• Erika Argiolas


If you have just moved to London or you're about to do so, the thing you absolutely need, besides of course a roof over your head and a job, is definitely a bank account. Having an English bank account is essential because it is required for anything, for work, to rent the house, to request the NIN or Benefits; in short, once you get here would be the very first thing to do, indeed probably one of the two bank accounts I am about to tell you about, should even be opened before moving and I will soon explain why!


The first bank account I recommend is TransferWise. You cannot imagine how essential it is to have an account in which you can change your Euros or wathever into Pounds with the right currency exchange rate and without incurring unpleasant and onerous taxes that banks impose at your expense.

A SHORT SAD STORY: the first time I arrived here in London, not knowing about this account, I unfortunately gave a lot of money to my Italian bank - between one ATM withdrawal and another - and among the various unpleasant disadvantages, also the limit on withdrawals amounting up to 170 pounds a day, causing me major problems with paying the first rent, since not being able to withdraw all the money or large sums daily. I could not withdraw as much cash as I wanted and instant bank transfers of course were just a sweet dream to me - unforseen event that caused me countless problems with the Landlord who, very insistently, asked for the money in order to block the flat in our name in (in England you send bank transfers with the same speed as a text on Whatsapp).

So TransferWise is the account made just for you and that you absolutely must activate before starting the move. Opening your account is free, and after registering online, a MasterCard will be sent directly to your address. The account is fully manageable from the application on Smartphone and will be usable as soon as you have entered the first £ 20 in it, I suppose that if you are about to move, the money will be much more and the convenience in changing them into pounds would be huge. The application is super intuitive and allows you to also create several virtual accounts with the exchange rate you want (dollars, euros, pounds, etc.).

If you are interested in activating the card, click here to get a voucher that will allow you to get a fee-free transaction by transfering £500 upwards into your account.

Keep in mind that on a transfer of €1000, to be changed into pounds sterling and vice versa, the fee would be approximately 5 € and the exchange will take place with the highest saving rate and with the currency exchange as close as possible to the euro exchange rate pound in real time. If you transfer all the money you need in one go and use the link I shared, you will not be taxed at all and the transaction will be FREE, just click on it and you're done! Convenient isn't it?


The second bank that I can recommend and that I also still use is Monzo. Monzo is the classic Mastercard card useful for all those who have just moved and still do not have the right requirements to apply for a slightly more serious English bank account such as Barclays, Lloyds, TSB or HSBC.

Monzo is a digital, mobile only bank with its registered office in the UK. Like other online digital banks, Monzo allows you to obtain an online current account, entirely manageable from smartphones (iOs and Android). The account features its own European IBAN and a MasterCard payment card that relies on this new current account.

To get a Monzo card you need:

  1. To register on the website, for this purpose it is essential that you have a residential address (it can be that of a friend of yours or someone you know who lives in England) and an English telephone number.

  2. The application will also require you to proceed with your recognition, so I recommend that you have your passport ready! Among other things, you will also be asked to make a small video - with the Monzo application itself - in which you have to say your name and surname and that you want to get a Monzo Card. Nothing difficult, believe me!

  3. Opening an account is obviously completely free, there are no commission fees for withdrawals in the UK and in the EEA (European Economic Area). Outside the EEA, withdrawals up to £ 400 for the first 30 days will be free, and a 3% commission will be applied to those after this period.

  4. Bank transfers are completely free and instant. In short, comfort!

If you are interested in opening a Monzo account, click here and you will get a GOLDEN TICKET, which after redeeming it will allow you to get £ 5. Furthermore, you too can give a golden ticket to someone else, perhaps to a friend of yours and both get a prize.

There are loads of other bank accounts I could talk to you, like Revolution, Tandem, Anna, BUNQ, Paysend, Cashplus, Monese and Starling Bank, but Monzo and TransferWise are the two with which I've found myself very confortable. Now that you have more information, the choice is yours!

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