Do you find yourself or any of your loved ones in one or more of the following categories?
• Not born in UK
• Not lived in UK for a while
• Never had a bank account in the UK
• Desperado on the run from the law
• Just arrived in UK
As a result, have you found it difficult or impossible to open a current account with a UK bank? The answer is probably, so please read on.
My wife, then girlfriend (as luckily for her, she was not born into predestined matrimonial slavery) comes from an EU country other than the UK. She’d lived in the UK before and held a UK bank account but then moved back to her native land. Several years later, she succumbed to my not insignificant charms and moved over to this fine and frosty land to live with me.
This is relevant because her previous UK bank account had been closed, and she needed to open up a new one for her new job. (To pre-empt the inevitable comments, no – she is not in the ‘cash/cock in hand’ business).
She was rejected by numerous UK banks because of lack of credit history and previous addresses in the UK. No amount of explaining helped and the best she was offered was the type of bank account reserved for 12 year-olds and those otherwise thought to be criminally liable with money – i.e. no debit card, no current account, no overdraft, etc.
After weeks of frustration, I spoke to my bank (a well-known UK name) to explain the situation and asked what options were open to me. They quietly suggested a cheeky, yet completely legal method of bypassing the frustration and endless trips to branches/phone calls. It does rely on having someone the person trusts and who has an existing UK bank account that hasn’t been trodden into the dirt, so bear that in mind.
Here’s what I was told to do, and it worked like a charm:
Open a new current account in your own name, sailing through all the credit checks. After this has been set up, file a “sole to joint” application with the bank, converting the sole account into a joint account in your and the other person’s name. This bypasses the usual credit checks as it takes yours into consideration. This should also sail past.
Person B then gets issued with a debit card, cheque book, overdraft, etc. You then hide/destroy the debit card/cheque book in your name, effectively meaning that the account is still joint, but run by the other person. After they’ve run the account for a while, you can convert from a joint to sole account, but this time, a sole account in person B’s name ONLY, wiping you out of the picture.
Job done. Clearly, this does involve trust, but if the situation is right, it works like a dream and saves a lot of hassle in the process.