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Best Euro Account in the UK

Nov 22, 2021
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Famous for its rolling hills, fish and chips and black cabs, there are many attractions to living and working in the UK. So it’s no wonder that in the year ending December 2019, there were 2.7 million EU nationals living there.  

But whatever your reason for relocating, if you’re planning to send money back home to friends and family, you’ll want to open a bank account in the UK that lets you do just that. In this guide we take a look at everything you need to know about opening a euro account in the UK. 

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Monito's Recommendation

If you send money regularly or if you're looking to spend and withdraw cash without a local bank card, we recommend opening a Wise Multi-Currency Account, which gives you an online spending account and debit card, allowing you to hold, send, receive, and spend Euros, as well as other currencies.

Opening a Bank Account in the UK

You’ll generally have two main options when it comes to opening a EUR bank account in the UK. You can choose to go down the traditional route and open an account with a high street bank which will give you access to physical branches across the country.

Or you can choose an account with a digital-only bank – also known as "challenger banks" or "neobanks". These can offer a lower cost structure compared to high street banks and can save you a decent chunk of money as a result. But you will need to be happy carrying out all of your banking tasks online or via an app.

Opening an Account With a High Street Bank

If you decide to open an account with a high street bank, you’ll primarily be looking at offerings from Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest and Santander. As well as requiring proof of identity such as your passport or EU national identity card, you will also need proof of address such as utility bill, rental contract or council tax bill, making these accounts trickier to get accepted for if you’re not yet settled in the UK.

Below we outline the accounts that are available and the charges you’re likely to pay.

Barclays

Arguably Britain’s best-known bank, Barclays is headquartered in London and has more than 24 million customers. The bank operates as two divisions – Barclays UK and Barclays International – and as such it offers a Euro Account allowing customers to make and receive euro payments. 

Below is an overview of the Barclays Euro Account:

  • Fee-free transfers between a Euro Account and Barclays sterling account in the same name; 
  • Option to request a cheque and/or credit book to make payments and deposits in euros;
  • Customers must hold a Barclays sterling current account to be eligible; 
  • Applications must be made in branch.

The table below highlights the main fees the account charges:

Type of Payment

Fees

Transfers into EUR Account

£0 (<£100.00) or £6.00 (>£100.00)

SEPA credit transfers (EUR only)

£0 (online banking) or £15.00 (branch or phone)

International payment – priority

£0 (online banking) or £40.00 (branch or phone)

International payment – standard

£0 (online banking) or £25.00 (branch or phone)

* Receiving EUR payments up to €50,000.00 where the remitter has quoted your IBAN is free
Last updated: 28/07/2021

HSBC

British multinational banking and financial services organisation HSBC has more than 40 million customers globally and a network covering 64 countries and territories around the world. As part of its international network it offers a Currency Account with no monthly fee. You can choose from 14 major currencies, including euros.

Here’s an overview of how the HSBC account works:  

  • No charges for any payments made to other HSBC accounts;
  • No charges for payments in euros to another account in the EEA – payments in euros to accounts outside the EEA will be charged either €6.00 or €12.00 depending on whether the payment is made online or in branch/by phone;
  • Electronic bank charges into your account won’t be charged;
  • Online international payments can be made up to £50,000.00. International payments in-branch are unlimited;
  • You must hold an active HSBC current account (excluding the basic account) to be eligible.

Lloyds Bank

The largest retail bank in Britain, Lloyds Bank is part of Lloyds Banking Group which also includes Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows. Lloyds’ subsidiary Lloyds Bank International offers two international bank account options as follows:

  • International Current Account: Offering a choice of three currencies, including euros, this account provides fee-free international payments and 24/7 worldwide access. It does, however, come with an €8.00 monthly fee which kicks in after the first three months. To be eligible, you need a gross annual income of £50,000.00 or currency equivalent, or have £25,000.00 to save with Lloyds Bank international banking services.
  • Premier International Current Account: Similar to the above account, but without the monthly fees. This account also offers a dedicated relationship manager, plus worldwide travel insurance for you and your family. The drawback is the eligibility criteria are much tougher. You will need a deposit of at least £100,000.00 (or currency equivalent) to save and maintain with Lloyds within six months. Or you will need to have a sole annual income of £100,000.00 and be able to save and maintain a balance of £100,000.00 within 12 months.

NatWest

Owned by NatWest Group, which also includes banking brand Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), National Westminster Bank or NatWest has more than 7.5 million customers and offers an everyday international account for those looking to make international payments.

An overview of the International Select account can be found below:

  • Fee-free international payments; 
  • Monthly account fee of £8.00;
  • Manage your account via the mobile banking app or online banking;
  • To be eligible you must open the account with at least £25,000.00 or pay in a mandated salary of £40,000.00.

Santander

A subsidiary of the major global bank Banco Santander, Santander UK has more than 14.3 million customers, including 6.3 million digital customers. As part of its large portfolio, it offers a multicurrency account that can be held in sterling, euros or US dollars. 

An overview of the Island Gold account can be found below:

  • No monthly account fee;
  • Manage your account online or by telephone banking;
  • Fee-free international transfers;
  • SWIFT payments via online banking are charged at €30.00 (rising to €45.00 for telephone banking);
  • Negative interest rate of 0.75% AER on balances above €75,000.00.
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Recommendation

Due to their stricter eligibility criteria, opening a euro account with a high street bank is best suited to the following types of customers:

  • Those who are well settled into UK life, who already have a UK address, a UK bank account; and earn a high salary/have considerable savings;
  • Those who don’t mind paying monthly account fees;
  • Those who want branch access.

Opening an Account With a Digital Only Bank

Digital banking is on the rise in the UK so if you’re happy to bank solely online, it’s well worth exploring what the challenger banks have to offer. What’s more, some neobanks won’t require you to provide proof of address which can be useful if you’ve yet to arrive in the UK or you’re just getting settled.

Starling Bank

Established in 2014, Starling Bank has expanded rapidly and now has around 2 million customers. Accounts can be opened by downloading the app to your Android or iOS device.

Starling’s Euro Account is outlined below:

  • Hold, send and receive euros for free;
  • Negative interest rate of 0.50% AER on balances above €50,000.00;
  • A 0.40% transfer fee applies to international transfers, while delivery fees start at 30p per transfer. Payments over the SWIFT network are charged at £5.50.

Monese

Founded in 2015, challenger bank Monese is particularly attractive to newcomers to the UK thanks to its lack of requirement for proof of address. All that’s required to open an account is a photo of your ID and a selfie, plus an email address and phone number. 

The Monese current account allows you to:

  • Open an account in pounds sterling, euros or Romanian lei
  • Transfer money between Monese and other accounts in the same currency for free;
  • Transfer money into 19 different currencies at the standard mid-market exchange rate, although you will have to pay a service fee of between 0.5% and 2% if you do not have a Premium account;
  • Choose between three different pricing structures – the Simple account is free of charge, the Classic account costs £5.95/€5.95 a month and the Premium account costs £14.95/€14.95 a month. These offer tailored monthly allowances for ATM withdrawals, cash top-ups and foreign currency spending;
  • Benefit from customer service and support in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, French and German.

Revolut

Banking and currency exchange business Revolut is another option for those wanting to open a UK account without proof of residency. You can hold, transfer and spend money in more than 30 currencies, including euros. Similar to Monese, there are a number of different pricing structures which offer different ATM withdrawal allowances.

  • The Standard account is free of charge, the Plus account costs £2.99 a month, the Premium account cost £6.99 a month and the Metal account costs £12.99 a month;
  • No fees for transferring money to other Revolut users or non-Revolut accounts in the SEPA region;
  • For transfers outside the SEPA region, Premium customers get one fee-free international payment per month and Metal customers get three fee-free international payments per month. Anything over this is charged at 0.3% of the amount transferred with a minimum fee of £/€0.30 and a cap of £/€5.
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Recommendation

Thanks to their lower costs and ability to bank on the go, digital-only banks are best suited to the following customers:

  • Those who are looking to save money when sending money home;
  • Those without proof of residence in the UK (Monese and Revolut);
  • Those who are happy to manage their finances via an app or online only.

Open a Wise Multi-Currency Account

There is one other option those moving to the UK should consider and that’s opening a Wise Multi-Currency Account. The big selling point of this account – as the name suggests – is that you can hold several different currencies, allowing you to switch between them when you want and make and receive payments across the globe. 

This means you can pay and be paid like a local in the UK (and across the Eurozone), as well as send money back home without being charged exorbitant fees.

Registering for the account is straightforward – you simply sign up online or in the app with an email address, or Google, Facebook or Apple account and then verify your ID with your passport or government ID card. You don’t necessarily need proof of address either – you can supply proof from a standard list of documents, or you can send in a selfie in which you’re holding your ID. 

Once set up, you can enjoy the following features:

  • Hold, exchange and top-up up to 56 currencies;
  • Local bank details in the UK or Eurozone, as well as several other countries;
  • A multi-currency Mastercard that you can use to pay in foreign currencies with no hidden fees;
  • Access to Wise’s international money transfer service from your account balance.

As an example, if you have just moved to the UK from Germany, you’ll be able to:

  1. Send euros from your regular account to your Wise Euro account;
  2. Convert all or part of it to British pounds for a low fee (0.41% or €4.45 to convert 1,000.00 EUR to GBP);
  3. Pay with your Wise debit card, set up direct debits with UK providers to pay your bills or make local transfers free of charge.
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Recommendation

We recommend Wise’s Multi-Currency Account for the following types of users:

  • Those who have just arrived in the UK looking to spend and withdraw cash without a local bank card;
  • Those looking to send money back home cheaply;
  • Those looking to make low-cost money transfers in different currencies.

Frequently Asked Questions About Euro Bank Accounts in the UK

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