Thursday, November 16, 2006

Newbie in the UK 2 - Banking

When we came over to the UK, we bought over money in the form of cheques. However, in order to encash them, we needed to open a bank account here.

Our first choice was HSBC as my wife has a credit card account with them in Malaysia.

We never realised that opening a current account here could be such a nightmare. There is so much paperwork involved that we really began to miss Malaysia, where opening an account is so easy. In Malaysia, we only need a minimum opening account and sometimes an introducer.

Over here, as an International student, they want:
- Proof of ID (your Passport).
- Letter from the University proving that you are a student in the UK.
- Proof of the address where you are residing in UK (which can be difficult if you haven't received any bills yet) and even
- Proof of your permanent address in Malaysia.

There was also another area of concern. Banks here will charge you a sum (£5 per month for HSBC) if you don't have a minimum balance of £2000 in your current account. Something quite impossible for us.

It was the same story at Barclays and NatWest. My wife finally checked with the Lloyds bank in our locality. It is just round the corner of the road.

Opening an account was so easy. Just needed the passport and a letter from the University with our UK address on it. We were really relieved after we had encased our cheques as the cash in our pocket was running out. My wife soon received a cheque book and a debit card (the most common form of making payments here in the UK).

Best of all, Lloyds doesn't have any minimum balance requirement.

We were looking far and wide when the solution is there, right at our doorstep.

All I can say is that, the big banks' loss is Lloyds's gain. I am planning to open an account with them myself soon.

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7 comments:

k.d said...

It's the same here in Dublin. But that minimum amount in current account is news to me. Here there's free banking already where all your transactions through ATM or direct debit card is free (depending on your bank). But to open an account here even for a student they want utility bills as proof of address. Masa I sampai dulu there was this warden who set up a meeting with the bank and all students that one day open an account with that bank. But soon you will see that even for a membership card at extravision or chartbuster they want proof of address..

ainee said...

I am using HSBC currently. But they do not apply that kind of rules to us. yes, they need several documents as evidence, I think it's for security matters. you know how hard foreign students open account after so many cases of people do not repay their loan. probably that's the cause. however, one of the benefit is HSBC is known globally and have branches almost everywhere.

BabyPink said...

salaam, adam!:)

what a blessing things like lloyds bank are, right?:)

i hope things will be as easy for you there.:)

neomesuff said...

...your experiences there taught me a lot...thanks for 'sharing'..hope everything will be fine with you and family...m sure it will..

khairyn said...

Salam.

Llyods bank it is then.

Imagine, Ive been here for almost 3 months now and I've no bank account. I tried Bank of Scotland 2 months ago, sampai sekarang x de jawapan. I do have HSBC Mesia power vantage though BUT I can't do much with it except withdraw money and being charged RM10 for each £200 max withdrawal. Memang nightmare!

tomorrow I'll march to Llyods bank carrying my money bag and documents. Wish me luck!!

dillafahim said...

do u know the case?? when I first came here (sept 2003), pon dah jadi camtuh.. before that, it was so easy to open an account and they even offered a credit card (nie HSBC) and HSBC is the bank that all student want to open account with. Tp biler there were certain people buat x senonoh.. they started to increase the security.. camne x senonoh tu? before this HSBC siap offered OD to all the student(some reach £2000), and what certain malaysians did were, they used the OD until its MAXIMUM, went back to Malaysia and never paid the OD.. and HSBC can do nothing... tu pasallah skrg dah susah.. kesian kita kan???

lloyds lah the best skrang. My husband had to wait until 2 years to open an account here for his gaji... punyerlah susah!!!itupon lloyds yg sudi terima dia.. HSBC - dah tak larat nk pi gaduh dah... :P

Adam said...

Dillafahim: Yes, I guess we are paying for the sins of other older Malaysians.

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