’ve done a brief search and found Monito (link attached) which recommends Wise but have never heard of it. Does anyone know about them? Or maybe someone has a better suggestion?

Appreciate any advice you can give.
Thanks in advance
Izzy x

Is the aim to avoid the FX outrageous flat rate charges levied by French banks such as Credit Agricole, who charge a flat rate of 2.00 Euros on every foreign transaction even if transaction value is 1 Euro?

Not sure what is aiming to be achieved here if it’s not that.

Hi Karen
Yes. She doesn’t want to incur fees etc every time she buys petrol or food or whatever using a French card.
Izzy x

Wise is very good. I use it in both the UK and France as a backup debit card and also as a means of transferring money between different countries’ bank accounts. Your friend could hang onto it when she gets back home and use it for her next trip to e.g. Australia or the US where she can do the same thing.

PS She doesn’t need a UK address to open it either


Just use Revolut.


starling also good - you get a sterling and euro account, the debit card operates for both - I think it’s free and the currency exchange fee is 0.4%

And why not keep it - not just for three months…

Whatever account - Don’t forget to declare it to the Fisc! :slight_smile:

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Great suggestions everyone. Thank you xxx

That’s what she’s after. She is French and has always lived in France so only has my address to us and that will only be temporary. This looks great. Will investigate further.
Thanks Angela.
Izzy x

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Please PM me if you hit any difficulties - I’m sure that this wll be a promising solution for her…

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We Australians used Wise account for our 18 months in UK/France and would highly recommend it. Easy to transfer money in & out from our Oz account & to other country banks, multiple currencies & a debit card to use for cash withdrawals & eftpos transactions. All this with low exchange fees. Cheers


Thank you. :blush:

Please let us know how your friend gets on @IzzyM

I will. She’s not coming till February at the earliest but have sent her the details of Wise and will let you know what she decides to do.
Izzy x

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That’s excellent, Izzy! As @Gayletee has said, it’s really useful if you want to sort out money between several countries. I have friends in the US and Australia so it should come in handy for them soon …

However, at the moment it is hugely facilitating transfers between the UK and France so I can recommend it. On the other hand, it has recently been floated on the stock market I understand, so may well go downhill in the future. Who knows…

Try N26, on line banking. I have an account with them and so has my husband. Very good.

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Hi @IzzyM

I installed the Revolut app to try - (UK version, UK address, UK passport for ID)

Here’s what I found-

I did’t realise from previous posts is it gives you 1K £ /month fee free transfer, so how does it compare with its rate?

Wise’s rate tracks the real time one given by poundsterling live - Revolut tracks that approximately 0.0005 euro below Wise. So e.g if the wise rate is 1.1885, revolut will be about 1.1880. This is about 5 cents cost on a hundred euro’s - so not too onerous!

The wise fee on, say 1K sterling to euro, will be £3.69 giving a ‘real rate’ of1.184 which is 0.337% less that revolut - so revolut beats wise by quite a margin, though only up to 1K.

After that is’s 0.5% cost - 5 euros cost per 1000 - starling or wise would beat that.

The app itself is a little ‘fidly’ but not too much, it didn’t work at first, evidently a delay for ‘verification’ - it won;t let you exchange until you get a message saying it’s verified. But the messaging to a human worked reasonably quicky and well. I haven’t tried the apple pay virtual card but i can’t see how that would be too much more fiddly than e.g. transferring the euro’s to the starling euro account and using its debit card.

I can say that if I’d used revolut since last december I’d have saved about £30 on exchanges, assuming the 1K free transfer a month - so I’ll certainly make use of it up to a 1K/ month , and then other methods if I need more!

If you pay a monthly fee, you can get higher fee free exchange limits.

Finally you could always do your own exchange with your friend?

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Revolut adds around half a percent to exchange rates over the weekend to protect itself as markets not open.

If you know you are going to have to use Revolut on a weekend the way to get round that is to preload the card on a weekday.

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Thank you for such a comprehensive reply. I think my friends plan is to transfer her money all at once at the beginning of her trip and then use the online account as a current account. Then at the end of the trip she will hopefully have some left to transfer back. Hopefully!!
I have sent her all the information I’ve been so kindly given and she is doing her own research so it will be interesting what she decides to do. I will let you all know.
Thanks again.
Izzy x

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