Leaving UK Tip 9 Open Multi Currency Digital Bank Account

Published / Last Updated on 13/09/2023

The Brexit Trade Agreement did not include financial services and, as we have already highlighted, this means that the UK cannot currently passport retail financial services into Europe and vice versa.  In short, UK financial advisers, insurers, banks, pension and investment companies cannot market services to EU residents including British expats.  Existing contracts can remain in place but if there are any changes to terms, conditions or contracts, the account must be closed.  EU and UK regulators are working towards ‘delegated authority’ to EU or UK regulators via 5 X Memorandums of Understanding, but they are still not agreed.

We have already covered the impact on pensions and investment advice see Leaving UK Pens & Inv.  but what about bank accounts?

Expats with UK Bank Accounts

Banks are continually changing their terms and conditions, meaning they fall foul of current restrictions and should close the expat bank account as the contract has changed and they are not allowed to market services to EU residents anyway. 

Most UK banks have already closed or are currently closing expat bank accounts, not just EU residents but residents living outside the UK.

Solution for Expats Digital Bank Account with a Challenger Bank

There are many new digital ‘challenger’ banks and some like Wise and Revolut offer you multi-currency accounts with your own sort code/branch code, account numbers and IBANs (international bank account numbers).  They are authorised and registered in UK, EU, USA and many other countries.  This means you can always access a UK account, US account, EU account etc.

  • Open a ‘challenger’ account when you are UK resident – this will mean you can access a UK account and sort code as well as have account numbers in other countries i.e., start the contract before you leave.
  • If you open when you are already overseas, you may not be able to access a UK account number and sort code as you will be under the challenger bank’s rules and regulations of the country that you live in.   We repeat:  start the contract before you leave the UK.

Remember, plan early and get things organised before you head overseas.

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