September 25, 2009

Opening a Bank Account

First, I want to say hello to the couple people in Japan and Brazil who read this blog.

Before I came over, I had read online that some people have problems opening bank accounts since they do not have proof of address or for other reasons. Since I had no problem opening my account, I figured I'd post my experience here.

I decided to go with Lloyds because the vantage feature on their current accounts seemed to offer the best rates. The local branch is also on my way to work and is open Saturdays. I walked and told the guy at the "help desk" that I wanted to open a current account. He asked to see some ID and I showed him my passport. He handed me off to a person in the back. She made a copy of my passport photo page and also my visa. Nothing about proof of address. We then went though the standard questions, like name, address, birthday, employment status & length of employment (started the following day in my case), length living at the address (1 day), net monthly income, etc... I ended up opening a silver current account, which has a small monthly fee. I asked about the free account, but she kept trying to up sell me. The account does have some additional features that are kind of useful, like mobile phone and travel insurance, but I don't think I'll get my money's worth out of the fees I would pay over the course of the year. I'll probably downgrade after the introductory fee period ends. I also was given a small overdraft which surprised me. Got my debt card in the mail like 2 days later, followed by my pin and cheque book.

So in summary, the process was really easy. Looking back, I'm not sure why I was concerned in the first place.

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