Open a UK current account without a UK address or credit history

How do you open a bank account if you’ve only just arrived in the UK and you don’t have a fixed address, or any kind of established credit history here?

Not having a bank account makes it impossible (or extremely difficult) to receive payments, pay bills and… rent a property. It’s a vicious circle.

The situation is familiar to Britons who have traveled abroad to live or work for a few years. First job, even before you look in estate agents for “rooms to rent” is: Open A Bank Account.

Easy-access banking

Monese is a UK-based app-only banking service that allows you to open up a current account quickly with no credit checks or proof of address necessary.

Effectively it’s a prepaid card that acts like a bank account.

It was founded in 2015 by Estonian fintech entrepreneur Norris Keppel, who says that when he moved to the UK his application for a current account at a high street bank was turned down because he couldn’t provide proof of a local address, and had no credit history in the UK. He purportedly vowed to set up a banking service that would work differently.

A work colleague arrived from New Zealand and couldn’t get paid for over a month as he wasn’t able to open a UK bank account straight away.

How do I open an account?

  • You send in a selfie video and a picture of an ID document, such as a passport.
  • The account service is open to anyone living in the European Economic Area (EAA) – which is all the countries in the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

Can I do the same things as with a standard bank account?

I live in Spain and can’t have a UK account without a UK address, yet I sometimes work for two publishers (Oxford University Press and Pearson) who insist on paying into a UK bank account.

It is possible for a Briton living in the UK to have a Spanish bank account without a Spanish address, yet the banks in the UK don’t reciprocate unless you are a “wealth” or “investment” client.

  • You can receive payments in from the UK in sterling
  • You can pay friends, family and bills with direct transfers from your phone
  • You can set up direct debits and standing orders
  • You can take cash out at ATMs in the UK and internationally
  • You get a contactless debit card
  • Control over your account via the smartphone app

And extra features?

  • You can receive European bank transfers
  • Sending money overseas is up to 88% cheaper than using a traditional bank
  • You can set up a parallel account in Europe and switch instantly between accounts

I need to receive payments in Euros for contract work that I do for a European clients. I want to be able to hold it in Euros because I regularly travel to Germany and Greece to visit those clients.

Does it cost anything?


The free basic account: direct debits are free, there are charges for Post Office and PayPoint deposits, you need to pay £4.95 for the contactless card, cash withdrawals are £1 or €1 (depending on where you are), top-ups cost 0.35-3.5%, and the currency exchange fee is 2%.

The Plus account costs £4.95 a month: the contactless card is free, direct debits are free, you get 6 free cash withdrawals monthly,  there are charges for Post Office and PayPoint deposits, top-ups cost 0.35-3.5%, the currency exchange fee is 0.5%.

The Premium account costs £14.95 a month: no ATM or top-up fees.

Is it safe?

Monese doesn’t hold a full banking licence, so your money isn’t protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Monese holds your cash in a separate account, which is ring-fenced from its own finances. If Monese went bust, you should be able to get your money back – though it’s not FSCS-protected, and if the ring-fencing bank went under, your money could be lost.

Compare current accounts with no credit checks

Written by Editorial Team ,
9th April 2019