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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have posted several times about my experiences with French and US banks (I use Societe Generale and Everbank) and I'm very pleased with their services. However, I also need a sterling account and have had one with Barclays International for over twenty years.

Barclays level of service has deteriorated to the point of being an insult, their security system will not let me in without several expensive phone calls and now to cap it all they are DOUBLING their monthly fees. HELP!

I need a recommendation for a sterling bank account that will simply provide a checking account and a debit card for a low, or no, fee. I tried First Direct but they will only open new accounts for UK residents.

I'd appreciate any and all comments
 

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I am afraid I cannot help. I was chocked by Barclays international services rates and chose to close my sterling account. I a still banking with them in France though.
 

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Not sure I can help here, either. But the banks in the UK seem to be going through the same sort of shake-down of low-profit customers that you see in the US.

I had my account in the UK from Midland, which was then bought up by HSBC. They were fine as long as I just had a simple checking account, but when I started a freelance gig where I was paid in sterling, I called the branch where my account was to open a savings account (that would pay at least a little interest). At the time, the person I spoke with was very nice, but conceded that there was only one savings account I was eligible for as a non-resident of the UK. Still, I went for it.

Just recently I've received a letter from HSBC saying that because I do not deposit a minimum of 500 GBP a month in the savings account, they are going to ("sometime in the next few months") close out the savings account and put it all back in my original current (i.e. checking) account, which pays no interest at all.

I'm all for this new idea of regulating all European banks at the European level and taking it out of the hands of the national governments! The banks (at least in the UK and US) are getting entirely out of hand.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not sure I can help here, either. But the banks in the UK seem to be going through the same sort of shake-down of low-profit customers that you see in the US.
Actually we never had a problem in the US, just the UK

I had my account in the UK from Midland, which was then bought up by HSBC ........ The banks (at least in the UK and US) are getting entirely out of hand.
Cheers,
Bev
My very first job was with the Midland and in those days banks seemed to understand the role they played in communities. Now however, you are right, they are completely out of hand and developing a very arrogant attitude - I was once put out of business by a Lloyds manager who lied to me and a friend was recently effectively shut down by NatWest pulling the plug on his business.

Ah well, maybe I'll just transfer everything to Soc Gen and pay the foreign transaction fees, it'll probably be cheaper :rolleyes:

Cheers
 

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Actually we never had a problem in the US, just the UK
It's only very recently (literally, the last year or so) that I've been hearing about all the new charges, fees and whatever in the US - mainly from the big banks. My bank back in the US is a small regional bank and they seem to be much more "personable" than most chain banks.

When they first went online, my situation was really unusual because I had both my own accounts and the accounts of my father (on which I was a signer) to manage. Their online system was set up to allow only one bill-paying account per Internet access, but I spent some considerable time on the phone with one of their IT people and she set things up so I could have two separate Internet accesses and thus two bill paying accounts - one for myself and one for my Dad.

It's one reason I so heartily recommend local or small regional banks.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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When I worked in the UK on a contract a number of years ago, I set up a current account with Lloyds Bank. It took a letter from the general manager of the firm for which I was contracting to get the account set up, but after that no problems. We've kept the account with just 20£ in it, "just in case" we ever need it. There haven't been fees <cross my fingers that's not about to change>. You might check them out.

Best of luck.

Ray
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When I worked in the UK on a contract a number of years ago, I set up a current account with Lloyds Bank. It took a letter from the general manager of the firm for which I was contracting to get the account set up, but after that no problems. We've kept the account with just 20£ in it, "just in case" we ever need it. There haven't been fees <cross my fingers that's not about to change>. You might check them out.

Best of luck.

Ray
Hi Ray,

To open accounts with the UK banks they insist on a UK address so that won't work. Also (see above) I would never give Lloyds a penny of my money ever again.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok but do you know that in France they will require a job contract before opening any bank account for you ???
Don't think so - I have opened a French bank account and I didn't have a job contract, just my rental agreement.

BUT I'm looking for a sterling account
 

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Have you looked at "offshore" accounts in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man - where residency isn't an issue?

We used to have accounts with Allied Dunbar in the IoM, no charges and any currency we wanted - but that was some years ago. I'm sure things have changed, but still might be worth exploring.

H
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Have you looked at "offshore" accounts in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man - where residency isn't an issue?

We used to have accounts with Allied Dunbar in the IoM, no charges and any currency we wanted - but that was some years ago. I'm sure things have changed, but still might be worth exploring.

H
Hi Hils,

I'm actually looking at that now - it's how my Barclays account is handled.

Thanks
 

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We have opened up an account also in France with no job contract as I am sure most people who have holiday homes there but do not reside in France do for bills, etc.

The bank we have set up with is BNP Paribas not sure if they do Stirling accounts. Maybe try HSBC they are worldwide but not sure about their fees

Good Luck
 

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I don't know if there is a way to get around the 10 pound monthly fee with Barclays Intl , but l did sign up for the online access and do everything that way now. I haven't had to call customer service in over 2 years, and they respond to email quickly. A lot of banks in the US are charging monthly fees now too, unless you have an insane amount banked with them.
 

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Have a look at moneysupermarket.com

H
 

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It's always easier to just keep operating from an account you left open from when you were living somewhere than to open a new account as a "non-resident." I'm getting all sorts of tacky letters now from HSBC about their plan to roll my savings account into my checking account because I don't deposit GBP 500 a month. Sigh, they used to be really great to deal with, but I'm reconsidering my "need" for a UK based account going forward. These days HSBC seems to do better for those who can afford their "high rollers" accounts.

And just based on my experience, not all French banks ask for a job contract. If you've got pay slips, most will go with that. (Or evidence of where your funds come from and proof of residence.)

You do need to be a bit careful with the "offshore" accounts. Read the fine print in the adverts because they tend to exclude anyone with US tax obligations (i.e. citizens or residents) and French residents (again, I think, because of the tax issues). And lately, thanks to the FATCA legislation in the US, some banks are doing their best to avoid signing up anyone who qualifies as a "US person" because they'll be required to report to the IRS if they do.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I don't know if there is a way to get around the 10 pound monthly fee with Barclays Intl , but l did sign up for the online access and do everything that way now. I haven't had to call customer service in over 2 years, and they respond to email quickly. A lot of banks in the US are charging monthly fees now too, unless you have an insane amount banked with them.
There is - close the account ;)

Every time I got to the UK or buy something with my debit card they cut it off as a suspected security breach. Getting it re-instated takes ages because they get details wrong and then won't tell me which piece of information doesn't gel. So I have to fill in a new form and send it off. The last time I did this, they said they would issue a new PIN - they did and mailed it to my French address while I was in the UK. Totally useless and the only time there was a fraudulent transaction on the account they took six months to sort it out. Their "Service Team" is a nightmare so I'm done with them.

The problem is all the offshore banks want huge minimum deposits and monthly payments into the account and the 'onshore' won't give accounts to non-UK residents.

My solution is going to be close the Barclays account, transfer the funds to Soc Gen and deal with the foreign exchange fees when I have to.

Thanks for all the input
 

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Hi Ray,

To open accounts with the UK banks they insist on a UK address so that won't work. Also (see above) I would never give Lloyds a penny of my money ever again.

Cheers
Understood. It's the bank at which the firm for which I worked had it's accounts. It was the easiest way for me to get a UK account for my expense reimbursements.

When we bought our place in France, we needed a Euro account for the bills. We set up a Euro account with Lloyds at its Isle of Man branch. Dead simple, fees are towards astronimical. We closed it and never deposited funds.

Best of luck finding something reasonable.

Ray
 
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