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Metro Bank: No account for those that are learning english

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Metro Bank: No account for those that are learning english

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Budgeting & Bank Accounts
34 replies 5.8K views
filipeamoreirafilipeamoreira Forumite
5 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Budgeting & Bank Accounts
I've visited the Reading branch of Metro this past weekend and wanted to help my brother in law in getting a bank account. He recently arrived from Spain and has just started learning english.

Unfortunately we've been told that they could not offer him a bank account as they do not allow any translation help during the account opening process. I argued that if that was the case for every bank, most of the people arriving in the UK for the first time would be unable to open a bank account until they could have a fluid conversation in english.

The gentlemen said it was part of their T&C and their was nothing he could do. Has anyone had a similar experience with Metro?

Thanks
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Replies

  • colstencolsten Forumite
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    How many languages do you expect UK bank personnel to speak? How many languages do Spanish bank personnel speak? How's your brother going to get a job if he doesn't speak english?

    I can assure you it is possible to learn english outside the UK. I know as I have done it.
  • TheBankerTheBanker Forumite
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    I can understand why they wouldn't want a third party to help with translation - how do they know the translation is correct, and how can someone sign to say they agree to terms and conditions that they don't understand?

    Maybe you could help him to apply for an account online instead?
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  • ScarpacciScarpacci Forumite
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    I suspect this would be a problem for most banks. The only reason that this sort of barrier isn't observed more is that it would tend to be hidden, so either the person would sign up online and get help without the bank knowing, or perhaps they bluff as best they can through the opening procedure in branch.

    Taking somebody to help translate, though on the face of it quite sensible, is basically telling them the customer doesn't understand what's happening. That's a giant red flag for a bank these days, given all the arguments over "misselling". They can't know whether the translation is correct and the customer does understand.

    Banks are very keen to explain all the T&Cs now and try get the customer's confirmation they understand what's happening. Whether the customer really does understand or not isn't as clear, and frankly isn't as important. The banks need to tick the box. I don't think they could, in good faith, be satisfied with somebody translating for somebody who, clearly, is at a disadvantage to understand the terms as they're written.
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  • Thank you all for the different perspective. The reason why I found it odd was that most banking nowadays is handled via online/mobile banking and there is no reason to go into a branch for day-to-day needs.

    I will help him to sign up online to a basic current account and hopefully will only need to show up in the branch to show his identification documents.
  • grumblergrumbler Forumite
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    I think you'll find it difficult to open even a basic account and even online.
    Consider getting a prepaid card on your name and giving it to him.
    E.g. Pockit one.
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  • Owain_MoneysaverOwain_Moneysaver Forumite
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    Try opening an account at Santander. They are, after all, Spanish-owned.
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  • jonesMUFCforeverjonesMUFCforever Forumite
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    If the OP's brother has a passport and can confirm where he is living in UK then opening a bank account should not be a problem.
  • starMstarM Forumite
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    Metro Bank are abit strange.

    One of my cousin applied for Savings account online. Living in UK for the last 20 years and holds British citizenship but born in Pakistan.

    He passed ID check but Metro Bank will not open the account because he belongs to high risk country.
  • unforeseenunforeseen Forumite
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    colsten wrote: »
    How many languages do you expect UK bank personnel to speak? How many languages do Spanish bank personnel speak? How's your brother going to get a job if he doesn't speak english?

    I can assure you it is possible to learn english outside the UK. I know as I have done it.
    He could have learnt before leaving Spain.

    My daughter has been teaching English in Spain for 2 years to all ages from 5 to adult
  • edited 2 May 2016 at 6:58PM
    filipeamoreirafilipeamoreira Forumite
    5 posts
    edited 2 May 2016 at 6:58PM
    Thank you all for the comments.

    @colsten: From my experience there are many newly arrived people in Spain that do not speak Spanish but that are able to open a bank account nonetheless.

    @jonesMUFCforever: He has both proof of ID and address. The issue is only with having someone helping out with the translation during the account opening process.

    @unforeseen: This is not a discussion about the merits of his level of English. I found it odd that someone would be denied an account based on this.
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