UK bank account for expats

Hello, I hope someone can point me in the right direction here.

We're hoping to be in France full-time sometime soon and will need a UK account to have pensions and so on which will be paid in sterling.

The accounts I've looked at so far seem expensive and designed for very wealthy people.

Are there any banks/account I should look at please?


I'm sorry this may be a duplicate reply.

We have lived in France for 3 no 4 years now. We kept our First Direct (FD) account which we have had for years. Absolutely brilliant, online and/or by phone.Free calls to UK with our phone/internet provider.

We had to open a French bank account to pay EDF,phone etc by standing order with there RIB info its a phone call to transfer money to the French bank £4 charge or we use our cards to get € out of any machine.

Hope this helps and Good Luck.


Any bricks of cash involved?

We are full time in France and for the sole purpose of opening a UK current bank account we are at present in the UK.
Note, we are NOT a UK a resident.
We have been out of the UK for 35 years or so .Had a premier off shore account which I had written about on another thread that that was forcibly being closed as we no longer lived in the IOM.

With no UK bank accounts in all that time.

I am somewhat relieved to say that this morning we have opened an HSBC bank account all be it only a basic one for now.

Full on line facilities and debit card. No cheque books and no credit card. We were in the office of HSBC the opening of account re paper work took a full 2hrs. We had to give a UK family address but produce no utility bills for UK address. We insisted all statement go to family address in UK, they were happy with that but they insisted that the debit cards and pin was sent to our French address.

We are sharing a Barclay credit card with our daughter as Barclaycard has invited her to add a family member.

So I do hope this encourages others.

And HSBC UK send my credit card here no problem. Maybe time to change bank before moving.

Thank you John and very helpful.



a) The French tax form is 3916. Here's a link to get the form. Or you can fill the form in online if you do an online tax return.

b) The most widely used tax free product is the Assurance Vie, which is basically a tax-free wrapper rather like an ISA, but which also has tax advantages to reduce inheritance tax. There are also several other investment schemes such as the PEA (Plan d'épargne en actions) and PER (Plan épargne retraite) which are suitable if you want to invest money for several years. All these products are widely available in France from all the high-street banks, or you can get them online (e.g. Fortuneo). I'm not an expert, and I would suggest you get professional advice from a company specialising in expat finance.

Doesn't stop many of them though Graham, lots seem to chance it then cry when they get caught blaming everyone but themselves but then there are lots living under the radar

We have used Spectrum since we moved over English advisers most areas of France , most of our millions are in a Assurance Vie which is a common and very popular scheme here


On advice from this forum I was told I could open an account, current and savings with the Yorkshire Bank. My wife and I completed that transaction last year at their branch in Piccadilly. We had to provide the usual EOI of course but it was all done in about 2 or 3 hours.

Having said that, the Clydesdale Bank which is part of the same group (Australia and New Zealand) said we could not do this even though the application forms and etc were identical. Makes no sense to me but what's new?

It happens all the time here Jennie and unlike old school 'forums' it is positively encouraged - all part of our 'dinner party' ethos! Don't worry, you'll get used to it :)

Graham Lees

Your point about detailing UK banks to the Impots is well made but:

a) I cannot find the form to do it. can you tell me where that is please?

b) When I arrived in France I went see the Inspectors who came to my village with my declaration for interest from my banks (about 1.50 or so, and then many looked at me told me I was a bloody fool and crossed the information out. Ok it was some years ago but revealing.

You also mention that there are tax free products in France. Could you tell me what these are and where I can find them, please?


Peter S


We could have opened a current a/c as well .The criteria of proof of identity ,residence and source of funds were identical .

We chose not to have a current a/c for the moment as we already have one with Lloyds.

Errrm. We seem to have strayed off topic now and I seem to be stuck in the middle of a dispute.

I'm new to starting threads here, is this normal please?

I opened a savings account. The current account will naturally follow.

Absolutely correct.

To recap, is this right?

You are resident in France. On a visit to the UK you went into a natwest branch and said to them, we are British (here are passports etc), resident in France (here are gas bills etc), and we want to open an account with you here in the UK. And they said yes?

There would be quite a number of people here who would like to do the same.

No UK address , nor have we used a friend or family member in any way . The a/c is active and up and running already. We will not be able to use internet banking until we receive the necessary codes at our French home .We have no plans to return to the UK at the moment.

I am fairly certain that you would not be able to open an a/c online .

We did it in person at the branch.

Carol ,as I stated earlier you do NOT have to be resident in UK to open an a/c there .I opened a Nat. West a/c earlier this week ,and we are NOT resident in UK.

It all went very smoothly ,without any problem .

hello - any free bank account is ok - but you have to be resident in uk to open one. we have a uk address as well as our French one so have our state pension paid direct in euros to France and the others in the uk account - then transfer using transferwise. Most pension suppliers will pay direct to a French Account. We have been here full time for 20 years pay tax in France - less than the UK - think we have the best of both worlds!!

My advice would be to have two uk accounts. I have Lloyds and Nationwide. Why two? Well some banks have been dumping overseas clients and refusing card renewal. Got two then you have a fall back. Maybe look at a Lloyds or other offshore account.