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Can British expats still open bank accounts?

There have been some reports of British expats having difficulties with bank accounts. Is it still possible for British expats to open bank accounts?

Can British expats still open bank accounts?

Yes.

Generally British expats should follow the ABC rule which allows them to protect and build their wealth.

If you are from a country (A), and you work in another country (B), then you should bank in a third country (C).

The rationale here is to:

  • Ensure that your money is safe and secure. This may not be the case if you bank in the same country in which you work. For instance, the country where you work may have less well established regulations or the government and country itself may be unstable.
  • Ensure that you can hold currency in a multi-currency offshore account. This means that you can deposit earnings and withdraw funds without being subject to FX charges or extra banking charges for international transfers.
  • Allow for easy access to your funds no matter your location.
  • You are not based in the UK, therefore you should not leave your funds exposed to UK taxes in the UK. This is not to say you should not pay UK taxes if you become resident again.

There are many offshore bank accounts available but the best tend to charge low, transparent fees, are domiciled in a trusted jurisdiction with protections (e.g. Isle of Man) and allow for investments and banking on the same online platform.

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Last updated: 16 June 2016

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