Bank accounts for expats

Hi all,

apparently Natwest is closing down accounts for those who are UK Expats, so British but living abroad.

Are you an expat and currently have an account that support your status? I am not in the EU anyway so EU only accounts will not do for me.

Also savings accounts please.


  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,305
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    I think you'll need to look at the big international banks and see who works in whatever countries that match what you need.  Someone based on the Channel Islands or Isle of Man might suit - depending on how much money you have.  

    Might help here if you give your country preferences and what you need to do with the money.  I'm guessing you might have a UK pension that has been paid into NatWest for your use when you're visiting here.  

    An alternative might be something like Wise?
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • etienneg
    etienneg Posts: 443
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    Nationality has little relevance for this. It is a bit like moving abroad but still trying to get your groceries from a UK supermarket. Why don't you look at the banks and savings accounts available in whichever country you have chosen to live?
  • Band7
    Band7 Posts: 2,285
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    Brie said:

    An alternative might be something like Wise?
    Wise might be suitable for transferring money but they are not a bank on have no deposit protection. Mind you, I am not sure the OP would find anything with the equivalent of the FSCS protection, so it might not matter.

    HSBC Expat banking might be a viable option.
  • Band7
    Band7 Posts: 2,285
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    If you are after a savings account, check out
  • bostonerimus
    bostonerimus Posts: 5,617
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    edited 21 November 2022 at 3:49PM
    What is it that you want to do?

    I've been an expat for over 30 years and only have accounts where I live. I can easily pay bills etc in the UK using direct bank transfers.  Take a look at the usual suspects in IOM and Channel Islands, HSBC etc and also the new services like Wise.
    “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
  • I suggest opening a Wise account for day-to-day transactions such as ATM withdrawals when you're in the UK, making online purchases, etc.
    As as already been pointed out, it's not a bank so don't keep too much cash in it. It's not covered by the UK government compensation scheme if the company goes bust.

    For savings, have you considered NS&I? 
    Their Direct Savings and Green Bond are open to expats. 
    BUT the caveat is that you need to have a UK bank account at the time when you open and close these accounts. 
    As far as I can make out, therefore, they would only really be suitable for you if you were planning to move back to the UK at some point in the not too distant future. 
    So, for example, you could use your NatWest account now - while you still have it - to transfer funds into the NS&I account.
    In the meantime, let's assume your NatWest account is closed.
    There would then be a period during which you wouldn't be able to pay any more funds into - or withdraw funds from - your NS&I accounts (they will accept funds from, and pay funds into, a UK bank account. Their customer service agent told me Wise would not be acceptable for these purposes). That would not necessarily be a problem, however, if you were moving back to the UK because at that point, you could open a new, high-street bank account. And transfer your NS&I money into that.


  • Band7
    Band7 Posts: 2,285
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    .....It's not covered by the UK government compensation scheme......
    FSCS is not a Government scheme but a statutory industry scheme
  • I stand corrected.
  • If NS&I does suit you (and admittedly it's a big "if"), it actually offers more protection than FSCS because, if I understand correctly, NS&I accounts are backed by the Treasury and therefore 100% protected.

  • Band7
    Band7 Posts: 2,285
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    I am not sure you can apply for an NS&I account if you live abroad. In any event, to hold any NS&I account, you need a UK bank account registered to your current address and your debit card from a UK bank or building society. So that could be a catch-22 for the OP. 
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